Fill your home with houseplants and reap the benefits of cleaner air (bonus: these plants are really hard to kill)
I fell in love with my current apartment because of how absolutely drenched in natural light every room seems to be. Our last place had plenty of windows, but the ceilings were so short it felt like a cellar even during the brightest hours. With this new infusion of natural light in my life came an obsession with houseplants.
Besides the obvious aesthetic and therapeutic qualities of bringing nature indoors, filling your home with plants has a direct effect on your indoor air quality. As soon as a I walk inside my home from the streets of Philly, I notice an improvement in my energy and general feeling of well-being. I mean, that could be an effect of getting away from the infamous Philly street 'tude, but I’ll let the plants take credit for it.
The plants below are both easy to take care of and NASA-approved for purifying for your indoor air. Take note of the light requirements though, as that is the biggest factor on how much water each plant will need.
I bought this baby at IKEA for just a few bucks because, as you can see, she was a little rough around the edges. I consider this plant the titan of my home; not because of its size, but its sheer immortality. This thing has lived everywhere: in bright afternoon light, in a humid bathroom, and now in a pretty shaded area next to my TV. I recommend placing a snake plant in an area that could use some added height. Note: while this plant can survive in darker situations, do not expect it to thrive. It will only grow when given ample light.
This was my very first houseplant that wasn’t given to me as a gift. I was visiting a friend who kept a pothos plant on a shelf and I fell in love with the way the vines tumbled down. On my way back home, I spent less than $5 on this baby at Home Depot. Now, it’s my largest vining plant (monstera not included), and continues to grow regardless of how many times I propagate it. Keep your pothos plants on a shelf with a view of the window to give them full range to grow. Another awesome way to display your pothos is to pin the vines along the wall (don’t really pin them; first place the pins in the wall and “lay” the vines across them).
Another green baby I adopted for less than $10. The spider plant gets its name from the shape of its pups: cute, wily little things that can be given to a friend so they can have a spider plant of their own. This beauty doesn’t need much; a bright, indirect light source and water when the soil feels dry. Hang your spider plant high and watch the spider babies go nuts.
Aloe is the triple-threat of houseplants: not only does it look gorgeous and purify the air, but the juicy leaves can also be used for a variety of medicinal purposes. Happy aloe is also easy to propagate. If you ever notice a mini-aloe hanging out near the sides of your plant, gently uproot to start another aloe plant. Aloe is relatively hard to kill; just make sure your aloe plant is not placed to a draft, has plenty of light (they say bright indirect is best but I’ve kept mine in direct without harm), and water sparingly.
Although I’m not a huge fan of peace lillies (all the ones I’ve had remind me of a funeral home), I keep this little guy displayed in an old bottle of whiskey on a shelf (DIY coming soon!). This helps keep the kitties away from nibbling the lily’s toxic leaves. Also, look how pretty! Keeping this peace lily in its current hydroponic environment is a personal choice, and these plants are just as happy in soil.
All of the above houseplants are generally hard to kill and surprisingly affordable in most regions, so setting your home up with a natural system of air purification is way easier than you think. But be warned: once you get into the groove of caring for a houseplant, your home will rapidly fill up with tiny green babies. Improved indoor air quality is a pretty good excuse to get more plants in your life, right? *cries into empty wallet*
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