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Why Are Indoor Plants So Good For You?

Added February 18, 2010, Under: Environment, Health

Jelly Bean Plant (Sedum rubrotinctum)

Jelly Bean Plant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I often read the newsletters from NaturalNews.com and back in January, they suggested 25 ways to improve your health and happiness in 2010 and number 7 was “Buy more indoor plants: they purify the air in your home”.

I am lucky to live in a mild climate where the doors and windows are open to the garden, the trees and plants and the fresh air all year round. But many people with severe winter weather are cooped up inside for months on end and what could be better for your health and well being than to start an indoor garden. And indoor gardening can be just as fun as having an outdoor garden.

There are loads of benefits to having plants in the home and of course inside office buildings too 

  • Plants can decrease stress while enhancing productivity by some 12%. People intuitively feel that the contact to plants and nature has a calming effect on them.
  • Plants in the workplace attract, retain and enhance the attitude of employees.
  • Plants help towards an energy efficient building whilst counteracting the effects of a sick building syndrome. Plants help with bottom line savings on sick leave expenses.
  • Plants help to reduce background noise levels in buildings. While some plant species are more effective than others, the benefits are more pronounced in buildings with hard, reflective surfaces.
  • Plants help improve humidity levels inside.
  • Plants help influence and improve particle content and odour quality of indoor air.

Which types of plants should you use?

Before you go rushing out to buy the plants for your indoor garden, you have to be honest about whether you have the commitment to look after these plants. If they are going to be neglected, then cacti and succulents are your best bet! Bring a touch of the USA’s southwest into your home with a miniature cactus garden. With its unusual plant forms and temperature and moisture adaptability, cacti are an intriguing group of plants. And they won’t die on you, just because you forget about them!

Another plant that will survive, even if you forget to water it, is the Ponytail Palm. With a whirl and a flick, the foliage of the ponytail palm arises from its unusual swollen trunk and needs little attention to maintain its beauty.

The Chinese Evergreen is an excellent choice for first time gardeners because it is a low-light lover and requires low maintenance. It is great as an indoor purifier.

You can build up a basic supply of plants that give you greenery all year round and then you can always add some flowering specimens for color at different times of the year – for example, spring bulbs or African Violets or even Poinsettia at Christmas.

Here are some ideas

Angel Ivy Ring Topiary – you can use this fast growing angel ivy (also known as wire vine) as a lush, living frame for seasonal flowers and bulbs that you can plant at the base of the ring.

Braided Ficus Tree – easy care and adaptability have made the ficus one of the most popular plants grown by indoor gardeners with its variegated foliage and the braided stems. The ficus can grow quite big even indoors so you may have to re-pot into a larger container at a later stage.

Chamaedorea Palm – this has wispy leaves and gives a tropical look to your home.

Minature Herb Standard Topiaries – you can place lavender, rosemary and serissa as a group on a sunny spot in your home.

Moth Orchid – this easy-to-grow orchid will give you a living bouquet of color and beauty.

Amaryllis Yellow Goddess – this colourful spring flowering plant will reward you with soft yellow, trumpet shaped flowers touched with green at the throat.

All kinds of herbs can be grown in pots at your kitchen window

These will give you fresh home grown herbs for your cooking and they smell good too!

Once you have set up your indoor garden, follow the instructions on the pot about watering and feeding. Make sure you have a suitable “watering can” to use and some “plant food for indoor plants”. From time to time, your plants will outgrow their pots (you will see that the roots are struggling for space) and you will need to move them to a larger pot. Make sure you put small pebbles or stones at the bottom of the new pot for drainage, add new potting soil and carefully transfer your plant. Put more potting soil on the top and down the sides of the plant to help it settle in and fit snugly. Then give it a good drink of water.

Good luck with your indoor gardening and I hope it brings you lots of pleasure and good health!

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