Plant Lady

I’m definitely one for swooning over home decor pics on Instagram featuring plenty of greenery. Hanging plants, decorative plant stands and shelves filled with succulents in colourful, hand-painted pots seem to be popular right now. Yet, despite my appreciation for greenery in the home, I’ve never been great at looking after houseplants.

I’d forget to water them enough, then I’d water them too much and the roots would rot. Needless to say, they didn’t stick around very long. When we moved again last year, the house had been locked up and empty for a few weeks in the middle of summer, with poor ventilation, so the air was really dusty and heavy. Conscious of indoor air pollution playing havoc with my sensitive sinuses and wanting to make sure the air was as clean as possible for our baby girl, I decided to introduce a few indoor plants.


This time around, rather than buying something random from the supermarket, plonking it in a corner and completely forgetting about it, I did some research beforehand. I wanted to find the best air-purifying houseplants that were also incredibly low maintenance, attractive and child friendly (not poisonous or with sharp leaves).


Best Houseplants for Cleaning the Air


All houseplants produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, but some species have far superior air-purifying abilities. In fact, NASA carried out a study into the air-purifying qualities of houseplants in 1989 – seeking ways to cleanse the air in space stations.

The results revealed how certain plants managed to absorb prevalent toxic indoor chemicals from the air such as formaldehyde (released from the likes of cleaning products, paints, glues, carpets and furniture fabrics). It’s scary to read about how a lot of the products we buy can negatively effect the air quality in our homes. After scouring the web for tips and inspiration, I placed some orders and visited the local garden centre. I made sure all of the houseplants were on the NASA list. Here’s what I ended up choosing:


Areca Palm


With arching, narrow fronds, the Areca Palm has an elegant, exotic look ideal for sprucing up a corner. This is known as one of the simplest palms to grow indoors and was among the top three air-purifying plants named in the NASA study.


Madagascan Dragon Tree


This was the largest houseplant we chose – it’s like a mini tree! I actually carried it back on the train from the garden centre which resulted in a few strange looks. Similarly to the Areca, the Madagascan Dragon Tree is very low maintenance – even if the conditions aren’t optimal this plant can still ‘hang on in there’. There are numerous types of dragon plants out there, in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but this one caught my eye the most.


Spider Plant


This is such a classic choice for a houseplant and for good reason. Spider plants are very aesthetically pleasing and sit comfortably on shelving or atop a desk. They look particularly pretty on a shelf or in a hanging planter as the leaves drape downwards beautifully. I placed the one we got on top of the chest of drawers in the baby’s room and, besides helping to keep the air quality in check, it provides a lovely little focal point contrasting with the white furniture.


Despite having a high-maintenance reputation, I also got a Boston Fern. It seemed to be thriving initially in our humid kitchen, but quickly deteriorated when the winter months arrived and the central heating came on regularly. Some people seem to have great luck with this plant though so it’s definitely worth considering if you’re game for a challenge!



Do you have any houseplant tips to add? What are your favourite indoor plants?





  1. June 14, 2017 / 15:58

    Your houseplants look very healthy. It is good to do some research and get the right ones.

    • June 14, 2017 / 22:15

      Hi Darlene, they’ve survived a year so far – definitely a record for me :-)
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