What does your home have in common with a spaceship?
The answer is that both environments are happier and healthier when the breathable air is clean. (Although, we’ll admit, it’s potentially more important on a spaceship: you can hardly open the window to let in more fresh air.)
In the late 1980s, US space agency NASA ran a clean air study which found that many common indoor plants could naturally ‘cleanse’ toxic agents emitted by everyday household items like computers, carpets, furniture and paintwork.
For example formaldehyde, which can be released by insulation, furniture and carpets containing foam, can be removed from the atmosphere by a number of common houseplants, including ivy, peace lilies and spider plants.
But as well as combating emissions, plants could help with your physical and mental health, too. Studies have suggested they can help lower blood pressure, improve wellbeing and increase attentiveness.
If you’re looking to put the finishing touches to your new Jelson home, which plants should you be considering?
1. If you want to sleep better
Think about putting a Sansevieria or ‘Mother In Law’s Tongue’ in the bedroom. The NASA study found it was very effective at removing toxins, and it also releases oxygen at night, helping you to breathe more easily. It’s also really easy to look after, so handy if you’re not an experienced gardener.
2. If you have pets
Sadly, many common houseplants are toxic to pets, but the popular Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is one you can safely keep around your dog. It’s also good defence against carbon monoxide.
3. If you suffer from dry skin
The beautiful Sword Fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata) is not only one of the best air purifying plants, it also creates a high level of humidity, adding moisture to the air and potentially helping ease headaches and combat dry skin.
4. If you want to combat mould
The Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) is a really versatile household plant with graceful and elegant white flowers and lustrous leaves. It’s also effective at removing mould spores from the air, so ideal in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms.
5. If you want a delicate fragrance
Flowering houseplants not only look wonderful but can smell gorgeous, too – a real tonic in any home. One of the best is Jasmine (Jasminium polyanthum). It generally blooms in early spring with delicately fragranced white, yellow or pink flowers.
Whether you’re new to houseplants or an expert, make sure you keep them appropriately watered and situated in the best position to encourage growth. Check out the Royal Horticultural Society’s website for more information.