Avoid Those Winter Blues with a Touch of Something Green

During the long, cold winter months, it can be difficult to remember that in a relatively short period of time, life will soon begin to renew itself once again. In the meantime, however, you can easily give yourself a little reminder of greener days to come simply by keeping a plant in your home or office.

Houseplants can offer a variety of benefits, especially in the winter. Most require very little maintenance and can add that touch of something living to almost any space, according to Marsha Potash, Greenhouse Manager at Hyannis Country Garden. And, they’re not only pretty to look at. “Leafy plants can also act as great air purifiers in homes and offices,” she says. “Different plants neutralize different emissions.”

Potash referred to the NASA Clean Air Study, which was done in partnership with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA). The study discovered which plants are effective at removing benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia from the air. These particular chemicals have been linked to negative health effects like headaches, dizziness, eye irritation, and others. In fact, the first list of air-filtering plants was released by NASA in 1989.

The peace lily is a beautiful, low-maintenance choice for home or office.

NASA researchers suggest efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space. Other more recent research has shown that micro-organisms in the potting mix (soil) of a potted plant remove benzene from the air, and that some plant species also contribute to removing benzene themselves.

The varieties of air-improving plants available are countless. Potash says the best bets to combat indoor air pollution are green, leafy plants. Some examples are the Dumb Cane, the Weeping Fig, or Schefflera. Flowering plants can also be effective in cleaning the air. If you like a bit of color, try the Gerbera Daisy. This little beauty can invoke a smile from just looking at it. There’s no other way to say it – it’s a happy plant.

Marsha Potash can help answer all your gardening and indoor plant questions.

Potash also recommends the book, “How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office,” by Dr. B.C. Wolverton (Penguin, 1996), to acquaint yourself with the impressive variety of plants to choose from, how they are maintained, what health benefits they offer, and more.
“The Peace Lily is a particularly good plant to have indoors. It looks beautiful, it requires low maintenance, and it blooms indoors, as well,” Potash says. “Insects generally don’t go after it.” The Peace Lily has lush, tropical foliage and is long-lasting. It can also be separated into several plants when it grows to maturity.

“Also, the Boston Fern and the Chinese Evergreen are low-care plants and great for offices. The Parlor Palm, which comes in many sizes, is the only palm that stays small. These, as well as the Golden Pothos, which is always a favorite, along with many other leafy plants, are all good air purifiers,” she says.

Plants not only help clean the air in a room, they can help relieve stress. Science has shown that the act of cultivating indoor plants has a calming, and even cheering, effect, which is likely why we send plants when someone is ill, or is getting married, or has passed away. They also make your space feel friendly and welcoming. People are more relaxed when they are near living plants.

Hyannis Country Garden has an extensive assortment of beautiful indoor plants.

Plants can also brighten up a drab area. The Christmas Cactus, for example, is a favorite. It’s called so because it normally reaches full bloom in December. “Orchids,” Potash says, “are another indoor favorite and all varieties have lovely flowering blooms, as do Dwarf Azaleas.” Kalanchoe is yet another compact plant that flowers in a profusion of colors.

Hyannis Country Garden carries an abundance of gorgeous, low-maintenance species of plants that would be ideal for your home or office. For any questions you may have, or if you’re not really sure which plants would be best suited for your space, visit Hyannis Country Garden’s greenhouse, and speak to Marsha Potash. She’ll be sure to steer you in the right direction.

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About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo is the Marketing Writer and Lifestyle Reporter for CapeCod.com, and has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.

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