I love giving plants as gifts, even when they are misguided. One summer, I had two friends who were both pregnant with similar due dates. The first, Meg, was a free spirit. She had a soft, cozy home and we often talked about our furniture restoration projects. The one, Jess, was a settled-in city girl. She stored clothes in her oven because she didn’t like to cook and enjoyed traveling.
While I like my jade plants and lucky bamboo (which is not actually air-cleaning bamboo), they don’t actually do much for air quality. Over the years, I’ve acquired a mixture of pretty and practical plants that create a happy, healthy addition to my environment.
If you are hoping to improve the air quality in your home, using easy plants, consider bringing in one of the following flora.
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Bathrooms and houseplants can be a tricky combination; often the natural light is limited, there’s a lot of humidity (which cacti can react badly to) and the plants can get very cold at night. Below are some suggestions for common combinations: • bright, humid, warm at night: palms, rhipsalis, ficus, pileas, maranta, other tropicals. • bright, dry, cold at night: clivia, aspidistra, English ivy, cacti and other succulents. • low light, humid, warm: ferns, philodendron, rhipsalis • low light, dry, cold: spider plant, snake plant, aspidistra • medium light, humid, cold: clivia, ZZ plant, and if you can find them, Tasmanian or New Zealand ferns • no light: save your ££ and buy an @earlofeastlondon candle 😉 – Img via @pinterest #bathroomgoals #tropicalplants #houseplants #bathroomplants #houseofplants #fern #bostonfern #englishivy
Care Level: English Ivy is like a celebrity with one of the easier riders. No picking red M&Ms out of its candy dish but, it still needs a special spot.
One of my earliest horticultural experiences was with an English ivy plant. I actually propagated it from one of my grandmother’s plants without much work. I was 14 and my bedroom was in a mostly underground basement. I had one small window above eye level and the plant thrived there.
The fun of English Ivy is the crazy growth. You forget about it, watering it enough to keep the soil constantly damp. You have creeping vines around your room within a few months.
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Was doing some much needed maintenance and rotation the other day when I found this little guy, dead, on my window sill. Cute? #monstera #dracaena #peacelily #ivy #foliage #houseplants #africanviolet #parlourpalm #palm #phaleonopsis #orchid #wasp #hoyacarnosa #hoya #plants #maranta
Care Level: It’s the rising Phoenix of flowers.
How it Cleans: It reportedly filters out benzene, formaldehyde, trychloroethelene, xylene, toluene and ammonia.
I’ve practically let my peace lily die and it always comes back. Granted, I’ve never had it bloom (nor have I tried to coax it). However, this plant just needs a little water to perk back up.
My peace lily is about a year old. As a last-minute gift from my husband, he had no clue what he was picking up. I think it was just on a display of “air cleaning” plants and he knew that was my jam.
Luckily, he picked out a very photogenic addition to my indoor garden (pictured above).
Care Level: Easier than a cactus.
How it Cleans: It reportedly filters out benzene, formaldehyde, trychloroethelene, xylene and toluene.
You can over-water a cactus without much effort. Snake plants can live through extremes on both the dry and moist ends of black thumbs. While they prefer moist, well-draining dirt, they can handle some variety.
I started with one small plant 10 years ago and now, I have 3 with me and two given away. They grow tall and often sprout new sections.
I find that in temperate climates, they can even last outdoors on a porch in the spring and fall.
Indoor Plants to Clean Your Air
Slowly adding indoor plants to clean your air can improve the happiness and health of your home. In the most practical sense, adding them one-by-one is easier than committing to several at once.
When you find a plant that suits your style, you can buy more or propagate them to add to your routine. Then, you won’t feel overwhelmed.
My Top Tip? Keep plants clustered to remind you that they all need to be watered.
What about you?
Tell me about your favorite houseplants. Tag me on Insta or let me know about your plant lady adventures in the comments below.
Maybe you bought your bamboo on an impulse walking around an open-air market. Lucky bamboo’s popularity stems from easy maintenance and low-key watering routine. In fact, the plant grows well in difficult environments like offices or dingy apartments. With time, you’ll find that the leaves grow tall and stretch toward the light. With that growth, you can actually propagate your lucky bamboo plant(similar to those crazy romaine lettuce videos).
After the trim, all you need to do is clip off the stem and leave it in water to root. Below are a few more tips for a successful rooting.
1. Use clean scissors. I washed mine, rinsed them in alcohol, and rinsed again in water. This makes sure that both the stem and the main plant don’t get an infection.
2. Strip down some of the lower leaves. There shouldn’t be any submerged leaves. Also, less leaves to support allows the plant to focus on sprouting roots.
3. Keep it away from fresh produce. This goes for all houseplants but, especially new sprouts. They do much better away from that fruit bowl.
With these tips, you can simply slice off a stem and root it in water.
It’s not Actually Bamboo
Did you know that Lucky Bamboo is not actually bamboo? The plant originated in West Africa and continues to grow in popularity in several countries. Because of this, Lucky Bamboo grows best indoors.
In a small space, greenery adds color and life without creating more clutter. In fact, it can put some cute trinkets and containers to better use. For example, a cherished mug or heirloom dish can be repurposed as a planter by simply adding a bamboo stem, water and stones. Personally, I cleaned my own seashell and rock collections to root a few new bamboo stems. For years, I had three little terra cotta pots from my trip to Brazil packed away in a box of keepsakes. Now, they support three fresh, green lucky bamboo plants.
Plants as Gifts
Plants are my favorite gifts, especially as a replacement for celebratory bouquets. I can’t prove that it is a greener or more eco-friendly choice. However, growing your own gifts must cut down on some of the ancillary affects to the environment such as packaging, shipping, and fertilizer run-off. A plant grown from a cutting a a particularly personal present. Grown from a stem in your own home, the gift can symbolize your connection.
While a bundle of roses or peonies are fun, a potted plant won’t die after a week. And with this life, you can actually encourage new life, by propagating them. Lucky bamboo, a commonly gifted plant, is actually easy to propagate once it sprouts a stem. What plants do you have in your home? Tag me –I would love to see photos!
First, my cat ripped my jade plant out of the pot. In her defense, I moved it to the sunniest spot in my home for the winter season. Determined to save the plant, I consulted the internet for tips. Although a cat attack isn’t the ideal starting point, I was able to save a lot of the stems and replant them. Below are some lessons I learned in the process.
When my cat attacked my jade plant, I decided to try saving the stems. Now they are starting to root.
1. The soil should be super dry. This is to avoid root rot. As an example, I “replanted” them by just letting them sit on dry perlite for 4 weeks. Then, when the little roots showed, I buried them in the dry perlite.
2. It’s possible without rooting hormone. It’s just significantly slower. Triple the timeline for roots without the rooting hormone.
3. Styrofoam cups will do for rooting. Be sure to punch a lot of holes in the bottom for drainage. I plan on making some cute pots for the plants. However, while I was rooting them, I wasn’t sure how many would survive. Styrofoam cups made a dry spot to root them.
What plants have you been caring for lately?