In winter it's hard for gardeners to get their fix of greenery. You can visit greenhouses such as at Yale's Marsh Botanic Garden, but it's nice to have your own house plants to create a warm, clean environment.
Yes, house plants keep the air clean. NASA researchers have shown that some house plants filter gases, such as formaldehyde and benzene, from the air. You just need two, ten-inch house plants per 100-square-foot room.
Having plants in the home and workplace can also reduce blood pressure, raise attentiveness, reduce anxiety, and increase productivity.
So everyone should grow some house plants. For the black thumbs out there, try these hard-to-kill types.
The snake plant, or Sansevieria, has sword-like, green, succulent leaves edged in yellow or white. It grows in low light and doesn’t mind drying out.
Cast iron plant sounds formidable. It’s a slow-growing, low-light and humidity loving, non-descript green leaf plant that grows two feet tall.
Chinese evergreen looks like the cast iron plant and has similar needs, but has more attractive arching, lance-shape leaves, usually variegated with silver.
My old college room plant Dracena marginata, or the corn plant, has dark green, strap-like leaves edged in red. It grows towards the light, and is forgiving of a forgetful waterer. Hey, it survived my dorm room, so that says something!
Finally, the purple-leaved oxalis, or shamrock plant, needs bright light and constant moisture to grow and flower best. What I love about this plant is if it gets leggy, insect-infested, or out of control, simply cut it back to the soil line and it will re-sprout from its bulbs.
Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I’ll be talking about heirloom vegetables. Until then, I’ll be seeing you in the garden.