Most people have at least one or two houseplants in their home. And most of us think that looking after them is pretty simple, a bit of water, a bit of sunlight, job done. The reality is that the plants we share our homes with are actually complex organisms with differing needs, and some of them are as needy as a pet. Learn about indoor plants-
You probably know that indoor plants bring health benefits, but the extent of them may surprise you. And the history of humans sharing their living spaces with plants is long and fascinating. So, without further ado, here are some things you should know about indoor plants.
Plants clean the air
While you may need to occasionally clean up after your plants, they do their fair share by cleaning the air in your home. Plants help purify air by removing carbon dioxide and other volatile compounds. Regular items around the house can produce these harmful substances in the air, such as cleaning products, paint, furniture and printers, and a study by NASA shows that houseplants can absorb these as part of the photosynthesis process. As many houseplants can thrive in low light conditions, they become more efficient at using the gasses in the air around them, including harmful ones. Even a small selection of plants can make a big difference.
Most of the plants found in domestic settings can survive in low light conditions, and this is because they originate from the tropics. Thriving beneath the canopies of dense forest and jungle means that they are well equipped to survive and flourish in your home or office. Keeping plants indoors is a practice with ancient origins – the ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Indian civilizations all used potted plants to decorate their courtyards and houses, and in the well-preserved ruins of Pompeii evidence of plants was found in homes. House plants gathered momentum in Europe in 17th Century England, when exotic plants were displayed in glass houses and were transported into homes.
Less (water) is sometimes more
Plants of all types need water, but some need less than others. Obviously, cacti don’t require a lot of water, but there are plenty of other species for which overwatering can be detrimental to their health. If you have overwatered your plant, don’t despair, as there are some steps you can take to save them – removing unhealthy roots, wrapping the plant, repotting or sorting out any drainage issues among others.
And if you’re worried about over watering then why not try using ice cubes instead of water? As the ice melts slowly it gives a less thirsty plant more time to absorb the water, as well as making it easy to calculate how much you’re giving it. It’s also a good tip for forgetful home gardeners.
Plants love treats
There are various treats and treatments you can give your indoor plants to benefit them in various ways. When fizzy water goes flat, don’t throw it out. It’s full of calcium, potassium, magnesium and more which gives your plants vital nutrients and minerals. This will make them grow fast and green.
Plants – especially those that like acidity – love green tea. Whether you pour steeped tea in (as you would water) or add tea leaves to the soil is up to you. Either way, tea will produce the acid that your plant wants. If you want to give your plant a good clean – yes, they benefit from cleaning as well – dab a cloth in mayonnaise and wipe the leaves – the oil makes them shiny and healthy-looking. Coffee, both brewed and fresh grounds again inject some acid into the soil. Of course, you’ll need to do some research to see what your plants like. Look online or ask at your garden center.
Growing plants and flowers (and having them indoors) became an obsession in Victorian Britain, partly due to the fact that many could now afford to heat their homes. The Victorians compiled massive lists of plants and ascribed meaning to each – they named this compulsion “floriography.” In the Victorian language of flowers, carefully cataloged, a flower could be used to send a secret message. The thorny rose began to symbolize romantic passion, while the quiet mimosa meant chastity or modesty.
Plants reduce stress
Studies have shown that offices with more plants in them also contain more productive and less stressed-out employees. As well as the benefits of cleaner air, it’s been proven that simply looking at a plant can boost mental wellbeing. The same can be said for indoor plants in the home – they create a good vibe and can even be used in the bathroom – lemongrass and eucalyptus give natural aromatherapy treatments in a steamy shower.
There’s more than meets the eye with indoor plants. There are health benefits, both physical and mental, interesting backstories and secret tips and tricks to keep your plants happy and healthy.