Most of my Monday posts are my manic complaints about how aggravating that the things around me can be and my Tuesday’s are riddled with my lists of things that I love; but today I figured that I would take a different approach.
It wasn’t too long after the first that I met my wife, Chastity, it was very evident that she had a green thumb. She hit it off well with my grandmother whom I always said had two green thumbs because my grandparent’s closed in garage was not for my grandpa’s Mercury; the car port was for my grandmother’s deep freezers (full of food to keep her family fed) and tables overflowing with beautiful plants and flowers of all shapes and sizes. So that I don’t reminisce too much, I’ll just say that I knew about the benefit of some plants before I met my wife through my grandmother. Have a sun burn? Break off a piece of the aloe vera plant. To liven up a stuffy house during the winter months? Bring inside your snake plant. It wasn’t until the beginning of the school year (a couple of years ago) that I was about to start and I wanted a plant for my classroom that I truly started to realize the positive impact that having a ‘plant’ inside can have on your life. Funny what happens when you actually start listening to your spouse when they know something.
I feel that it would be a travesty to not share something that could be pivotal to your health. So, the air quality of your office building, apartment or upstairs bedroom might not be your number 1 priority but it should be something to think about. Air quality of enclosed spaces is important enough that NASA itself does an immense amount of research on the topic. The indoor air pollutants that we encounter every day is staggering. The indoor environment does not have the freedom that our outside environment does (think wind blowing away dust, fresh air, rain washing away pollutants, etc). The stagnant indoor environment is a breeding ground for contaminants. Being that most adults spend about 90% of our working hours indoors; it is a good idea to care about good quality air. The
Picture credit NASA’s Plants, for your Health study.
furnishings, upholstery, building materials, cleaning products and various machines can emit a variety of toxic compounds like formaldehyde, house bacteria and mold and cause contaminants like trapped car exhaust. The fact that most of the office buildings, schools, or anywhere else is made worse by small spaces and poorly-ventilated spaces. For example; that upstairs window that your mom painted shut last year that you never fixed. Or how about the exhaust fan to the attic that they have never gotten around to replace? So the beauty of our current predicament is that God gave us a way to inflict Rambo-like force upon the disgusting stuff that is in the air that we breathe, and it comes right from nature. That’s right….I’m talking about plants.
SO you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Chris, how in the crap do you expect me to believe that putting a potted plant in my bedroom will help me sleep at night?” Well friend…the answer is simple. Plants absorb most of the particulates in the air. They ‘breath’ in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen through photosynthesis. BUT that’s not all!!!! The microorganisms that are present in the potting soil, and the microbes there in also contribute to the cleansing. And besides…..plants just make people feel happy. For example, why do you think that we bring flowers to people to show that we love them? BECAUSE PLANTS AND FLOWERS ARE AWESOME. Why do you put plants in hospital rooms? Because hospital patients with plants in their rooms have statistically been more positive and had lower blood pressure and stress levels. It is also statistically proven that indoor plants will make you smarter by allowing you to stay more alert and reduce your mental fatigue.
I admit that I have always been afraid of killing plants. I admit that my wife is by far one of the most intelligent people that I have ever known and her knowledge of plant life astounds me but if you don’t have one of these people in your life, just look at the little label or tag that is stuck inside the soil of the plant or printed on a label on the container that the plant is growing inside. Remember some plants need to be repotted over time. Some plants need new potting soil every now and then. Some plants need to be watered. Some plants need to see sunshine from time to time. It’s really not that hard. 🙂
So here is my list of plants that are beneficial to your life just by having them in your enclosed space. I am giving you my preferred list of what they can do for you and also if there are any specific troubling things that you need to know. Please note that I am not a horticulturalist nor am I an expert. SO don’t sue me if you don’t like having an aloe plant in your basement.
Peace Lily – The peace lily is my wife’s choice for best inside plant. The peace lily blooms fragrant flowers throughout the summer and can grow in shady areas. It can not be in direct sunlight but indirect light from inside the room is great. It removes ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the area. It’s small but powerful air-cleaning ability overpowers the downfalls. Like all flowers, the flower of the peace lily will contribute some pollen and floral scents to the air which you may want to eliminate having too many of them in one room. Other than that…enjoy their beauty and benefits.
Chrysanthemum aka the garden mum – The chrysanthemum is my grandmother’s
favorite flower and I even got it tattooed in part of my half sleeve in memory of her. Besides being beautiful the inexpensive flowering plant can be planted outside if need be but if placed inside is an air-purifying champion. It removes ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from indoor air. Like the Peace Lily, you will have a small amount of pollen during spring but this will not be a problem as long as you don’t have too many in one place.
Aloe Vera – The aloe vera plant is not pretty but it will remove formaldehyde from the air. Besides its pollutant removing qualities, it probably isn’t safe to be around small children. The greatness of the Aloe plant is multiplied by fact that the aloe plant is AMAZINGLY easy to take care of is amplified still by the clear fluid that hides within its leaves. The leaves are full of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids and other compounds that have wound-healing, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes up for anything that you may think about the prickly plant. It is amazing to use when you have sun burn and has been known to be useful for people who suffer from psoriasis.
Snake plant aka Mother-in-Law’s Tongue – The snake plant is something that I remember my grandmother having in her collection of potted plants. She prided herself on the size of her snake plant. Despite preferring to be in drier conditions, needing a little bit of sun and an occasional watering; the snake plant is one of the hardest houseplants to kill. And it will be worth whatever trouble that it may cause because it removes benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene from your indoor environment.
Bamboo Palm – When you think of the bamboo palm, you more than likely think of Japanese culture or part of the selective diet of a panda. What you don’t think about is the fact that this benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene filtering palms thrive in sunlight and the bigger that they get, the better addition that they are to your inside environment. They can be really big outside and can grow as high as you will let them inside your home.
Boston Fern – The Boston Fern is what you usually think of when you think of a fern. The Boston Fern likes to set up shop in a cool location with high humidity and indirect light. So that hall bathroom would be a perfect spot for a fern. While the fern removes formaldehyde and xylene from the air, you will need to check its soil almost daily to ensure that the soil is moist.
Dracaena – The Dracaena is an easy addition to your home or office. Their gorgeous looks are only multiplied by their pollutant removing powers. The dracaena can remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene. My grandmother had a dracaena that she had kept alive since my father was a child (my dad hasn’t been a child for over 50 years by the way). My cousin now has this plant in her home and it is still thriving and doing well. The only downfall to the dracaena is that the leaves are quite toxic to cats and dogs. So….pet owners might want to steer clear of this wide leafed plant.
Ficus aka Weeping Fig – Okay, so I know that ficus sounds like something that you cough up when you’re sick with the flu but a ficus is actually a tree that originally came from southeast Asia. The low maintenance plant can grow up to ten feet tall. The ficus can be taken outside during the summer months and brought back inside when its cold to remove benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. Guess this silly sounding name packs a big punch.