Poor air quality can be responsible for various health issues within the home. Among the sources of indoor air pollution are cleaning products, mould and dust and emissions from heaters and gas stoves. Even the pressed laminate in your furniture and fittings can emit an unpleasant gas called formaldehyde.
This is where indoor or house plants can come to the rescue. Indoor plants have a dual purpose, not only do they beautify your home but they have the ability to absorb a range of environmental toxins. They can remove arsenic and heavy metals from soil and new research has found that they are highly efficient at removing and neutralising nasties from the air.
After it was first realised that plants had the ability to absorb toxins, researchers then discovered that certain species performed this function better than others. It was also discovered that it was not just the plant itself which was doing the deed, it was an overall process involving the combined effects of the plant itself, the potting medium and the naturally occurring bacteria in the soil. Thus it is an entire mini ecosystem performing the toxin absorption process.
Putting aside the healthy atmosphere created by having plants in your home, the main reason most people opt for plants in their house is the wonderful atmosphere they create. A beautiful vase of flowers is something we all love but they don’t last all that long, whereas a potted plant will last for ages. For instance, I have a beautiful Anthurium “African Queen” living on a side table in my breakfast room producing a prolific display of dark burgundy flowers month after month. This is better than a vase of flowers because all I have to do is remember to water it. Of course, it’s also getting the right amount of light and is happy in its special potting mix of charcoal, coir and orchid mix.
With most other popular indoor plants such as the Peace Lily, Bamboo Palm, Zanzibar Gem, Philodendron and even Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, an oldie but an indoor classic, my golden rule is one month indoors and two months outdoors in a sheltered position, to maintain a healthy plant. This also means that I am rotating my plants just like changing the paintings on the walls. Also, when my orchids are in bloom, they get a chance to impress and be enjoyed by being brought inside.
African Violets are a very popular indoor plant and will provide you with a delightful display of blooms throughout most of the year but they can be a little more demanding than the average house plant. Don’t be put off, though, if you get the potting mix and the light situation right, you’re in Heaven.