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plants & Air purification

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Plants as air purifiers.

On average people spend over 80% of their time indoors, living in a subarctic climate this number can be even higher in the winter.

Did you know that indoor air pollution is up to 5X worse than outdoor?

Harmful chemicals, called VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are being emitted into our air from common household items such as furniture, carpet, vinyl flooring, wall paint, paper towels, napkins, cleaning products, and the list goes on! Exposure to these compounds can make you ill and lead to a variety of health problems, including irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat, frequent headaches, nausea and dizziness. Over time, VOC exposure may increase your risk of cancer.

Now for the good news, Scientists at NASA found that indoor plants absorb these harmful chemicals! Yes, not only do plants make you fresh oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide they also help absorb VOCs from the air. In a study using 50 common houseplants NASA found that certain plants can absorb different compounds better than others. They released a list (view here) of all the plants and what compounds they were found to absorb.


Plants from NASA’s study we love.

Here are a few of the top air purification plants most of which we stock regularly in our shop:

  • Peace lily

  • Snake plant

  • Draceana

  • Pothos ‘golden’

  • Philodendron cordatum

  • Ficus decora ‘burgundy’

  • Areca Palm

  • Spider plant

  • English ivy

  • Aloe Vera

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It’s what’s inside that counts.

Your plants work hard to absorb VOC's through their foliage but did you know that so does the soil? NASA researchers found that micro-organisms in soil play an important role in breaking down VOC’s. When choosing pots for your air purifying plants opt for un-glazed terracotta or ceramic pots, this is critical for air exchange and allows both your pot and plant to help purify your air!

Lastly, add charcoal to the soil. Charcoal helps to amp up absorption and ‘capture’ of harmful compounds.


Some things to keep in mind.

Size matters.

When choosing plants for an average 10’x10’ bedroom try to pick size appropriate plants. We recommend 3-4 6”-8” pots and 1-2 10” pots per room.

Clean your leaves.

Plants will appreciate this! Place them in the shower or wipe weekly with a damp cloth. This will allow for better photosynthesis and air exchange.

You have to like it.

Despite all this information, pick plants that you love, after all you will be the one caring for and looking at your plants daily.


Plant Care

Pothos 'Satin'

Lush, vining and easy to care for!

Care: If you are after the lush, jungle look then this is your plant!  'Satin' variety has incredible matte-like leaves resembling velvet. Native to South America, love humidity but forgiving if you forget an occasional watering. Allow first inch of topsoil to dry out between waterings.

Light: Indirect Bright-Medium. Adapts to lower light conditions.

Level: Beginner

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Monstera Deliciosa

Care: A shop favourite! Popular in the 70s this beauty is a blast from the past. A great feature plant, it's sure to please with it's dark green foliage and whimsical, long tendril like stems.  Fast growing, and naturally vining. These plants can handle a bit of neglect and like to dry out between waterings.

Light: Indirect, medium-bright light.

Level: Beginner

 

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Staghorn Fern

A beautiful plant with fronds in the shape of stag horns. In their natural habitat you can find them living in trees along side bromeliads.

Care: An epiphytic fern. This fuzzy-leafed beauty can be left potted or mounted on the wall.  They love lots of air flow and prefer humid air. Mist this beauty as it absorbs moisture through both it's roots and fronds. Allow to dry out slightly between waterings.

Light: Indirect/bright, filtered light.

Level: Intermediate

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Alocasia

Common Names: African Mask, Elephant Ear

Care: A striking, large leafed plant, foliage can grow up to 24 inches long! This dramatic-looking beauty needs a bit more of your attention.  Prefers room-temperature and hotter and does not like cool/drafty areas. Loves humidity but do allow soil to dry between waterings. Perfect for a bright bathroom.

Light: Indirect/bright, no direct light ( such as south facing ) as leaves will burn.

Level: Intermediate

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Zamioculcas

A favorite beginner plant! Bright, glossy, green leaves.

Care: This beauty is native to Africa and doesn't mind if you forget an occasional watering. Likes to spread its branches out and will grow to approx. 5 feet in both height and width. Likes to be kept on the dry side. Allow first 2-3 inches of topsoil to dry out between waterings.

Light: Bright-Medium. Adapts to lower light conditions.

Level: Beginner

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Calathea 'medallion'

Painted-like foliage with pink undersides make this a stunning addition to any plant collection. Calathea's love humidity and should be placed in a bathroom or a room with a humidifier. Leaves will dry and turn brown if kept in a low humididty space.

Care: Water regularly, keep moist but not saturated. Do not allow to dry out.

Light: Prefers indirect medium/low light. East or bright north facing window is best.

Level: Intermediate

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Birdsnest Fern

Care: An epiphytic fern. This glossy-leafed beauty can be left potted or mounted on the wall (similar to a staghorn fern). Perfect for a room which receives less light or a shaded corner. Prefer humid air. Allow to dry between waterings.

Light: Indirect/shaded, medium-low light.

Level: Beginner

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Pothos 'Moonlight'

Bright, lemon-lime color foliage.

Lush, vining and easy to care for!

Care: If you are after the lush, jungle look then this is your plant!  'Moonlight' variety has semi-gloss, bright leaves. Native to South America, it loves humidity but forgiving if you forget an occasional watering. Allow first inch of topsoil to dry out between waterings.

Light: Indirect Bright-Medium. Adapts to lower light conditions.

Level: Beginner

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Sansevieria

Common names: snake plant, mother-in-law's tongue.

A perfect starter plant, Sansevierias are low maintenance houseplants that are very good air purifiers, removing toxins such as formaldehyde, xylene and toluene form the air.

Care:Water moderately in spring/summer and less in fall/winter. Can dry out for 2 weeks.

Light: Prefers brightbut will do well in medium-low light. East, west or bright north facing window is best.

Level: Beginner

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tradescantia 'tricolor'

A beautiful, trailing plant with striking variegated soft pink, fuchsia , cream and green leaves. Easy care, likes Bright to Medium light (south/west facing window is best). Can dry out a little in between watering. This makes a wonderful sharing plant as it's a vigorous grower and easy to propagate!