Indoor plants are the OG all-natural air fresheners - it’s science, baby!
Would you like to boast the freshest abode on the block? Tip out those toxic, sneeze inducing sprays and mucus causing mists, and keep your air clean the way nature intended. Scientific studies by NASA have shown that certain plants purify the air in their environment by soaking up household toxins and converting them into vital Oxygen. And no, keeping these green goddesses happy in your home is not rocket science, guys! Here are 6 of the hardiest, most forgiving plants that you can keep indoors and in some cases, neglect for weeks without getting the brown shoulder.
1. Devil’s Ivy
The Golden Pothos plant, botanical name Epipremnum aureum, is known in Britain as Devil’s Ivy. This lush vine cleanses the air of pollutants such as benzene, derivatives of which can be found in house paint, tobacco smoke, and chemical based household cleaning products. Devil’s Ivy is super resilient and does well in most environments, so she’s perfect for keeping indoors. There’s actually a rumour that the name “Devil’s Ivy” was given to this hardy perennial because she’s harder to kill than she is to keep alive!
With vibrant heart-shaped leaves, the Pothos’ vines can reach 5m or longer, creating a cascade of verdant foliage when grown in hanging baskets. You can even train those unruly tendrils to climb a moss pole or lattice, creating a beautiful climbing houseplant!
2. Peace Lily
Spathiphyllum is not actually a lily, but is named “Peace Lily” because her triangular flowers look like little white flags. The Peace Lily is a tropical plant, so she will be happy indoors as long as there are no cold draughts coming through. Although she will grow well in low light, this South-East Asian perennial will rarely bloom without sun.
So if it’s flowers you’re after, the best place for the Peace Lily is near a window where she can receive a good amount of light. It’s also really easy to tell if you’ve neglected to water your Peace Lily - she will droop over dramatically, but never fear! It’s not too late. Just give her a good soaking straight away and she will literally come back to life overnight.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera grows wild in tropical climates around the world, and is the perfect plant to have on hand as a natural sunburn soother. Aloe’s sticky gel contains powerful antioxidant compounds that can help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. So you can apply it as a topical treatment for cuts and grazes too!
Aside from her various therapeutic properties, Aloe provides tropical flair to your indoor garden. As this is a desert plant, she benefits from heavy but infrequent waterings. Let the soil dry out completely for a couple of weeks, then give it a proper soak - but never leave Aloe sitting in water, as constant moisture will cause her roots to rot.
4. Snake Plant
This exotic succulent is native to tropical West Africa, but has become a staple in British homes and workspaces due to her handsome foliage and forgiving nature. Perhaps most frequently referred to as the snake plant, Sansevieria trifasciata is also known by many other names including George's sword, mother-in-law's tongue, and viper's bowstring hemp.
According to NASA, the snake plant is one of the best houseplants for absorbing airborne toxins, including formaldehyde, nitrogen oxide, xylene and trichloroethylene. And if you travel a lot, never fear - George’s sword will stand at attention for weeks without watering. Just make sure she’s potted in a good quality mix that’s been specially formulated for succulents.
5. English Ivy
Sadly, English Ivy has a bad rap and is often considered invasive and destructive. Indeed, her Greek name means to "twist" or "turn" which hints at her trailing tendencies, and twist and turn she does. In fact, if Hedera helix is left to her own devices, she will scale the side of your house, creeping into cracks and burrowing between loose bricks, allowing unwanted moisture to penetrate.
But fear her not! If contained to a pot or hanging basket, English Ivy will never get out of hand and will make for a rewarding indoor companion. Her white and green marbled leaves not only help to beautify your space, but will cleanse the air of formaldehyde and benzene. English Ivy has also been proven to remove mould from the air, fragments of which are known inflame the airways and can cause various respiratory issues.