In this article
Why house plants are good for us
A walk in the forest makes it clear why nature is good for us every time: the oxygen content is high, the greenery of the plants calms the mind, and the balanced temperature has a relaxing effect, especially in summer. You can experience this in your own home on a miniature scale – by bringing plants into your life. Carbon dioxide levels, humidity and temperature determine our ability to concentrate and our well-being.
Indoor plants can play a major role in creating a feel-good climate. Studies have shown that they lift the mood, improve the indoor climate and reduce pollutants in the air. Bio-chemically speaking, it is photosynthesis that is behind this improvement of the indoor climate: plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen with the help of the chlorophyll in their leaves and light. At the same time, more than 90 percent of the water used to water the plants is released into the environment – which is like natural air humidification. It is good for the mucous membranes of the nose in dry winter air, while providing pleasant coolness in summer.
Even NASA has experimented with house plants to improve the air quality in space stations. One plant is sufficient for ten square meters of living space. But many people are afraid that looking after plants will be too much hard work, and don’t want to become cactus gardeners. They are worrying unnecessarily, because all you need to bring nature into your own four walls is just a few robust plant species. You will find a list of the best plants for every room in your home here.
The bedroom – oxygen for sweet dreams
Ensuring a good indoor climate is particularly important in the bedroom because this is where the body recovers during the night. While many plants emit carbon dioxide in the dark when photosynthesis has come to a standstill, there are species that absorb carbon dioxide during this time and thus improve the oxygen content of the air.
These include bow string hemp, ficus, bromeliads and green lily. They all love bright conditions, but not direct sunlight, which is undesirable in the bedroom anyway so that the room doesn’t heat up over the course of the day. The ficus needs the most space, bromeliads and bow string hemp fit on the windowsill, while green lily with its long leaves is suitable as a hanging plant. All four are robust and easy to look after. Only the ficus requires regular but moderate watering, although it makes a very attractive small tree.
The bathroom – a rainforest in a reduced space
Little sunlight and high humidity are two typical characteristics of a bathroom. Chinese evergreens, devil’s ivy, fern and the Kentia or thatch palm are perfectly able to cope with both.
The thatch palm originally comes from the rainforest, loves shade or partial shade and high humidity levels. It only grows slowly, but can reach a height of three meters. Alternatively, you can opt for Chinese evergreens, which also thrive in humid air. This bushy shrub with silvery-white grained leaves is undemanding and fits onto most bathroom windowsills.
The study – power for concentration
A good indoor climate helps you to concentrate on your work. That’s why it helps to choose plants that are considered to be real air purification wonders. These include spider plants, which filter up to 95 percent of pollutants such as benzene or carbon monoxide from the air. Enzymes in the leaves can break down and neutralize these substances.
Spider plants allow you to increase humidity by about five percent, depending on the watering intervals. It acts as balm for the mucous membranes, especially when the air is dry in winter because of indoor heating.
As space is usually limited in a home office, small, undemanding potted plants such as cyperus, spathiphyllum or dracaena are otherwise recommended. If you want to see more than just green leaves, why not find a place for an elegant chrysanthemum, the flower of the Japanese emperor? It absorbs pollutants from printers, glue and cigarettes, among other things.
The living room – space for large leaves
The largest room in an apartment or house is almost always the living room. This means that there are many design options using indoor plants which not only improve air quality but also have a decorative effect.
Monstera houseplants with their huge, slit leaves are impressive and highly attractive. This tropical climbing plant needs a small trunk to cling to. It is basically easy to take care of but must always be kept moist in dry indoor air. Hydroponic cultivation works best, i.e. with clay granules that can store a lot of water.
Chamaedorea is an alternative candidate for a green living room. Although it needs a lot of water, it is easy to care for and is considered a “starter plant” for indoor gardeners. It only needs partial shade, does not like direct sunlight and will grow quickly and abundantly taller.
The large-flowered amaryllis, on the other hand, which likes very bright and sunny conditions, is ideal for adding real splashes of color to the room. This makes it perfect for window seats or the winter garden. Attention: it is toxic and should not be accessible to animals or small children.
Orange or lemon trees planted in larger tubs are always eye-catching features. They are evergreen and flower all year round if you’re lucky. They also spread a fresh aroma and even bear edible fruit. They can stand on the balcony in summer and in the living room in winter.
But watch out: if you simply place a lemon tree in your living room in winter without taking any other precautions, you won’t be able to admire the plant for long. In a heated living room, a lemon tree needs much more light than even the brightest room can provide. You should therefore place a plant lamp above it, and leave the light switched on for at least six hours a day by means of a timer. You should also spray the tree regularly with water to make up for the dry air in the living room.
The kitchen – durable greenery
The kitchen often gets hot and doesn’t offer much room for greenery. This means that small potted plants are best, as they can easily be moved when space is needed for cooking.
This makes the Corsican creeper or Pollyanna vine the perfect choice. It doesn’t need sunlight and is watered by immersion – excess water collects in the saucer underneath the pot and can simply be poured away.
The yucca palm, which can grow meters high over the years, is also suitable for the kitchen. It is very durable, survives intentional or unintentional dry periods, likes sun and shade, needs watering once a week and is only sensitive to drafts.
The elephant’s foot or ponytail palm falls into the same category of robust plants. It needs a lot of sun and little water, because it comes from the semi-deserts of Mexico. It is so easy to care for that it is said that the less time you spend looking after it, the better.
Conclusion: enjoy your plant oases at home
A variety of easy-care plants in just the right size exists for every room. Watering plants isn’t rocket science. It’s much more important to choose the right location, with conditions ranging from complete shade to direct sunlight. If you follow some gardeners’ tips you can’t do much wrong – and will be able to take the first step towards getting a green thumb.