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The JOY of Houseplants

At this time of the year we eagerly anticipate a little more “green” in our lives. Yearning for the green of Spring to burst through the landscape. Unfortunately we have a bit longer before we see that day! One of the reasons I love having houseplants around is to brighten our home and my spirits. Don’t get me wrong there’s been frustrations over the years but overall they bring me so much JOY!

Right now, I have orchids blooming and a Christmas cactus that’s still giving me an occasional pink blossom! And having the green of my Golden Pothos’ long shoots climbing and clinging across the top of our picture window makes the room come alive!

Our home is small, so I need to reign in my desire to propagate plants. There is satisfaction in cutting off a spider plant baby, rooting it in some water, and starting a new plant. I’ve done this with Jade plants, Philodendrons and Begonias too. Some plants you can simply divide like Snake Plants and Chinese Evergreens. I digress.

Some tips I’ve learned over the years:

Don’t over water! Once a week is plenty. I like to be consistent and claim Thirsty Thursday as my watering day! Also each plant has it’s own “right amount” of water. Jade plants, succulents, and orchids only need a ¼ cup. The spider plants and leafier plants can take up to a cup. You will start to “read” your plants and see how they droop or perk up with the different amounts of water.

You don’t really need full sun!

Sunny windows are wonderful but not everyone has one. Daylight is key. Any window can maintain low light plants like Spider, Dragon Tree or Golden Pothos to name a few.

Healthy Perks

Mood Elevators Plants not only brighten up your surroundings, but they can lift your mood. Employees who work in offices with plants tend to feel better about their jobs, worry less, and take fewer sick days. Flowers in particular are a good pick-me-up. So liven up your area with a fresh bouquet and see if your outlook improves.

Stress Relievers Feeling the weight of daily pressures? Try and add a heart-leaf philodendron or a snake plant to your decor. It may help you relax. Several studies have measured people’s levels of blood pressure, heart rate, and the stress hormone cortisol while they handled a tough task or were under mental stress. Being around plants has a calming effect on people.

Moisture Makers Furnaces and air conditioners can zap humidity indoors, especially in the winter. That can raise your chances of catching a cold or the flu, or make your skin itch. Houseplants add moisture to the air. One study found a collection of spider plants boosted the relative humidity in a bedroom from 20% to a more comfortable 30%. Plants release roughly 97% of the water they take in.

Air Purifiers Carpets, paint, cleaners, printer toners and inks, and many other indoor objects give off pollutants. They can build up in the air and irritate your eyes and skin, worsen your asthma, or make it hard for you to breathe. Houseplants can soak up these pollutants. Some good air-scrubbers are: Golden pothos, English ivy, Chrysanthemum, Gerbera daisy, Bamboo palm, Red-edge dracaena and Snake plants.

Medicinal Plants Growing pots of herbs in a sunny kitchen window is ideal. Mint may help curb bloating, gas, and other problems after you eat. Common varieties you can grow in containers include peppermint and spearmint. Basil, another herb for cooking, also can help calm your stomach. Try steeping the leaves in hot water.

Aloe plants can be used for first aid. The gel from this plant is a popular home remedy. It can treat sunburns and other minor burns.

Restful Sleep Plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. That’s how they turn sunlight into food, a process called photosynthesis. Inhaling brings oxygen into our bodies, exhaling releases carbon dioxide. During photosynthesis, plants do the opposite. They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, making plants and people great partners when it comes to gasses. Plants help to increase oxygen levels, and our bodies appreciate that.

Speedy Recoveries Adding plants to hospital rooms speeds up the recovery rates of surgical patients. Studies show patients in rooms with plants request less pain medication, have lower heart rates and blood pressure, experience less fatigue and anxiety, and are released from the hospital sooner.

I did not realize all the health benefits of my houseplants until researching this article. So next time you’re out shopping and you see houseplants, check them out! Bring home some green JOY and all those healthy benefits along with them. Well worth a couple of bucks!


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