Did you know that houseplants help purify the air in our homes? We’ve long known that indoor plants improve our mood and reduce stress levels, but improving air quality is an additional benefit! Keep reading for my favorite and best air cleaning houseplants …
One well-known study regarding indoor plants and air quality was conducted by NASA in 1989. Scientists were studying natural ways to purify the air in enclosed spaces, such as space stations, and today this has led to further insight into how particular plants can benefit our homes.
During the colder months, we spent a lot of time inside. Certainly, healthy indoor air is a top priority. Without proper ventilation, it doesn’t take long for indoor pollutants to build up to unhealthy levels in our homes or workplaces.
The easy care houseplants highlighted below help aid in the removal of pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide. You can breathe easier knowing these pretty plants not only add to your home decor, but purify the indoor air too.
Low-maintenance zz plants (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), are characterized by their shiny, wide, oval-shaped leaves that shoot upward and quickly grow in a home indoors (see photo at top of post of “Zee” my personal ZZ plant ;-).
The plant natively grows in East Africa, namely Zanzibar and Tanzania. The plants are also called Zanzibar gems for their spotless, waxy leaves that are so deep green that sometimes, these plants are mistaken as artificial. They add a nice bit of statuesque height to your decor, and have modern, clean lines.
All ZZ plants need to thrive is adequate light and a good watering every couple of weeks. However, don’t worry too much about forgetting to water your ZZ plant – these plants grow from rhizomes, which help them to store water under the soil, making them drought-tolerant plants.
How To Water A ZZ Plant
Water your ZZ Plant every 2-3 weeks, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Expect to water more often in brighter light conditions and less often in lower light. Signs that it is thirsty include wilting, wrinkled leaves, and dry potting mix, while wet mix or yellowing and mushy leaves signal overwatering and root rot.
Be sure to choose a pot with drainage holes so that all excess water drains off immediately. When it is time to water, aerate the soil with a wooden chopstick (gently poke around the edges of the pot—make sure not to stab the rhizomes!), and then water thoroughly, until you see water draining out the bottom. Don’t allow water to stand in the saucer.
ZZ Plant Care Tips
This herbaceous houseplant usually grows to 2-3 feet tall but can be seen up to 5 feet at full maturity. It can be grown outdoors in USDA growing zone 10 and above. All other zones should grow this as an indoor houseplant.
ZZ plants are not overly picky about their potting medium as long as it is well-draining. Most standard potting mixes should be sufficient for your plant. If additional drainage is required, mixing in perlite or sand will help.
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Help your plant do its photosynthesis thing by giving the leaves an occasional gentle wipe down when you see a buildup of dust. You don’t need a commercial leaf shine product—instead, a damp cloth will do the trick. Gently wipe the leaves from stem to tip with a soft cloth or sponge dampened with lukewarm water.
Keep your ZZ plant out of the way of dogs, cats or curious children. If the plant is ingested, it can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomachache.
Like most houseplants, zanzibar gems grow towards their light source. To keep your plant growing upright and evenly on all sides, give the pot a quarter turn every few months. If you follow the above suggestions, you should have one, happy and healthy ZZ plant!
Mesmerizing leaf patterns, ability to purify the air, and low maintenance standards have made the ZZ plant a popular choice for anyone looking to add a touch of green to their home.
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The Peace Lily is on NASA’s list of top 10 air-cleaning plants. This amazing natural air purifier doesn’t just add oxygen to your home; it filters and removes toxins including benzene, formaldehyde, ethylene, and ammonia!
Did You Know? Peace lilies are not true lilies. They are tropical, evergreen plants in the Arum family, native to tropical Central and South America. These plants thrive on the forest floor, where they receive dappled sunlight and consistent moisture and humidity. Replicating these conditions in the home is the key to getting your peace lily to be happy and healthy.
With enough light, peace lilies (Spathiphyllum wallisii) produce white to off-white “flowers” starting in the early summer, continuing to bloom throughout the year in the right conditions.
What you may consider a flower on the peace lily is actually a spathe. A spathe is a modified leaf, or bract, that surrounds the small flowers. The natural cycle of the spathe on a peace lily is to develop with a greenish color, turn bright white, and then turn green again as the flowers fade and ultimately turn brown.
How To Water A Peace Lily
How often should you water your peace lily? It’s not the number that matters but the dryness of the soil that counts. Keep the soil lightly moist to the touch, but not overly saturated. Peace lilies can tolerate short periods of dry soil, but their leaves will start to develop brown tips if they don’t have enough water or humidity.
Flower Chick owns three Peace Lily plants … I call them my “Drama Queens” because they will tell you when they are thirsty. The plant’s leaves start to droop. When the plant starts to look less “perky” than usual, test the soil with your finger. If it feels dry, it’s time to water again.
Often once per week watering is enough. When you water the plant, wait until the moisture comes out the drainage holes but never leave water sitting in the saucer or water the saucer, hoping the moisture moves up the plant.
Peace Lily Plant Care Tips
- Peace lilies are not heavy feeders, so fertilize only occasionally. To encourage spring and summer growth, fertilize every 6 weeks or so with a balanced houseplant fertilizer starting in late winter.
- The large leaves of peace lilies tend to collect a lot of dust in the home. Gently wipe them down with a wet paper towel occasionally; a thick layer of dust can inhibit photosynthesis.
- Bright, indirect light is best for peace lilies, ideally sheltered from cold drafts, so choose a spot away from doors and fire places.
- One word of caution: Peace lily leaves contain a compound that can cause swelling of the tongue or even vomiting when eaten, so keep your plant away from kids and pets.
- Older leaves on peace lilies will turn yellow with age. Remove them, cutting all the way at the center of the plant.
- In spring and summer, use an organic houseplant fertilizer to help your plant bloom. Keep in mind that peace lilies are sensitive to chemical fertilizers, so organic options are best.
The peace lily is hardy, forgiving, and will even let you know when it is thirsty: just look for the telltale droop. If you want to get clean air with peace lilies, simply add these beautiful plants to your home.
Stay tuned for additional info on the Best Air Cleaning Houseplants …