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The Room-by-Room Guide to Houseplants

Use this guide to houseplants to discover the best plant for each area of your home.

| May/June 2015

  • Aloe releases oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide at night.
    Photo by Fotolia
  • This member of the Dracena family adapts will to indoor life and helps remove formaldehyde from the air.
    Photo by iStock
  • Moisture-loving English ivy is perfect for freshen bathroom air.
    Photo by Corbis
  • Rubber plants are very low maintenance and can grow to be 8 feet tall.
    Photo by iStock
  • Snake plants are great for low-light rooms, or if you have a tendency to forget to water plants.
    Photo by Fotolia
  • Spider plant is nontoxic to pets.
    Photo by iStock

Houseplants are a balm for the part of ourselves that longs for the outdoors, even as we appreciate the security of four walls to call our own. Indeed, plants in our living space just seem to make us…better. Greenery itself is rejuvenating. For example, a study published in Environmental Science & Technology showed that simply moving to a greener urban area correlated with mental-health gains. Green space has also been linked with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Studies by the University of Illinois’ Landscape and Human Health Laboratory have shown that exposure to nature helps hyperactive children regulate their behavior; in these studies, just viewing nature improved a child’s ability to control impulses.

So bringing plants indoors seems like a no-brainer. In fact, the presence of houseplants does seem to help with concentration. Researchers found that having plants in an office boosts focus, according to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. But indoor botanicals can do more for us than improve mood and productivity. They can actually improve the air quality in our homes in a number of ways, too. In this article, we list some of the best plants for every room of your house, from oxygen-producing bedroom plants to humidity-loving bathroom plants and cooking vapor-absorbing kitchen plants.

Bedroom: Aloe Vera

Keeping an aloe plant in your bedroom is smart because, unlike most plants, aloe releases oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide at night. The gel inside the spiky leaves also makes an excellent moisturizer or a good addition to homemade beauty products. Additionally, it doesn’t require much care. Find more uses for aloe in 15 Uses for Aloe Vera.

Why It’s Best: Releases oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide at night; shown to clear air of benzene and formaldehyde

Bathroom: English Ivy

This moisture-loving plant will be right at home in your bathroom, especially if you have a window to provide bright light. It clears air of benzene, airborne fecal matter and formaldehyde, which can outgas from a shower curtain or water-proofed shower mat. Be aware that the leaves are poisonous to pets and humans if ingested.

Why It’s Best: Prefers moist air; removes benzene, airborne fecal matter and formaldehyde from air

4/23/2019 7:13:45 AM

I love plants. My cats do too. They even eat fake plants. I'm having a rough time finding plants that are non-toxic to cats, because they will eat them. :O(

6/27/2015 10:42:38 PM

A "GREAT" House Plant for "ANY" LARGE, DARK, and Relatively COOL room is a "Philodendron seloum". This plant LOVES "LOW-LIGHT" but just MAKE-SURE "You DO NOT OVERWATER IT"! Let it Dry-Out completely BETWEEN "SOAKINGS" and it'll LOVE almost DARK, LOW-LIGHT Environments! MOST, "HOUSEPLANTS" are "Killed-BY" TOO-MUCH "LOVE", meaning; OVER-Watering!
4/26/2015 9:29:11 AM

what is a good outdoor plant that repels mosquitoes

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