Houseplants bring the green inside

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snake plant

by Adrian Gomez and Jessa Cast

in addition to beauty, selections offer healthful benefits

As we look toward the onset of fall, we prepare ourselves for earlier sunsets, colder weather and the desire to retreat to the warmth of the indoors. For gardeners and plant lovers, the change in season doesn’t have to mean saying goodbye to plant life until spring. There are plenty of plants that can liven up an indoor space, as well as offer healthful benefits to the home.

Aside from being an attractive addition to any home’s décor, plants purify the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen in exchange. Because plants require some amount of water, they also balance the humidity indoors, which is valuable in the extra dry winter air of our arid climate. There’s so much more to consider than just the ever popular chlorophytum comosum, or spider plant. There are many options and factors to consider when choosing houseplants.

The avid gardener may want to bring outdoor plants indoors for the winter months. Tyler Leslie, co-owner of Rehm’s Nursery, says, “People have to be careful when bringing in plants from the outdoors. There may be bugs on them from being outside.”

He emphasizes that it’s important to understand a plant’s needs before bringing it indoors; to know where the plant will reside and how much sun and water it requires. “Succulents are lower maintenance, whereas ferns can be higher maintenance,” Leslie says. “The majority of houseplants want bright, direct light.” Leslie recommends growing aloe vera plants, as they are both easy to maintain and offer medicinal uses.

In her class on houseplants, Connie Barnhill, assistant manager at Osuna Nursery, says, “As part of the indoor landscape, houseplants beautify and cheer up our spaces.  They make rooms more welcoming and livable.” Barnhill recommends Sansevieria. Also known as a snake plant, it’s one of the top plants for improving indoor air quality. “While most plants do not release fresh oxygen at night, this evergreen does!” she says. “Purified air can help you sleep better.”

Anthurium (flamingo flower) is easy to care for and blooms year-round. Orchids are another year-round bloomer, and quite colorful. She suggests growing lavender, an herb and aromatherapy mainstay, for its soothing scent.

Jericho Nursery manager Jesse Darling concurs. “Something that gets overlooked a lot is herbs; great for cooking inside. Basil, mint, cilantro. They’re easy to grow indoors, even from seeds, and can be year-round plants.” Herbs not only add a fresh fragrance to the home, but they’re an inexpensive way to spice up a dish on the fly. He also notes  that aspidistra elatior, or the cast-iron plant, is low maintenance. “It can be raised in a really dark situation and doesn’t like to be overwatered,” he says. Some exotic cacti also flourish in indoor environments.

The options are endless but shop mindfully. As some plants may be toxic when ingested by curious children or pets, it’s good to do research on what’s safe for your household. Ask questions when shopping for the right plant to fit your home and lifestyle.

Jericho Nursery

Osuna Nursery

Rehm’s Nursery