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In addition to adding natural beauty, plants are ideal house companions because of their many air purifying qualities. With the amount of time the average North America spends indoors, particularly those who brave harsh winters, indoor air quality is top of mind and adding plants are a great way to make your time indoors happier and healthier.
Plants and flowers are also known to bring us joy, and we often associate them with an uplifting feeling – probably the reason we surround ourselves with them at weddings and send them when we want our friends and family to feel better. Living things turn your house into a home, and there are enormous emotional benefits to caring for and watching your little green friends grow and thrive.
If you’re convinced you can’t keep a plant alive to save your life, give these mostly low-maintenance picks a look to find one that suites your space and lifestyle.
This tough little plant indigenous to Africa is a must have in any household. In addition to needing very little care (simply turn it occasionally to ensure even sunlight and let the soil dry out between watering) the mucus-like substance inside the leaves is an excellent cure to minor burns, common skin irritations and is enormously beneficial when ingested. Try adding the leaf to smoothies or a pitcher of water.
Mint leaves give off a wonderful smell and easily live all year long, even in colder weather. In addition to being resilient and growing at a large rate, mint can also be used in many recipes. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and opt for a pot that’s wide rather than deep to give the mint room to spread out.
The ultimate in low maintenance, dried lavender flowers can keep for up to year and require no – you heard us – no care whatsoever. Smelling absolutely delicious they are a great plant to keep by your bed, as lavender is known to encourage peaceful sleep. Add a stick of dried lavender as garnish in your favorite cocktail to earn the title of most creative host.
Major trend alert – cacti are popping up everywhere from fashion to home décor right now, but nothing beats having the real thing as an accent in your home. A large cactus can run you a couple hundred dollars, due mainly to the slowness of their growth (up to 20 years to get to full size!), however smaller cacti are available in a number of varieties. Needing very little water to survive, these low maintenance plants are perfect for first-time plant parents and condo living.
Ferns can be a bit high maintenance, but are well worth it. The Boston Fern especially is the most effective plant for removing airborne toxins. Keep in a cool place with moist air and sunlight and keep the soil damp constantly. Soaking once a month is a great way to ensure this fern gets the water it needs, as well as lightly misting once or twice a week to get it the humidity it needs.
You can recognize the snake plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue from its long, pointed, upright leaves that are green and sometimes yellow in color. This low maintenance plant will happily be ignored for weeks without holding it against you. A great plant to keep in your bedroom, as it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen at night, the opposite of most plants. Keep these guys high up however, as they can cause stomach aches if ingested by pets.
Studies have found that English Ivy reduces airborne particles and filters out formaldehyde found in some household cleaning products. Keep it well watered and give it plenty of natural light, as it requires evenly moist soil and cool, moist air to flourish. For those with sensitive skin, it’s best to use gloves when pruning this fast-growing plant.
Golden Pothos are great bathroom or office plants, as they require very little sunlight and thrive in humid environments. They are attractive, durable and have smooth, leathery heart shaped leaves with distinctive marbling. Keep the soil moist and keep them out of reach of pets as they can cause stomach aches.
With its oversized, rubbery leaves the fig leaf tree has become the “it” plant of the design world, spotted in some of our favorite Instagram posts. Keep in indirect sunlight as often as possible and water when the top inch of soil dries out. When the roots begin to grow out of the bottom of the pot, you can trim the root ball slightly if you don’t want to repot it. To clean the leaves, which can get dusty due to their size, simply wipe with a soft cloth.
Got a plant that’s in need of some TLC or not sure where to even begin caring for your new plants? Check out our Guide to Growing Happy and Healthy Houseplants