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I can hear your thoughts now… What do houseplants have to do with tennis? And the truth of the matter is – nothing. But they do offer tennis players a beautiful way to stay healthy during cold and flu season — and all the seasons in between! And the less time we spend sick means, the more time we can spend on the courts!
The role of household plants is not just to brighten up our living spaces and look nice on shelves. Many common household plants, such as ferns, palms, and ZZ plants, can actually purify the air and lower airborne viruses’ infectivity by raising humidity levels indoors. Yes, you heard that right! One of the secret weapons to fending off or dealing with the common cold or flu isn’t in your medicine cabinet. Rather, it’s on your windowsill.
According to research, when the humidity hits above 40 percent, it can greatly reduce the virulence and infectivity of the flu virus. Higher humidity also means lower infectivity of airborne viruses. This is where plants come in: all plants, except succulents and cacti, can increase humidity levels through a process known as transpiration.
“Transpiration occurs when direct sunlight strikes the leaves and pulls water from them into the air,” explains Christopher Satch, head of plant science and education at The Sill. “The plant, in turn, pulls water from the soil to replace the water that has evaporated into the air. The bigger the plant, the more transpiration that occurs and the more water that gets moved into the air. Humidity increases with increased transpiration, and having more plants and bigger plants raises humidity the most.”
So don’t be afraid to splurge on plants this year — not only do they purify the air we breathe, but they can also keep us healthy. Read ahead for 18 humidity-generating plants and where to buy them to help us stay healthy so we can play healthy!
1. Marble Queen Pothos
The Marble Queen Pothos, with its long cascading vines, makes a beautiful table or hanging plant. This plant can also be trained to grow on a pole or trellis.
Pothos plants are some of the easiest plants to care for. They thrive and grow quickly without much attention.
A NASA study has identified Pothos as being excellent at removing indoor air pollutants. The golden Pothos is particularly adept at removing formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide.
From $34 on Garden Goods Direct
2. Aloe Vera
The Aloe is the symbol of beauty. In times of Cleopatra the plant was appreciated for its rejuvenating effect on people’s skin. Moreover, fresh cut leaves can be used for low grade burns and minor skin irritations. The Aloe Vera plant is air-purifying. It helps filter harmful pollutants, such as benzene and formaldehyde, from indoor air.
3. Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata)
This plant is so trendy, it’s called the “it” plant – and the “it” has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with style. The ficus lyrata, also known as a Fiddle Leaf Fig is sought after for its big, violin-shaped (that’s a fiddle down south) leaves and ability to take a prominent place in the décor of a big space. Put it in a well-lit room and let it grow!
4. Snake Plant
The Snake Plant Laurentii, or Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’, is a succulent plant characterized by its upright sword-like leaves with vibrant yellow edges. It is popular for its incredibly easy-going nature (it can tolerate low light and drought) and its air-purifying capabilities. The easiest way to kill this plant is to over-care for it.
5. Bird of Paradise
With its broad vibrant green leaves, the Bird of Paradise brings a touch of the tropics to any room. It is named after its unique flowers which resemble brightly colored birds in flight. The Bird of Paradise thrives in warmer conditions with plenty of sunlight.
6. Areca Palm
Areca palms add color to the world of palms. The stems take on a soft golden-yellow color. They are clean-air plants and tolerate indoor conditions with no problem. In the summer move them outdoors and add a tropical feel to the pool or patio.
7. English Ivy
English Ivy makes your home more beautiful, purify your air, boost your mood, help you sleep, and relieve dryness by raising the humidity in your rooms.
8. Kimberly Queen Fern
Kimberly Queen Ferns have dark green fronds that adopt a graceful, upright growth habit. Their lush foliage allows the plant to be either a beautiful indoor plant or outdoor patio or deck accent.
9. Bird’s Nest Fern
Birds Nest Fern looks like it just came out of a prehistoric jungle. Everyone always asks “what kind of plant is that”. Its a one of a kind plant that loves low light and never minds being over-watered.
From $19 on Garden Goods Direct
10. Lady Palm
Lady Palms are an underused palm for homes and apartments. It’s a slow grower so it won’t get out of hand. Has a more narrow growth habit than other palms which makes it perfect for corners and hallways. Excellent plant for cleaning the air of indoor toxins and chemicals.
11. Maidenhair Fern
With such bright and delicate fronds, the Maidenhair Fern is absolutely worth the extra effort! This diva prefers moist soil, low light and humid conditions but the extra TLC will pay off quick!
It doesn’t get more iconic than the “Swiss Cheese” plant. Also known as Monstera Deliciosa, they are famous in interior design circles for their notched leaves, instantly bringing on-trend jungle vibes to your home. They love to spread out, so give them plenty of space and use a coir pole to keep them upright. They are easy to care for and make an ideal first houseplant.
13. Peace Lily
The beautiful Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) will bring elegance and content to any home. As well as being a certified peace symbol — thanks to their striking white flowers — they are also renowned for their air-purifying abilities. People often gift this plant as a sign of everlasting life to people facing loss or hardship.
Philodendron Hope is a showy tropical houseplant with flamboyant wavy foliage. Known for it’s impressively large leaves and its ability to take over a space, the Philo Hope is the perfect statement piece for any room! This philodendron has very few problems and tolerates neglect and dry indoor air.
15. Rattlesnake Calathea
The Calathea Rattlesnake is known for its long, wavy green leaves with a brushstroke pattern resembling reptile skin. It raises and lowers these leaves from day to night, a phenomenon called nyctinasty and the source behind its nickname, “prayer plant.” This plant is also pet-friendly!
16. Rubber Tree
Robust and dramatic, the Burgundy Rubber Tree sports large, glossy leaves on durable, upright stems. This striking plant is ready to make a statement in your home with its dark, moody color palette ranging from deep forest green to rich burgundy red.
17. Spider Plant
The Spider Plant is one of the best air purifying plants, we love them for their spiky variegated foliage. They are easy to care for and look great set on a table-top or hung from a macrame sling. You can even keep them out on the patio during summer — just remember to bring them inside if there’s any risk of frost.
18. ZZ Plant
Our ZZ plant is the ideal choice for inexperienced plant parents too. Not only are they adorable, with glossy dark green leaves, but they are also really one of our most low-maintenance houseplants. They thrive in all kinds of home and office spots and can go for weeks without watering. Wherever you place them, they are a tasteful and classy addition to your Green Space. Did we mention they are a natural air purifier too?