Ode to the Houseplant

Even those who profess to have a “black thumb” can typically keep a houseplant or two alive. And now there’s even more reason to add some houseplants to your home or office.

More and more research is pointing to the houseplant as an indoor air purifier, ridding the indoors of dust and contaminants, such as paint, cigarette smoke and furniture, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. The article reports people spend 90 percent of their time indoors, where higher levels of pollutants and less ventilation can lead to headaches, asthma and respiratory issues.

In one study , researchers found, “Potted plants can provide an efficient, self-regulating, low-cost, sustainable bioremediation system for indoor air pollution.” Also reported in the WSJ, “in another study at Washington State University, dust was reduced as much as 20 percent when a number of plants were placed around the perimeter of a computer lab and small office for one week.”

Some common indoor plants used in various tests are English ivy, mother-in-law’s tongue, peace lily and devil’s ivy.

If you need more ideas for types of indoor plants and how to display them, check out our December episode of Down & Dirty with Gardener Jim Martin all about houseplants.

Do you have plants indoors either at home or in your office? Which are your favorites?

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