Breathe EasyDory Otto
We are in the thick of what typically are the coldest days of a Minnesota winter. If you aren’t planning on visiting a warmer climate, you may be missing the color green. You know that color that the grass is during the spring, that color of tree canopies, and the color of vegetable and flowers plants? If so you are not alone.
Houseplants can boost your mood during a long winter and they can also improve your home’s air quality. You may not give it a thought, but the air inside our homes can contain a buildup of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Building materials, carpet, wood lacquers and varnishes, chemical-based cleaners, and more all give off formaldehyde gas. Benzene finds its way into our homes through paints, glues, plastics, and detergents. I don’t know about you but I don’t really like the thought of all that in my home!
Perhaps along with all of the countless other ways to improve your health in the New Year, cleaner air should be added to the list. Fortunately, this is a lot easier than exercising! It is as simple as buying some houseplants. Interestingly enough NASA has studied houseplants and their ability to clean air. They not only filter harmful things out of the air, but also produce oxygen.
So what plants are your best bets for improving the air in your home? If you are challenged in the green thumb department, relax! These are some of the easiest plants to maintain. Aloe is known for soothing burns and healing cuts, but it also helps take care of formaldehyde. Spider plants are notoriously hard to kill and lucky for us are strong against benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and more. One of best air filters is mother-in-law’s tongue…ironic…it clears the air of formaldehyde while happily growing in low light and humidity. Which works perfectly, since toilet paper, facial tissues, and other personal care products all give off the harmful gas. Another hard to kill plant that everyone seems to have at least seen is philodendron. While these thrive and are good air cleaners they are not pet and kid friendly, so use caution. The peace lily got the highest marks from NASA for removing formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. These plants also like shade, so our short winter days are no problem.
The quality of our air is certainly easy to put in the out of sight out of mind category, but as many of us look for ways to live healthier, houseplants can be a surprisingly easy tool. And I’m convinced there is some mental benefits as well to having some of that glorious, growing, green in the cold months. The hardest part may be transporting them safely from the store to your home on these chilly days.
Make a trip to the Bachman’s on Lyndale in Minneapolis. Why there? Well, they have a vast selection of plants and gorgeous containers to put them in. They have knowledgeable staff that can assist with getting the above mentioned plants into the proper soil and size container. Better yet, the store is like a big green house with warm humid air that will make your pores happy. Best of all, there is a little restaurant inside with patio seating. Have a fresh pastry, purchase some plants and leave refreshed! Sounds like a good plan for the weekend!