Did you know that dust motes can be hazardous to your health? They can contribute to everything from allergies to bacterial infections – and the likelihood will only multiply during the winter months when your house is closed up against the elements. During this time, dust and toxic chemicals found in your personal care products, household cleaners, and outdoor pollutants will be in greater concentration. But when it’s cold outside, it may not be practical to open the windows to rid your house of some of those toxins. Yes, vacuuming, dusting, and regularly changing out your air filter will help cut down on the accumulation of harmful air particles. But why not add a touch of style and elegance with an abundance of indoor houseplants? Not only will they add a pop of color to your surroundings, but they will also purify the air and keep you and your family healthy!
To maximize plants’ effectiveness, make sure to:
Have about 1 plant per 100 square feet of your home (which would mean at least 15 plants in a 2,000 square feet home).
Start small in your collection of plants and take cuttings from the original plants to grow more (such as with spider plants and these).
Achieve Clean Air by Having These Plants in Your Home
Bamboo Palm, Reed Palm, Boston Fern, and Spider Plant for removing xylene, toluene, and formaldehyde.
Chinese Evergreen for formaldehyde and benzene.
Chrysanthemum and Peace Lily for tricholorethylene, toluene, benzene, ammonia, xylene, and formaldehyde.
English Ivy for mildew and mold, as well as xylene, benzene, toluene, and formaldehyde.
Gerbera Daisies for formaldehyde, tricholorethylene, and benzene.
Philodendron for formaldehyde.
Golden Pothos, Red-edged dracaena (also known as Dracaena Marginata), and Snake Plant (also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue) for xylene, benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, and trichlorethylene.
Warneck Dracaena for xylene, benzene, tricholorethylene and toluene.
Weeping Fig for toluene, formaldehyde, and xylene.
Caring for Houseplants During the Winter
Without proper attention to your houseplants, even the heartiest of plants can die. Therefore, what you do to keep them flourishing in the winter months should consist of:
- Ample sunlight (according to whether they need direct or indirect sunlight).
- Keeping plants dust-free.
- The right temperature (avoiding extremes in warm/cold air they may receive). If you are unsure, do your homework.
- Adjust humidity levels so they won’t dry out. In winter, humidity levels in the house should be at around 50 percent.
- Water plants only when their root bases are dry (except with ferns or potted citrus plants which need more watering). To check for dryness, poke your finger into the soil about an inch or two down. If soil feels dry to the touch, water your plants, but don’t add too much water, otherwise the roots can get waterlogged and rot.
- Avoid using fertilizers, as they are best suited to springtime use.
- Remove any dead or spindly growths from plants to promote further growth and new shoots.
- If you’ve not already repotted plants, wait until springtime.