Bring the outside in. Houseplants may have been Instagram’s domestic darling in recent years—there’s more than 5 million posts tagged #houseplants—but the value of having living plants indoors is nothing new.
“People have been growing plants indoors for thousands of years,” says Anuella Alexandre, founder of A Green Community and Green Goddess Diary. “I think this behavior is indicative of our close relationship with nature throughout time. A houseplant is an air filter, mood booster, decoration, spectator, and teacher all in one.”
Susan Lewis, in-house floral designer at Hive Palm Beach, agrees. “Indoor plants enhance the overall appearance of a space,” she says. “They are the finishing touches to interior decor and add life to a sterile space. Plus, they help clean the air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity, and producing oxygen. They boost your mood and reduce stress.”
The ancient Chinese grew plants indoors for ornamental purposes and as symbols of wealth as early as 1000 BC. Today houseplants are more staple than status symbol but still require devotion of time and attention to thrive—and some species are pickier than others. From fiddle-leaf figs to monsteras, different plants survive best in different spaces, with variance in preferred type of light, temperature, and level of humidity and soil moisture.
Is the extra work worth it when you could just step outside for a dose of green? In this era of clean-air awareness, it’s reassuring to know that indoor plants work for our benefit, replenishing our oxygen. In fact, a NASA experiment on houseplants found that a simple Gerber daisy removed 67.7 percent of benzene from a sealed air chamber over a 24-hour period.
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ZZ Plant is native to semi-arid Eastern Africa, so it doesn’t require much water or attention, yet produces attractive green leaves to brighten up any space.
Peace Lily can survive without much water or light and produce a white leafy flower to add a touch of elegance to your home.
Pothos don’t mind a little neglect. And since they can tolerate low lighting conditions and a vast range of environments, they make for ideal home or office companions.
Snake Plant is sturdy, tolerant of low light, and prefers to remain on the drier side—in other words, foolproof.
Succulents require minimal attention. Water sparingly a couple times a month, place in a sunny windowsill, and enjoy.
Text by Skye Sherman