Decoration, How To, Indoor Plants, Plants, Sustainable Living

The Importance of Air-Purifying House Plants

We may live in a world that considers itself pioneering in terms of health and wellbeing, however, an increasingly popular tool in ensuring good health has surprisingly been present for over 3,000 years. This consists of the house plant; commonly recognised as a plant that will  successfully flourish indoors- particularly in homes and offices. 

Initially adopted by Chinese cultures to pursue gardening interests when the weather became overly harsh, and often used to signify wealth, house plants have been appreciated by humans for thousands of years. Whilst some individuals quite understandably commend house plants for their historical significance,  we have become increasingly conscious of their health benefits. Namely, these are their ability to improve breathing, mitigate the risks of illness, reduce anxiety and blood pressure, enhance productivity, and perhaps most impressively, purify the air within our homes. 

Throughout this post, we will specifically detail how a house plant purifies the air, we will also suggest our favourite ones for doing so, and answer any common questions that you might have. 

A Plant’s Air-Purifying Abilities

The Importance of Air-Purifying House Plants

A house plant will clean the air within your home by absorbing harmful gases through both their leaves and roots. Their soil will additionally neutralise volatile organic compounds (these include the common household pollutants of benzene and formaldehyde). It is these purifying abilities that are utilised most profoundly in phytoremediation; a process where plants will remove, contain, or destroy environmental contaminants. This process isn’t merely applicable to air, but additionally to polluted water and soil.

Both benzene and formaldehyde are volatile organic compounds that are prevalent within the home. Benzene can be found in certain plastics, pesticides and cigarette smoke, and formaldehyde can be present within cosmetics and various cleaning products. To help ensure a safe and healthy environment for you and your loved ones, we have detailed three house plants deemed excellent in removing these harmful pollutants from the air. 

Air-Purifying House Plants: Our Three Favourites

The Importance of Air-Purifying House Plants

Peace Lily: The perfect means of adding a simplistic, graceful touch to your home, a Peace Lily is an esteemed air purifier. Also referred to as Spathiphyllums, Peace Lilies will successfully remove carbon monoxide, benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene. 

The Importance of Air-Purifying House Plants

 Spider Plant: Valued for removing both formaldehyde and benzene from the air around us, a Spider Plant will also prove a low-maintenance option for your home. Importantly, it has been evidenced by NASA that a Spider Plant can remove approximately 90% of formaldehyde nearby. If you wish to order one of these wonderful Spider Plants, they can be found here

The Importance of Air-Purifying House Plants

Boston Fern: Displaying charmingly disheveled foliage, a Boston Fern is another wonderful house plant for reducing the pollutants within your home. To ensure that your fern flourishes, we encourage you to keep it away from direct sunlight, and to water frequently. 

Commonly Asked Questions

My home doesn’t experience much light, is there still an air-purifying house plant for me?

There certainly exists a perfect air-purifying house plant for every home and environment. We advise that the most suitable house plants for areas experiencing low-light are Devil’s Ivy, Maidenhair Ferns, Leopard Lilies, and Lucky Bamboos.

I have a cat and a dog, can I still have an air-purifying house plant in my home?

Again, both the Spider Plant and Boston Fern consist of air-purifying house plants believed harmless for cats and dogs (other animal-friendly house plants are Orchids and Peperomias). Nevertheless, to prevent your beloved pets from chewing or playing with your plants, we advise you to place them in windows, or towards the top of a shelf. 

What is the best air-purifying house plant for the bedroom?

The addition of a house plant within your bedroom is an excellent way to create a peaceful, yet also lively sanctuary. A rubber plant is great for adding interest and structure to an emptier room, whilst a ‘Million Flowers’ Anthurium will add a colourful touch to your bedroom’s window sill.

Indoor, Indoor Plants, Infographics, Plants, Scott

houseplant

Keeping house plants is a fun and rewarding hobby that can bring a host of benefits to you and your home. It may seem like there are lots of things to consider when starting out with indoor plants but actually, following a few simple rules will work wonders. Read on to discover our easy care guide.

Identify your house plant

The first thing you have to do is identify your plant. This should be made clear to you on purchase but for plants which are gifted to you or that you’ve inherited, the internet is going to be your best friend here. There are many plant ID apps that can recognise your plant from photos so this can be a quick and easy way to find a match. You can also communicate in online forums like the Houseplant section of Reddit to try and get an ID – this is also a great way of getting involved with a community of enthusiasts! 

Once you’ve successfully got the name of your house plant you can familiarise yourself with what it needs. There is a tonne of information out there to get lost in but you can focus on just two key things when setting up; light and water. Get these two elements right from the start and you’ll have a healthy and lush plant. 

Light

houseplant

All plants require light in order to kickstart photosynthesis. The process where sunlight is converted into sugars to aid the healthy growth of the plant. The main thing you need to concern yourself with is the amount of light that your house plant requires. A Yucca plant, for example, will love basking in bright sunlight for the majority of the day whereas some Calathea plants prefer to spend their days in the shade. 

We use terms like direct light, bright indirect and filtered light to describe the differences in light around our homes and this is your best indicator for where to place your plant. Take a look at the infographic below to see the typical breakdown of light levels

 

houseplant

 

Water 

Water is essential for a healthy plant and you’ll be glad to know that house plants are actually pretty good at telling us when they need water, we just need to know what to look out for.

houseplant

Check Your Soil

Your first and best way to see if your plant needs watering is to check the soil. Push your finger into the top layer of soil – what do you feel? If it’s still wet you can hold off watering; if it’s damp you can maybe top up with a little water; if it’s totally dry it will probably benefit from a drink. 

It’s much better to check your plants regularly and respond rather than watering to a strict schedule. Remember though that different plants will have different requirements. With a Snake plant its okay to let the top inch or so dry out completely between waterings but we shouldn’t do this with a Fern which should be kept relatively damp at all times. These distinctions will be made clear on the Primrose website when purchasing your plant. 

Check The Leaves

Other things to look out for are the activity of the leaves. If they are dry and curling at the edges this can be a sign of needing water. Some plants like the Peace Lilly will droop its leaves when in need of a drink and they’ll spring back up again once they’ve been watered! If your plant’s leaves begin to yellow and droop than this could be a sign of overwatering and you should hold off for a while to let it recover.   

Golden Rules Of Watering:

Here are just a few simple rules that will put you in good stead when watering your plants.

  1. Always check the top level of the soil to see if your plant needs watering again.
  2. Never let your plant sit in water. Allow water to run through the soil, out of the base of the pot and drain away before returning it to a display pot.
  3. Try and get close to the conditions of its natural environment; a cactus will want to be kept dry but a monstera can appreciate some moisture.
  4. Too little water is easier to deal with than too much water. Remember that it’s much quicker to kill a plant with over-watering than it is from forgetting to water occasionally.

If you are concerned about remembering to water your plants than you can always purchase a houseplant that can stand a little neglect. Many varieties such as the snake plant, yucca, aloe vera and more are pretty drought resistant, meaning they’ll forgive the times when we forget to water them and survive without too much help from us. 

Below are some other considerations that you can take into account when looking after your plant. These bits are good to know but remember, as long as you have the light and water right you and your plant will do just fine. 

Humidity

The easiest way to get the right humidity for your plant is to think of its natural environment. If it comes from dry desert locations then you’ll want to avoid placing it in a room where the air is full of water such as the bathroom. But if you have a plant that comes from tropical regions such as an orchid, then the bathroom can be ideal. Some plants like the monstera will prefer an increase in humidity only when temperatures begin to rise and this is easily addressed with a spray bottle of water.

Food

The majority of nutrients that your plant receives will be taken up from the soil they are potted in. It’s good to replenish this or give an extra boost during the growing seasons and one of the best ways to do this is with a plant feed. This is usually sold as a liquid fertilizer that can be diluted in water. It provides an extra hit of all the nutrients your plant needs and you’ll see the effects coming through in better-coloured leaves, more abundant flowers or extra spurts of new growth. Always follow the instructions when using fertiliser and remember that using it once in a while will have better results than using it constantly. 

Potting Up 

You’ll soon encounter the phrase “potting up” when you start keeping house plants. This simply means transferring your house plant from its current pot to a bigger one to give it extra room to grow into. You won’t have to do this very often. One of the obvious signs a plant may need potting up is if you find it “root bound” which simply means when the roots of the plant have run out of space and begun pushing out of the bottom of the pot. You may even take it out of the pot to see the roots have bound themselves into tight circles. 

 

Scott at PrimroseScott is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

Indoor, Indoor Plants, Scott

House Plant Inspiration

A number of studies are linking time spent in nature to better health and wellbeing. Our gardens are one of the easiest ways to get some quality time outside. If you live in a flat or within a city however you may find your own outside space lacking. One of the easiest ways to bring nature back into your home is with house plants. 

The trend for potting up nature has created a huge increase in the number of house plants available to us. There’s never been a better time to start keeping indoor plants, whatever your level of expertise. We’ve handpicked 3 of our best indoor plants for beginners so you can start bringing nature back into your home.  

Variegated Sansevieria

house plants - variegated snake plant

When shopping for house plants you quickly discover their many names. We can introduce our first plant as the Snake Plant, Saint Georges Sword, the Mother in Laws Tongue or its Latin name, Sanseveria. Whatever you decide to call it, there are plenty of reasons for having this as your go-to house plant.

  1. It’s (almost) impossible to get wrong. If you’re a serial plant killer than the snake plant is an excellent way of putting some house plant success on your record. They can survive in many different levels of light so can be placed anywhere in your home. They’re also very drought tolerant which means they’re very forgiving if you forget to water them. 
  2. They can help you sleep. They are one of the few house plants to give off oxygen primarily at night. This makes them well suited for bedrooms where the fresh oxygen can contribute towards a good nights sleep. NASA has even named them as one of the top air-purifying plants.  
  3. Beautiful leaves. Though there are many kinds of Sanseveria that have a variety of shapes and colours; what makes the leaves of these particular snake plants so attractive is their variegated leaves. Variegation is just a fancy way of describing the light and dark ripple patterns on the leaves. Variegated leaves add extra character to all sorts of plants but the snake plant remains one of our all-time favourites.   

Aloe Vera

house plants - aloe vera

Used in a variety of hand-gels, shampoos and cosmetic products, the Aloe Vera is a plant many of us will have heard of before. Aloe plants have a long history of being used as a traditional home remedy. Combined with how easy they are to grow this house plant is a sure winner for anyone starting out in keeping plants indoors.

  1. Easy to grow. The Aloe Vera is another hardy indoor plant which can get along just fine with little help from us. It’s a succulent so can store lots of water in its leaves, making it like the snake plant, fairly drought resistant. You can feel an aloe has plenty of water when the leaves maintain a firm but fleshy texture.  
  2. A home remedy. Few house plants can boast of being able to help you in as many ways as the aloe vera. It’s been used for everything from soothing minor cuts and burns to clearing up acne. And on top of all that, it joins the snake plant on NASA’s list of top air-purifying house plants!
  3. Interesting shape. Among succulents and among house plants generally, these plants have very distinctive foliage that can add a bold focal point wherever you place it. They make great companions for your sansevieria whose leaves follow a similar shape. 

Monstera Deliciosa

house plant

The humble Monstera Deliciosa is one of our best large house plants. With leaves that slowly unfurl and darken in colour, perforations that appear on each leaf and the far-reaching shape that can fill just about any space, you’ll find plenty of reasons for loving this most popular plant. 

  1. Unique foliage.  The leaves of the monstera are what makes this plant so recognisable. The distinctive holes earn it the nickname “swiss cheese plant” and it’s been a popular indoor plant for decades.   
  2. Easy to grow.  A monstera can quickly fill out any space. Its easily maintained and vigorous growth is one reason why its a favourite for decorating our interiors. They make great moving in gifts thanks to this and their traditional associations with good luck.   

Can be trained. The only thing better than a house plant is a house plant that can be styled. The fast growth of the monstera makes it easy to control the overall shape of your plant. Moss poles are usually used to direct growth upwards, otherwise, you can let nature run free and have leaves shooting in all directions. 

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Scott is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench.

Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

Container Gardening, Guest Posts, How To, Planters, Plants

When it comes to making the all-important house move, the prospect of parting with plants that have required your attention for years can leave you filled with dread. Whether you’re moving down the road or are packing up your belongings and taking them across the country, transporting both your rooted and potted plants can seem like a hassle that many aren’t able to commit to.

Courtesy of the packaging experts at R+R Packaging, we’re providing you with some simple tips right from the preparations phase through to settling your plants down into their new home. Considering the journey, lighting, storage and so much more, there are plenty of ways your plants can travel to your new destination if done in a contained and careful way.

packing up plants

Before the big move

First things first, before deciding to dig up your plants from their own home in the ground, it’s worth checking in with your removals company to see whether they accommodate plant removals. Due to their fragility and the, therefore, additional risk of damage, many companies choose not to move plants – particularly if there are quite a few that require relocating at the same time.

If they’re happy to do this, the next stage in preparing your plants for the big move is to ensure the conditions your plants are living in before they enter their unknown surroundings are stable enough to see them through to their new home. The end of autumn and beginning of spring are the best periods of time to make this move due to most shrubs being dormant. However, as with many house moves, if circumstances can’t accommodate this then make sure to give your plants plenty of shade a couple of days before their travels so that their dark journey doesn’t come as too much of a surprise.

Finally, just before the big move, repot your plants from their beautiful stone homes into more practical and resilient plastic pots to absorb any bumps your plants may encounter along the way.

On the day

As arguably the most fragile items on the removals van, place your plants in the vehicle last to avoid any snapped branches or bruised buds. By making sure your plants are properly packaged, you’ll eliminate the prospect of damage on their journey. Therefore, when getting your plants ready for their next adventure, make sure you carefully plan out where they’ll sit and inside what.

Another thing to bear in mind during your home (and plant) relocation is how well protected your individual plants are, not only from other boxes but from one another. For plants in plastic pots, curl hard paper funnels around their base up to the middle of the shrub for the best protection. Alternatively, for the large cherry tree you weren’t able to swap from clay pot to plastic, ensure you place plenty of damp newspaper around its stand, lining dry paper around it afterwards. Additionally, for small pots tightly packed together in one container, make sure you pop enough newspaper between each pot and line the base with paper to soak up any excess water that may have the potential to dampen and ruin your transporting container.

Settling in

Don’t let yourself be fooled when the removals van pulls into the drive and a glance into the box tells you your plants have survived – you still need to replant and repot them! For taller shrubs, lift the packaging box up and away from the plant instead of the other way round, this will reduce the risk of last-minute damage and will keep the flower stable for longer.

Like with any new home, once your plants have been placed into their surroundings don’t overwhelm them and give them time to settle in with a little drink and slight, gradual introductions to light.

moving soil

Don’t let the fear of moving your plants taint the excitement of creating a new base for both them and yourself in a new home. Unlike other moving preparations, don’t be afraid to leave your plants until the last minute. As long as they’re given the opportunity to adjust to changes of light and are fed in enough time between their move and their replanting, they’re sure to brighten up your new home no matter the seasonal conditions.

ElizabethElizabeth Raw works for R+R Packaging, providers of biodegradable and eco-friendly packaging materials for businesses within a wide variety of industries.