7 Tips to Green your Houseplants
Houseplants, besides being a relaxing hobby and providing beautiful aesthetics to your home, can also help reduce indoor air-pollution, which is ranked as one of the top five health threats in America.
✔ Choose low-water, low-light houseplants – By choosing low- water, low-light houseplants, you will not only save water, but you will increase the likelihood your plants will live longer. One of the most common reasons that houseplants die is because people forget to water them. Some of the most common low-water plants include the ponytail palm, china aster, potted marigold, globe thistle, ivy-leaved geranium, natal palm and the blue marguerite daisy. Another common mistake people make is to place a plant which requires direct sunlight in a part of the house with either no direct or just partial sunshine. This is usually because either the plant ‘looks good’ where you put it, or you have just not paid close attention to the care instructions that come with most plants.
✔ Be aware that some plants are poisonous – Some common houseplants can be poisonous if ingested. Families with small children and pets (especially birds) should be aware of this. Some of the more common poisonous house plants are philodendron, english ivy (hedera helix), dieffenbachia or dumb cane, hydrangea, elephant’s ears, bird of paradise (musaceae), pothos (epipremnum aureum), peace lily (spathiphyllum), chrysanthemums (xmorifolium), mistletoe (phoradendron flavescens), amaryllis (hippeastrum), aloe vera (aloe barbadensis), and umbrella plant (schefflera).
✔ Instead of giving flowers, give a houseplant – The next time you pick up the phone to order flowers, consider giving a houseplant instead. Houseplants will not only be with them longer, they could help to improve their indoor air quality.
✔ Water your plants with water you would usually discard – By using water that would otherwise be wasted to water your plants, you can conserve water.
- Collect rainwater – It is possible to collect rainwater either in buckets outside, or by installing a rain barrel. In addition, you could place your plants outside when it rains.
- Half-finished glasses of water – Rather than emptying these into the sink, use them to water your plants. This type of water is ideal for plants because the longer water has been exposed to the air (after coming out of your tap), the more chlorine and other elements often found in tap water, have had a chance to evaporate.
- Water used in food preparation – Whether it is water used to clean your vegetables, water used to boil eggs, or even leftover coffee or tea (although dilute these a bit to prevent the growth of fungi or mold), this water is perfectly fine to be used to water your plants.
✔ Use a soil moisture detection device – These devices are widely available and can help you determine how much moisture is present in the soil. This will help you avoid over- and under-watering your plants. Over-watering plants can result in mold growth, which can be harmful to your health.
✔ Use natural fertilizers – Try to use natural indoor plant fertilizers as opposed to those made of chemicals. By using natural fertilizers you can avoid killing your plants if the concentration of chemical- based fertilizers is too high.
✔ Choose houseplants that clean the air – All houseplants improve the quality of indoor air, since they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. They also remove pollutants and dust particles released from our stoves and furnaces. Some are particularly effective at purifying indoor air because they absorb pollutants. These are some of the most effective: lady palm, spider plant, dwarf date palm, bamboo palm, sword fern, areca palm, blue daisy, american rubber plant, boston fern, and the blue-eyed daisy.