As much of the country prepares to move indoors for the winter, air quality becomes a concern. Air purifiers are expensive to run not only due to electrical needs but also due to the cost of filters. However, there are cheaper air purifiers available. They're houseplants, and there are ways to add these beneficial friends to your home without paying florists' prices.
"A single spider plant in a closed chamber containing formaldehyde can remove 85% of the pollutant within 24 hours," states Mary Desaulniers in her article "Houseplants for Better Sleep." Botanists believe that fifteen houseplants in the average home can greatly alter the air quality of the entire home. They remove carbons and other pollutants leaving us with fresh air to breath.
Plants which offer the best air purification include those broader leafy plants like philodendron, spider plants, schefflera, and snake plants. Not only are these healthy air plants but they're also low-maintenance plants with few pollens.
Plants can be expensive to acquire if you visit the florists or greenhouses. Some hanging houseplants can be over $30 and some even closer to $100. Instead, think small. The plants that best benefit the air are easily propagated and grow quickly. Buying a small spider plant is the first step towards a monstrous hanging plant in a few years. These plants fill their pots with roots, send shoots of "babies", and overgrow their living areas quickly. Philodendrons are also known for this.
Take advantage of these growing properties and place the plants in a well lit area and water them regularly. They'll thank you for it by cleaning your air and regenerating themselves.
By investing in one houseplant and nourishing it to abundance, you can create a jungle of plants in your home. Propagate your plants by dividing them into several pots and add one to each room of your home. The $30 houseplant now became five plants at $6 each.
Another idea is to have a plant party. Invite several of your floral friends to coffee and cake. Have each bring a few "babies" from their plants. Spider plant babies can be wrapped in a paper towel and transported in sandwich bags to the party. Philodendrons tendrils can be cut and wrapped similarly for transplanting. Other plants like aloe plants send separate baby plants that can easily be transplanted. Think of it like a cookie exchange. Each person brings many small plants of one variety and leaves with small plants of many varieties.
thank you for the suggestion
I will try this
my track record with plants has not been the best..
(sent in by email)
This is an excellent idea, but you should warn readers that some house plants are toxic/deadly to children and pets. Some are dieffenbachia (dumbcane) and philodendron (yes, it is!). For more information and a list of plants, a good website is
I know this is a problem because my cat became ill from just drinking the water in which I was growing my philodendron plant.
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