I’m not a knick-knack person or a collector, but I could be considered a plant hoarder. I love houseplants. I love outdoor plants. I just love plants and the kids do too.
What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Houseplants are awesome for your home. Plants remove toxins from air – up to 87 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every 24 hours, according to NASA research. Plants help you breath easier. When you breathe, your body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Plants are a natural humidifier. As part of the photosynthetic and respiratory processes, plants release moisture vapor, which increases the humidity of the air around them. The Dutch Product Board for Horticulture commissioned a workplace study that discovered that adding plants to office settings decreases fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats and flu-like symptoms. In another study by the Agricultural University of Norway, sickness rates fell by more than 60 percent in offices with plants. So you need a houseplant on your desk. Most studies show that one houseplant per 100 square feet of your homes will purify your air, improve health and reduce fatigue and stress.
Most plants are pretty awesome at cleaning the toxins out of your home, but a few are poisonous to children and animals. In fact, my favorites Philodendrons and Peace Lillies are mildly toxic to humans. So both are up high out of children’s reach. Hanging Basket Holders are another inexpensive adorable and an easy way to keep the beautiful poisonous plants out of harms way. One of my favorite fellow mommy bloggers just did the sweetest shelf tutorial that would work well with houseplants too.
Houseplant Safety Tips:
- Keep plants high and out of reach or in rooms where children and pets are not allowed.
- Label pots with the plant name and whether or not it is toxic.
- Wear gloves while handling and wash hands immediately after handling plants that could irritate skin or eyes.
- Don’t discard plant clippings where they can be easily accessed by a child.
- Teach children not to touch plants.
- Keep potting soils and fertilizers out of reach.
- Monitor plants for insects.
- Check pots and soil regularly for mold and mildew
- Replace broken or cracked pots. This is especially important for plastic pots that have been outside in the elements.
- Make sure hanging baskets are sturdy enough to support the weight of the plant.
- Don’t place vining plants where the tendrils are in reach. A child or pet could pull the plant from the shelf by tugging.
- Make sure plant shelves and ceiling hooks are strong enough to support the plant.
- Always keep fresh water for pets so that they aren’t tempted to drink from plant trays. Toxins can leach into the water.
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Safe Plants for Young Children
Boston Ferns remove more formaldehyde than any other plant. They’re also highly efficient at removing other indoor air pollutants, such as benzene and xylene—components of gasoline exhaust that can migrate indoors if you have an attached garage. The downside to these plants is that they can be finicky. You need to feed them weekly in seasons when they’re growing, monthly during the winter, and they like to be watered regularly. Depending on the humidity and moisture levels in your home, you may need to water them or mist their leaves daily.
Scientific research shows that bromeliads can improve indoor air quality after business hours. While most common indoor plants purify the air during the day, bromeliads release oxygen and remove air pollutants during the night. The Plants for Clean Air Council suggests that when combined with foliage plants, bromeliads can help provide around-the-clock indoor air purification. For an easy & free bromeliad, take the top of a pineapple and plant it!
The Spider Plant requires natural light but shouldn’t be exposed directly to the sun. It thrives in moist environments with bi-weekly watering and grows at impressive speeds. Owners prefer to place these plants near the fireplace and kitchen where carbon monoxide may build.
Having herbs indoors can help to eliminate almost 90% of volatile organic compounds from the air in your home. These compounds (commonly known as VOCs) are toxic and can cause a range of different health problems. Herbs are easy to grow and inexpensive. And having fresh herbs always on hand for cooking is awesome.
The African violet is a popular houseplant that grows and flowers under light conditions found in the average home or under artificial light. Many different varieties, types, and flower colors exist.
The Aloe Vera plant is incredibly easy to grow and maintain, and like many of its counterparts is wonderful for filtering out air pollutants and toxins. We also live by the ocean, so someone is always sun burned and in need of cooling aloe.
Additional plant safety tips can be found here.