Good greenery

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Nothing makes a house a home quite like a well-placed bit of greenery. But did you know that as well as brightening up an otherwise dull corner, houseplants can also give you a health and wellbeing boost? There are certain houseplants that have been used for years to purify air and assist with creating a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. The best thing about these plants? Most of them need very little care.

WHY PURIFY?

Despite popular belief, the air in our homes can be just as toxic as the air outdoors. How is this possible? Well it’s all down to the cleaning products we use, artificial fragrances and perfumes, electromagnetic ‘smog’ coming from computers and other electronics and various other toxins that we carry into our homes on our clothes. Houseplants are a cost-effective and easy way to help purify the air in your home.

Aloe plant – You’re probably already familiar with the humble Aloe plant. The gel contained within its leaves is accredited with a number of healing properties, and is usually the main ingredient in the ‘after sun’ we slather on when we’re on holidays. Aloe is a great plant to include in your home because it acts as a way of monitoring the air quality. If you use a lot of cleaning products and you have an aloe plant nearby, pay close attention to its leaves. If the leaves start looking a little brown and spotty, it’s a sign to cut down on the cleaning products or opt for eco-friendly ones instead. Place your Aloe by the window to keep it happy and growing strong.

English Ivy – In the 1980s, NASA studied houseplants as a way to help purify the air in space facilities. They compiled a list of the best plants and guess what came out on top? That’s right. English Ivy. This pretty little plant can absorb a host of nasties in the air.  English Ivy is very, very easy to mind and is a great starter plant if you’re trying to get used to minding a houseplant regularly. Just remember that it needs a lot of light in order to keep it looking its best.

Peace Lily – These beautiful plants not only help to instil an atmosphere of relaxation and calm in your home, they’re also fantastic at reducing the number of toxins and smells in the air. Keep one in your kitchen to help disperse leftover cooking odours or keep one in your sitting room to help you relax and unwind after a long day.

Boston Fern – One of the best-known types of houseplant, the Boston Fern is fantastic at removing pollutants and adding humidity to indoor air. If you suffer from sinus problems, this plant is a must-have as a little extra humidity in the air can help to moisten nasal passages and ease congestion. The downside is that this plant needs a little more care than the others on this list. Make sure you’re happy with frequent watering and misting before you invest in this type of houseplant.

Tulips – Though they’re technically flowers, tulips are great at keeping indoor air clean. They’ve been shown to help eliminate pollutants such as formaldehyde and ammonia from the air, so the next time you treat yourself to a bouquet? Make sure it has some tulips in it.

Bamboo Palm – Another plant which made NASA’s list in the 1980s, Bamboo Palm helps to keep the air moist and is a pro at filtering out pollutants such as benzene and trichloroethylene. This plant does need to be well watered, but aside from that they are relatively easy to care for and do well in the shade.

Spider Plant – A Spider Plant is a common sight in many Irish homes and for good reason, they’re decorate, very easy to keep and they’re also on NASA’s list for their air-purifying abilities. Try keeping one in your hallway to help suck up any extra pollutants that find their way inside.

Red-edged Dracaena – The Red-edged Dracaena is a slow-growing plant, but it is incredibly effective at removing pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene from the air. It’s happiest in rooms that have high ceilings, good air circulation and a moderate amount of natural light. Bear in mind that while this plant is slow-growing, it can reach heights of up to eight foot, so some pruning will be required (unless you want an eight foot plant, that is).

Snake Plant – The Snake Plant works best in your bedroom. Why? Well they give out oxygen at night, so keep one in your bedroom and you should find it encourages you to sleep deeper, so you wake-up feeling fully refreshed. 

Catherine Devane