If you’ve never considered putting a statement plant or two in your home, maybe it’s time for a change. A living plant not only provides a splash of healthy greenery, but it works hard in your home.
Did you know that indoor plants reduce levels of carbon dioxide and add to the oxygen in a room? When you breathe, your body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. It’s a real win/win situation.
At night, however, the reverse is true – for most plants. They take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide, so your bedroom is not the place for your favourite Philodendron, no matter how much you love it. Instead, place an orchid, or a succulent in your bedroom. They won’t steal oxygen from you in the night – they just keep on releasing it for you, so you can slumber in safety.
Plants also increase the level of humidity in your home. Studies at a Norwegian University found that indoor plants can decrease dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs. Other research has also found that that higher humidity inhibits the survival and transmission of the flu virus. So greening up your home could also give you some great health benefits.
Indoor environments can contain low levels of organic compounds which have been released into the air by such things as hair spray, nail products, or even air fresheners. The leaves of your indoor plants can remove these toxins, making the air much safer for you and your family to breathe.
Indoor plants can also help to alleviate stress and fatigue. The very act of caring for a house plant can give tremendous satisfaction, especially when new growth appears, or a new bud opens.
If you want large statement potted plants in your home, you may be in for a shock. To buy a couple of two metre Areca Palms or one metre Fiddle Leaf Figs could cost you the equivalent of a bottle of 2014 Penfolds Grange Bin 95.
Into the Light
Once you’ve carefully transported your precious new plants home, there’s the question of placement. Plants love light. But light doesn’t mean the hottest part of your living room. The retail outlet where you bought your plant should have told you where to place it so it will thrive. If not, read the little information tag that was attached to the plant. But don’t keep your plants in a darker area, or they’ll sulk and start to drop their leaves just to keep you and your vacuum cleaner on the hop.
Indoor plants require water. Not too much water, but certainly not too little. If, heaven forbid, you forget to water your green-leaved investment, it’s money (or that bottle of Grange) down the drain. Again, read the plant tag to find out how much water your plants require.
As your plants grow, you may need to polish their leaves or at least wipe them regularly, because they get dusty, just like your furniture does. To add some lustre to their leaves, use a little white oil. And because your plants are indoors, they’ll require some plant food from time to time. Osmocote for indoor plants, or some other yummy fertiliser, will give them a boost. But don’t overdo it.
Even if you slavishly maintain your plants, they could prove irresistible to pests that have been looking for a nice healthy Croton to get their teeth into. If you notice any caterpillars or other nasties setting up house in your plants, remove the offenders and make sure they don’t survive to attack anything in your garden.
If you love globe-trotting and head off regularly, whether for a few weeks or even months at a time, your plants will need a plant-sitter to keep them flourishing until your return. If you have a willing relative, or a trustworthy neighbour, that could be the answer. One couple we know even hired their pet sitter to visit several times a week to maintain their many indoor plants, even after their pet had long gone.
But the beauty and benefits of indoor plants are worth all the cost and effort involved and will give you pleasure for years.
Author: Di Clements