Hello FLLS Fam!
I hope that your week went well despite the current social climate. At the beginning of the year, we had no idea that we’d be here, waiting for the world to get back to normal. Yet here we are, making it through the best way we know how to. And if you’re reading this, you’ve been blessed to see another day. So let’s pause and take a moment to virtually celebrate that.
*insert virtual hugs*
The great thing is that, even in this moment, we’ve been given opportunities to pause, reflect, regroup, discover or even rediscover (see my experience here). This is why I am very excited to share today’s blog post with you. Highly requested since April, I believe that the Instagram pics of my little green oasis (my apartment) sparked this interest. And over the past few months, I’ve shared snippets of my new normal, only to realize that I actually have a green thumb.
With all the panic of COVID-19 and its potential for transmission, I grew more interested in improving the air quality in my home. We all know, one way to circulate the air in your home is by opening windows. I tend to do this a lot, in between seasons, when there’s a shift in the outdoor temperature. But I recall having a moment (in April) when a lady, walking her dog, stopped just under my window to control a bad cough. The look on my face and the mad dash from my kitchen to the living room. LOL! I wasn’t laughing that day but I can now. I couldn’t fault her for having to cough. But at that time, there were too many unknowns about the nature of the virus. So now I shut my windows during busy hours and I’ve resorted to another air-filtering option.
An indoor garden!
Another more aesthetic way of filtering your indoor air quality is with plants. Plants purify indoor air by producing oxygen, absorbing toxins, and increasing humidity. In a 1980s NASA study, “a number of plants demonstrated to remove known carcinogens—like benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde—from the air. NASA’s rule of thumb is to have one air-purifying plant for every 100 square feet of space (www.curbed.com). Furthermore, the right plants can add vibrance to sterile spaces, soften up empty corners, reduce noise levels and promote peace of mind. According to Dr. Eugenia South, a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, “there’s a growing body of evidence that green space can have an impact on mental health” (www.odb.org). Studies show that plants can improve your mood, help reduce stress and fatigue, enhance concentration, increase productivity and ignite creativity. You see where I’m going with this?
Here are a few amazing air-purifying plants that are considered low maintenance, easy to care for and can a little withstand beginner’s error or neglect:
Devil’s Ivy or Pothos
The devil’s ivy, also known as the pothos or golden pothos, is a beginner-friendly plant, great at combating common household toxins. It’s vibrant hue offers a pop of color to any space or corner, with flowing stems that are absolutely gorgeous when hanging from a basket or overheard surface. This beauty grows well in planter/pots as well as in water. Devil’s ivies are good for removing toxins such as: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene.
The philodendron is like a cousin to the pathos or golden pathos. Both belong to the same aroid plant family (Araceae), but to separate genera. Unlike the pothos (a member of the Epipremnum genus), the philodendron belongs to the philodendron genus (www.spruce.com). A more voluptuous shaped leaf distinguishes it from many others, yet it joins the collective as another great indoor option that is harder to kill than keep alive. Philodendrons are moderately easy to care for, needing water about once a week and and bright, indirect sunlight. Highly popular for its member, the trendy monstera plant, philodendrons are “shown to be one of the most effective for reducing air pollution.” (www.curbed.com). They eliminate the toxin, formaldehyde, but are unsafe for children and pets, as its leaves are toxic.
Give me a fully grown Areca palm and watch me transform an empty living space. This stunner is a popular option for professional offices, art studios and lofts, creative spaces and more. Known to expand and spread wide as it grows, the Arecca palm is perfect for larger spaces and excellent for filling in corners in a room, and are non-toxic to pets. Give it lots of water about two times a week during warmer months, and once a week when temps are cooler. They are a powerhouse when it comes to eliminating toxins, removing benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene. (www.nasa.gov) (Photo left: www.fast-growing-trees.com).
Snake Plant (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue)
The snake plant a.k.a. “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue” is a low maintenance succulent plant that withstands owner neglect like a champ. This social media favorite is a great choice for the beginning plant mom/dad because it, in fact, flourishes while unbothered. But be good to it, and watch it grow up two meters in height. Take precaution and do not overwater it, for it can thrive in the driest of conditions. It loves bright even direct light for a couple of hours a day and will filter the formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene and xylene right out of your space.
Aloe Vera Plant
What can I say? I am an island girl, so the aloe vera plant has always been at the top of my list for indoor plants. It is highly known for its medicinal purposes and anti-inflammatory properties such as repairing wounds, helping with sunburn, strengthening and conditioning hair, and preventing itchy scalp. I like to use the plant’s inner gel as a companion to my conditioner, for smooth, shiny growing tresses. However, the aloe vera plant is an amazing purifier as well. It removes the toxin, formaldehyde, and will turn brown on its stems to alert of extreme chemicals in the air. It loves lots of light and thrives in warm temperatures. Give it love and watch it love you back in multiple ways.
The English Ivy is a longtime love of mine, since college and my sorority days, to be exact. However, my love grew even stronger when I learned that NASA hailed it the top houseplant for air purification. From ground cover to tree trunks to wildly draping walls and building, this beauty is no stranger to growing and flourishing amidst challenges or elements. It removes toxins, formaldehyde and benzene, and is best in bright, indirect light. Watering weekly will help prevent infestation from spider mites. Finnicky? No. It just requires a little attention and proper care.
Style and function please? Yes indeed. The Flamingo Lily is the perfect houseplant to add a pop of color to your home. It loves bright indirect sunlight but functions well in more humid spaces like a kitchen or the bathroom. For best care, water it twice a week. All while providing gorgeous style, this beauty will remove formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene and toluene from the air in your home.
I wish I could say that this is it for me and the plant purchases. Lol! There’s just so much of a return on the investment! To be honest, I currently have a few other air-purifying plants on my wish list. This includes but is not limited to a peace lily, a spider plant, a dragon tree and bamboo tree (I currently have jarred bamboo stems). Stay tuned in, as I might be doing a part two to this piece.
But I’d really love to hear from you! How do you feel about indoor plants? Are you a beginner getting ready to take the leap into plant life? Are you a plant mom or plant dad already? If so what plants do you have? I can’t wait to hear about it all and if you’ll be gardening later on this weekend. Let’s chat down in the comments … and thanks for stopping by!
Love and light to you,
A dose of style and inspiration for living!™
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This content was originally published here.