Houseplants can help with winter doldrums

We have been blessed with great winter weather, however, with shorter days and cooler temperatures most all of us spend more time inside.  The cabin fever and longing for spring seems to grow in each of us, as this winter season stretches out.

Houseplants can lift our spirits, give us hope for spring,  and add fresh oxygen to our enclosed homes and offices.  House plant sales are always highest during this season when we are “cooped up” inside so much more.  Not only do houseplants add color, life, beauty and interest to our home but numerous studies by NASA and others prove their value in cleaning our air of pollutants while producing the fresh oxygen we mammals require.  Plants and humans as well as other animals were designed to function or work together.  Plants need the carbon dioxide we give off and that can poison us when levels are too high and we need the clean, fresh oxygen that plants produce whether outside or inside.  That oxygen is important outside for our whole biosphere but it may be even more important inside the closed up spaces of our homes, offices and even spaceships.

All plants have this natural ability to filter our air, cleaning up carbon dioxide and other pollutants but studies show some plants are especially effective like chlorophytum or airplane plant, members of the Dracaena family, and spathphyllum or peace plant.  There are hundreds, probably thousands of different plants which can grow well inside.  Their success will vary depending on your light levels, the temperature you maintain, air drafts, humidity levels and your watering habits.  The early plants grown inside by our grandparents were ficus or rubber plants, philodendron ivy, golden pothos ivy,Boston Fern,  and growing out sweet potatoes or avocado pits in the kitchen or bathroom window.

Today, there are many new selections of ficus, dracaena, philodendron, and pothos that make very successful houseplants.  For very low light you can use the traditional Sansevaria or snake plant, Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen), or Aspidistra  (Cast Iron plant).  When placed in better light the spathphyllum will periodically produce white “flag” type flowers to add a beautiful contrast to their bright green shiny foliage.  There are several palms that do well indoors including the dwarf Neanthe Bella, Ponytail palms, Rhaphis, Bamboo, and if you have better light Areca and Majesty palms.

Numerous other great house plants include Bromeliads, Crotons, Calathea, Hawaiian Schefflera, Bird of Paradise, selected ferns, Dieffenbachia, Nepthytis, Anthurium and many others.

Remember most all plants will perform better and be healthier with more or better light but many will tolerate and hold up in lower light.  The more light, the more water most plants will need.  Let house plant soil get dry to the touch and then water.  Our home and office heating systems tend to dry out the air, so it is always a good idea to mist the foliage of your houseplants from time to time to raise the humidity around them or you can put the plants on a saucer of gravel filled with water.

Select a few houseplants to add to your space and enjoy the fresh air and beauty they can add to your life.


One response to this post.

  1. […] that your houseplants need little water over winter! Still houseplants can brighten up winter: […]


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