Houseplants are not merely decorations that make your house more beautiful to the eyes; they are living organisms that help improve the air you breathe inside your home. Each time you bring home a new furnishing, you introduce new chemicals used to manufacture them. These chemicals cling to the air inside your house; they can contaminate the air and may cause irritations to your respiratory tract, headache, sinus congestion, and fatigue. Keeping a number of houseplants is a good way to create a healthy living environment for you and your family.


In a study conducted by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) in the late 1980’s, researchers demonstrated that common houseplants such as bamboo palms and Boston Ferns help purify air. Besides giving you healthier air to breathe, they also add color and accent to the interior design of your home. Scent is another important factor to consider. Some houseplants have a sweet smell that eliminates bad odors coming from the kitchen and bathroom.


Below are some examples of Houseplants that you might want to add to your home:


SNAKE PLANT (Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii)


If you’re a busy person or you’re just not into tending plants regularly, the snake plant is for you. This carefree, succulent plant can survives for a long time without water. All types withstand low light, but appreciate brighter conditions. The only problem likely to develop is root rot (if you overwater the plant).


SCARLET STAR (Guzmania lingulata)


The Scarlet Star is a very showy bromeliad with a large star shaped “flowerhead.” The flower spikes are made of bracts that are generally vibrant shades of orange and red. Natives of the South American rainforests, bromeliads need very little root space, so they do not need large pots. If you have one that is not flowering, keep it very warm in the spring and water sparingly.


BOSTON FERN (Nephrolepsis exaltata)


The Boston fern is the most popular of the fern species that originated in Central America and became a favorite in the parlors and porches of North America during the Victorian era. Long, arching fronds densely covered with leaflets– called pinnae–make this lush, graceful house plant ideal for a pedestal or a hanging basket.



PHILANDRON (Hilodendron hederaceum oxycardium)


The Heart-Leaf philodendron is a durable foliage plant that has long been a staple of indoor gardening. It has attractive, heart-shape leaves and adapts well to low-lighted environments. It is often grown with stems trailing over the edge of bookshelves or large pieces of furniture. The climbing stems can attach to a moss pole or bark slab, making it easy to create an upright tower of green.



CHINESE EVERGREEN (Aglaonema hybrids)


A member of the Aroid family (Araceae), the Chinese evergreen is a hybrid of parents originally from the subtropical forests of Southeast Asia. A very adaptable plant, it tolerates low light and dry air better than most other house plants. One thing it doesn’t like is cold air. Its large, pointed, dark-green leaves are 6-10 inches (15-25 cm) long, 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide, and heavily marbled with white, cream, or silver and white.


More on excellent houseplant choices in an upcoming post!