I have always loved herbs- they were the first plants I grew when I was a child (oregano and thyme, growing them is child’s play, you should buy your child/mokopuna a pot of oregano!)
But I have another plant passion and that is house plants (my first was a cast iron plant). For the last 10 years that passion took a backseat, from when I had to give away my 60+ plant collection to friends when we moved from Wellington to Picton (we were going to live on a boat~ I really couldn’t keep them!). Thereafter we just moved around so much and had young children with fiddle faddle hands – there has never been much appeal to start the collection again…
And then along came kokedama… and me oh my, how I’m kicking myself for letting go of those plants! But nothing like starting afresh eh.
So let’s talk about indoor plants for a spell then we’ll get back to kokedama..
Herbs are wonderful plants with a variety of features that make them useful and beneficial for humans (and animals). From gladdening your heart with their scent (I’m looking at you pineapple sage) or taste (basil), to their bittering principles (hello dandelion) and healing properties (all of you).
It’s my real belief though that indoor plants can be placed on the plant healing spectrum too. This plant healing spectrum below is of my own making, therefore it’s purely my opinion, you’re free to agree or disagree!
You perhaps have heard of certain plants that help with air purification in the home or office?
There’s a surprising amount of toxins in our indoor air, coming from our furniture, plastics, cleaners, cosmetics etc. there are certain plants that do a particularly swell job of absorbing these pollutants, filtering them through their leave s as they respire.
NASA did a whole lot of research on the subject and they actually examined the levels of various toxic chemicals in the air that could be reduced by indoor plants. Chemicals like, benzene, xylene, toluene and formaldehyde. You can see their results here.
Possibly more relevant for office spaces (and space stations) and/or poorly ventilated buildings than our homes that have doors and windows opening letting in outdoor air..
But how’s this, there are some plants that actually work their photosynthesis magic (turning carbon dioxide into nutrients for themselves and oxygen for us, using the sun’s energy) at night! It’s called CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism) photosynthesis. Want a more relaxed, sleep conducive atmosphere? Put these plants in your bedroom…
- Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis)
- Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis spp.)
- Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)
- Air plants (Tillandsia spp.)
- Zebra cactus (Haworthia fasciata)
- ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
(Take note of those botanical names in italics, there are many plants with different common names, for example you may of never heard of a Mother-in-law’s tongue but you do know what a snake plant is- they’re the same thing).
For more science-y information go here to Plant Life Balance; they also have beautiful pictures for your eyes to inspire you to have many plants in your home (I’ve used a lot of their images on this post).. You’ve been warned!
The other health benefit of house plants, mindfulness and wellbeing. Studies have shown that plants in indoor spaces boost mental wellbeing. After spending time living and working alongside plants, those taking part in the studies found that, on average;
- Their mood levels improved
- They felt less stressed
- They felt more productive
- Their attention span improved (in some studies)
Even just one plant in a room can make a difference to the feel (and look) of a place. Here’s our (in need of repair) bathroom as an example!
Lots of people have a fear (fact based or otherwise!) of killing house plants. Perhaps in the past (or right now) you’ve gotten the right plant but in the wrong place. A lot of indoor plants don’t appreciate direct sunlight for instance.
I used to be store manager at Ambience in Mt Victoria, Wellington. We specialised in unique and unusual indoor plants- I learnt a lot there. the owner Nicola Byrne was/is so knowledgeable and generous to boot. Not only did I learn from Nic but also the customers and I learnt that a super common mistake by those whom really want plants but keep on killing them – kill by love.
YOU CAN OVER WATER A PLANT! A more common mistake than clear neglect. Browning on the tips of leaves can be a sign that your plant is getting too much water. Some good advice can be found at this website Plants are Alive.
Most indoor plants come with light and watering requirements on their label, if in doubt ask the person that you’re buying the plant from. (Which could be me soon, once I get stock levels up~).
Right, I think kokedama can wait for its own post. I’m going to be doing a workshop on how to make them for our homeschool group in a couple of weeks, by then I would’ve had a lot more practise!