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Houseplants Add to Décor, Air Quality

Jim Hill

As it turns out – indoor houseplants do much more than just sprucing up a room’s décor.

Our houseplants get a lot more care as the days get shorter and colder. We have groups of plants in about every room.

Houseplants add to the décor. We mix sizes and types of plants just like in an outdoor landscape bed. A tall fig is the back drop to shorter Norfolk Pine and Christmas cactus.

The different shaped leaves attract the eye. They add the texture to the indoor garden. Different colored leaves add contrast. Variegated leaves stand out from deep green foliage.

The containers are part of the decoration, too. Sizes and shapes set off the plants. Container collections are as important as furniture selections. Interior-scaping is an art form that can calm clients and creates a corporate or household image.

As much as houseplants add to interior decorating they also add to indoor air quality. Live indoor plants reduce the amounts of toxic air pollutants.

A couple of pollutants found inside of building are benzene and formaldehyde. Benzene is the result of paints and plastics in our homes. Formaldehyde is given off of pressed wood products, prolific plastic bags and from natural gas. Reaction to these pollutants varies from person to person.

Studies show that having one plant in a six inch or larger container can reduce indoor pollutants. Obviously larger and more plants will improve interior air quality.

Studies also have found some plants do more than others. Fig, spider plant, peace lily and philodendron are efficient air cleaners. Bamboo and dracaena, which is often sold as Lucky Bamboo, also improve air quality.

Another study determined it wasn’t just the plants cleaning the air. This study measured how much pollutants were reduced by the micro-organisms in the potted plant soil. The study found the micro-organisms took pollutants out of the air as they also processed nutrients important to plant health.

Houseplants freshens the air inside our buildings and homes. But we also need some dirt inside too.

Tom has been offering garden advice on KUNC for almost two decades. During that time he has been the wholesale sales manager at Ft. Collins Nursery, Inc. Since January of 2005 he has been the owner and operator of Throgmorton Plant Management, LLC., a landscape installation and maintenance company as well as a horticultural consulting firm. He lives in northern Ft. Collins with his wife and two kids.
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