Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
When I was growing up, my mom always had several plants in the house (ferns, ficus… I was a child of the 70s). I was never terribly interested in the plants – they were just part of the decor. In my early adult years, I tried to keep a houseplant from time to time, with poor results. I had a black thumb. I killed multiple cacti, even. So I gave up for many years.
I started gardening outdoors with a small container garden of mostly herbs. That went pretty well but I was still leery of trying to keep an indoor plant alive. I do a lot of gardening outside now, and finally last year decided I really wanted to bring some life inside too. While researching easy-to-grow houseplants, I was thrilled to learn that many of those ubiquitous plants also help purify the air we breathe.
NASA did a study several years ago and learned that not only do plants help filter CO2, but some eat up other common toxins as well. The main researcher, BC Wolverton, published a book – How to Grow Fresh Air – that I hope to find at the library.
A few of my favorites (for looks as well as purifying properties), which I’ve been adding to my home over the past few months:
Dracaena – many different species, such as the variegated ‘Warneckii,’ the all-green ‘Janet Craig,’ and Dracaena sanderiana (marketed as ‘Lucky bamboo’)
Peace lily (Spathaphyllum) – glossy leaves and pretty blooms
Rubber tree plant (Ficus elastica) – oops, there goes another one
Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) – aka Mother-in-law’s tongue
Bonus: For an office space with no windows, I like Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), as it can thrive without natural light and may help filter the stuff that makes ‘sick buildings‘ sick. Probably wouldn’t have it at home though because it’s poisonous to children and pets.
(Photos via Wikimedia Commons)