Air-purifying plants for the home
Plus, tips on how to keep them happy and healthy.
Singapore has billed itself as a ‘Garden City’ and the proof is truly in the canopy. Look up and you’ll see beautiful heritage trees, tropical giants, and lush foliage that keeps the edge off this concrete metropolis.
The pandemic has also lead to a recent indoor botanic boom in Singapore, with many welcoming plants of all shape and sizes into the home. Besides adding a lovely decorative touch to the home, plants also bestow a much-needed connection to the natural world.
As nature’s very own air purifiers, plants undertake the process of photosynthesis which converts carbon dioxide into oxygen while removing toxins from the air we breathe. That’s not all. Research has also shown that soil microorganisms found in potted plants also play a part in cleaning contaminated air.
Light and humidity is key
For those who struggle with cultivating a green thumb, remember that the science is simple – most indoor plants need light and humidity, though the extent of each element required differs across plants. Light is as crucial to plants as food is to animals. The process of photosynthesis doesn’t only purify the air for us, but it also converts light into sugar, thus providing plants with the energy they need to survive. Nearly all plants do best in bright, indirect light. So if you keep a plant in a bathroom that receives no light at all, consider moving the plant near a window for a few hours each day.
While some plants might survive without humidity, most plants, especially tropical plants that thrive in Singapore, will do best with added humidity. Learning how to add humidity to your home will provide you with a wider range of options when you’re curating a selection of house plants. While misting provides a temporary solution for humidity, take note that misting can also cause problems with leaves. Instead, placing your plant on top of something as simple as a pebble tray (a shallow dish filled with pebbles and water) can help to introduce humidity without damaging plants. This way, the soil drains well without being water-logged and any water collected in the tray evaporates into the air, adding much welcome humidity for the plant.
Plants for different parts of the home
Keeping in mind that various plants thrive best with exposure to varying levels of light and humidity, deciding where to position them in the home is key to their longevity.
Spaces receiving direct sunlight
Pros: Many houseplants do will in bright, indirect light. More windows equate more real estate for plants. Plus, bright light powers growth and bigger leaves.
Cons: Lots of light without added humidity can make the air drier, so be sure to check on the humidity levels of your plants.
Plants that thrive well here: Giant White Bird of Paradise, Ponytail Palm, String of Hearts, Zebra Cactus, Succulents.
Pros: Humidity levels are more robust as the lack of sunlight means that water evaporates more slowly.
Cons: Limited options for plants are available as light is essentially food for plants. There are some plants that will tolerate low light, but it doesn’t mean that they will thrive in low light.
Plants that can be placed here: Zanzibar Gem. Sansevieria species such as the Snake Plant.
Pros: When it comes to tropical plants, a humid space such as a bathroom keeps them very happy as it mimics their native setting.
Cons: Mildew and excess humidity might damage wooden furniture or doors. Good airflow and ventilation will help to keep such damages at bay.
Plants that thrive in humid environs: African Mask, Prayer Plant, Nerve Plant, Ferns, Air Plants.