Plants enliven a space in shades of olive and jade and surprising blooms that add a pop of color. A room of plants can even help purify the air. Studies have shown exposure to indoor plants can decrease the incidence of dry skin and sore throats, speed recovery in surgical patients, and may even be responsible for greater attentiveness in classrooms.
For many of us, the reality of keeping vibrant greenery in our home alive can seem hopeless. Here are a few plants that you can set—and almost forget—in your abode.
The bromeliad flowers in a wide variety of colors and in a cone-like shape similar to that of its relative, the pineapple. While this tropical plant enjoys bright light, in nature it grows beneath larger plants and is accustomed to indirect sunlight. It’s happy with a good watering on a monthly basis and hardly requires pruning—talk about low maintenance.
As a child, if I got too much sun, my mom would snap the leaves of our aloe plant and apply its medicinal sap to my burn. A member of the succulent family, aloe is easy to care for, requiring a light weekly watering, and it thrives in a window sill. While aloe boasts healing properties on the skin, keep it out of reach of furry friends because when it’s ingested, it can cause mild to moderate toxicity.
The spider plant makes an excellent choice for hanging pots thanks to its whimsical white-striped leaves. It enjoys medium to bright light and a weekly watering. With one spider plant comes many as a spider plant’s shoots will produce plantlets or “babies,” which can be cut off and potted elsewhere. Just watch for brown leaf tips which can be caused from overwatering or water treated with an excess of fluoride.
The tillandsia tectorum is also referred to as a “snowball” for the fuzzy white trichomes on its leaves. This air plant thrives with sunlight and occasional mistings thanks to its desert origins in South America. With maturity, it produces purple flowers, making for a beautiful display in a terrarium.
The snake plant is also known by its moniker “mother-in-law’s tongue” thanks to its long, pointed leaves and survivability. A member of the succulent family, this plant thrives in indirect sunlight with modest waterings to fully dry soil. It may be one of the most tolerant houseplants I’ve ever encountered, not like your mother-in-law.
According to NASA, the peace lily can filter toxins from the air. Tolerant of low humidity, low light, and occasional watering, this durable plant will also stun with its feather-shaped white blooms. The peace lily may be for the adult-only and pet-free household as it is toxic if ingested. It’s a good idea to check the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for pet and plant safety.
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