Plants are lovely additions to the interior design of our homes. We choose plants for their size, shape and color and, for many of us not gifted with a green thumb, how easy they are to maintain. We need to consider one more thing when choosing a plant to become a part of our family: what they can do to improve our health.
There are many plants that make your home healthier. We have selected five that are low maintenance, especially decorative and have specific health benefits.
The Peace Lily has arching dark green leaves and creamy white blossoms that grow on the top of slender, straight stems. The plant is so decorative that we tend to forget how hard it works ridding the home of air pollutants. The Peace Lily absorbs ammonia, benzene, xylene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene—chemicals from the cleaning products that we use that make us sick. Coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, dizziness, headaches and upper respiratory congestion are among the many harmful effects of polluted indoor air.
As fancy as the peace lily is, it’s low maintenance. It requires only minimal sunlight, does fine in the shade, and needs only to be kept slightly moist. It’ll let you know when it needs water—its leaves droop. Wash the leaves occasionally to keep to keep them free of dust and insects.
Since the Peace Lily flowers, it produces pollen, so it is not advised for people who are allergic.
Gerbera Daisies are loved for their bright, colorful flowers that cheer up any corner of the house. They come in yellow, salmon, orange, red, white and varying shades of pink and purple, and measure anywhere from 2 to 5 inches across. But they are not only decorative, they are healthful. They produce high levels of oxygen at night. Anyone suffering from sleep apnea, COPD or any type of breathing disorder will sleep much more peacefully and awaken more refreshed with Gerbera Daisies on the nightstand right next to the bed.
The Daisies like indirect sunlight during the winter and bright sunlight the rest of the year. Keep the soil moist by watering regularly.
English Ivy is an evergreen plant with glossy, dark green leaves that spreads elegance wherever you let it roam: across a mantle, along a table top, up a vertical support or cascading from a hanging basket. In addition to adding charm to your interior décor, English Ivy is an intrepid warrior against mold spores floating around in the air. If the air is not cleansed of the spores, people with mold allergies suffer from rashes and congestion to fevers and tightness in the chest to infections in the lungs. For those with asthma or chronic lung disease, the spores can cause much greater damage.
English Ivy needs bright light, evenly moist soil and an occasional pruning. (You can start new plants from the cuttings.) Give it a shower now and then to remove dust and any pests from the leaves.
The down side of English Ivy is that the leaves and berries are poisonous and must be kept out of the reach of children and pets.
Aloe Vera has pointed, fleshy green leaves that can grow up to 12-19 inches in length. Each leaf contains gel that has amazing medicinal and cosmetic properties that accelerate the healing of skin conditions and hydrate dry skin. Split open a leaf and apply the gel to treat cuts, burns, sunburn, frostbite, psoriasis, cold sores and acne. Its anti-aging properties increase collagen production, improve skin elasticity and help smooth out those wrinkles.
Aloe Vera needs indirect sunlight. Water it deeply, then make sure the soil is dry about 1 or 2 inches deep before watering again—on average about every three weeks, less often during the winter.
Use the gel only topically. Ingestion by people or pets can result in nausea.
We are used to seeing these cheerful plants in outdoor gardens, but the leaves in an assortment of green hues and the flowers in an assortment of shades of pink, red, orange and purple not only decorate your home beautifully, but they are a natural boost when you are feeling stressed or depressed. The vibrant colors lift your spirits when life feels dreary. Breathing in the rose-like fragrance alleviates anxiety and lowers stress levels. You can also brew the leaves for a delicious tea that can clear away an unpleasant mood and a cluttered mind.
Geraniums don’t need a lot of sunlight, but the more you give them, the more they will bloom. Water them weekly without getting the leaves wet.
With just a little research, you will learn about more plants that enhance the aesthetics of your home while making you healthier and happier.