Houseplants: They're Not Just for Show

Many gardeners have houseplants during the winter to bginr a little bit of the outdoors in, and some green into an otherwise gray and white environment.  But did you know that having houseplants in your home can actually improve your health?  Here are a few reasons you should have houseplants:

Plants are Cold-Fighters: According to MastersinHealthCare.com, indoor plants reduce cold-related illnesses by more than 30% due to the fact that they increase humidity while decreasing levels of dust inthe air.

Plants can remove airborne contaminants while also reducing the levels of carbon dioxide: During the process of photosynthesis, plants draw in carbon dioxide from the air and then release oxygen.  By drawing in the carbon dioxide in your home, plants are not only removing CO2 which can help prevent drowsiness, but also purify your air.  Indoor plants remove VOCs that cause headaches, nausea and more. It can also be found that indoor plants, such as a Peace Lily, can help remove airborne chemicals from cigarette smoke and negate the effects they have on people.  

Houseplants Make You Happy: According to Masters in Healthcare.com, it has been found that houseplants can contribute to a feeling of well-being, and make you calmer and more optimistic. There have been studies performed that have shown recovering patients who face a garden view in their hospital rooms often recuperate more quickly than those facing a wall.

Plants help your brain work better & aid your mental health: Not only can potted plants improve your ideas and mood, but caring for a living thing can help when you're depressed and lonely. Winter is a time when many struggle with depression because of the lack of sun and the cold, so now is the perfect time to incorporate plants into your home. 

Plants & Allergies: While many people fight allergens like mold and pollen, bringing a plant into your home can help prevent your kids from having allergies.  Exposing them to these allergerns early on in life will help them build a tolerance and immunity to them.

Plants are natural humidifiers: During the winter, when your furnace is pumping dry air into your home, having plants around can help add humidity to the air. Instead of buying a humidifier machine to soften the airm just bring in a plant or two.

Houseplants & Pets: Many people are hesitant to have houseplants because of their pets. Many plants can be toxic to cats and dogs if ingested, but there are ways to prevent this and plenty of plants to choose from that are not poisonous.

First, keep any houseplants out of your pets' reach. Positioning the plants on a high, inaccessible window ledge or on top of tall furniture works, while hanging baskets are another option.  Tall plant stands can be another option as well, just be sure they're sturdy enough to not get knocked over.

If you have a problem of pets knocking over your plants and spilling soil over your carpet, try growing plants that do not require a lot of soil. This includes succulents, cacti, bamboo and tillandsia (air plant) that do not require a lot, if any, soil to grow.

Much like with the rabbits in your garden outside, you can coat houseplants with a deterrent that will keep your furry friend from nibbling on it. Not only do some of the same rabbit repelling sprays work, but pet stores also sell sprays like "Bitter Apple" that will deter a pet from going for a plant. Again, much like with rabbits, you may have to apply the spray more than once to keep the pets away.

A lot of people plant marigolds to help avoid dealing with rabbits altogether, and if you like this method, then grow houseplants specifically for your pets.  If you have a cat that loves to get into your plants, be sure that you're growing plants that are okay for them to eat. Plants like catnip, cat grass and mint are three options that can be easily grown indoors, just for your cat.  In fact, if you have these around, other plants may appear unappealing to your cat.

If none of these methods work, try growing non-toxic houseplants. A great resource for finding out if any plant is poisonous is the ASPCA website.  Some of the most common houseplants are surprisingly toxic for your best friend. Here are some you want to avoid: Aloe Vera, Antherium, Begonia, Calla Lily, Chinese Evergreen, Corn Plant, Croton, Oxalis, Peace Lily, Philodendron, Sago Palm, Dieffenbachia, Geranium, Ivy, Jade, Mother-in-Laws Tongue, Norfolk Island Pine, Pothos and Schefflera.

All houseplants are not bad, however. Here's a list of the non-toxic plants for cats and dogs: African Violets, Bamboo, Boston Ferns, Button Ferns, Hens & Chicks, Blue Echeveria, Areca Palm, Lamb's Tail, Christmas Cactus, Neanthebella Palm, Pearl Plant, Pony Tail Palm and Spider Plant.

When in doubt, be sure to check your plants' toxicity on the ASPCA website or call your vet for information if your pet has already ingested the plant.

With a little bit of planning, you and your pets can enjoy the beauty and health benefits of having houseplants in your home.


Christian Goers