10 Common Houseplants To Brighten Your Indoor Spaces

10 Common Houseplants To Brighten Your Indoor Spaces

10 Common Houseplants To Brighten Your Indoor Spaces

Since the start of the pandemic, people have tried their best to improve new stay-at-home lifestyles, whether that be bringing home a new puppy or purchasing houseplants to liven up a space. Many of us have a need to connect with nature and surround ourselves with green, growing things, maybe even more than we may realize. In fact, over the past several years, scientists have found a growing body of evidence that caring for and being around plants has a world of benefits. These benefits can be especially helpful during the short, cold days of fall and winter.

What Is Biophilia?

People share an innate bond to growing plants and greenery, which helps sustain and keep them connected to nature. This is the underpinning belief of biophilia, a belief that we have an innate human instinct to connect with nature and other living beings. It has spawned the school of biophilic design, which includes using greenery and natural patterns in architectural design, and projects studying the effects of living in harmony with nature on children, office workers, and others.

One of the major pillars of biophilic design is the use of houseplants in both work and living spaces. Based on the principles of biophilic design, when you bring houseplants into your home or office, you aren’t just indulging yourself. You’re following your instincts.

Benefits of Houseplants — Hint: Not What You Think

Science seems to support the benefits of keeping plants in your home, but not for the reasons you might think. Despite the hundreds of articles online and in magazines, it turns out that houseplants aren’t all that good at cleaning the air. The origin of that myth is a 1989 study carried out by a scientist at NASA. While his data is essentially on point, he carried out his experiments in airtight, sealed areas. To get any appreciable effect, you would have to pack 1,000 plants into a 10-by-10-foot indoor space.

So if plants don’t clean the air, how do they improve your life and your environment?

These benefits don’t even consider how plants beautify the environment and make indoor spaces feel more alive and inviting. Or the fact that specific plants, like the soothing scent of lavender, can create aromatic environments to work and live in. If you grow herbs and greens, you even get the added bonus of adding them to your menu.

AcuRite Indoor Temperature and Humidity Monitor

10 Common Houseplants To Love

So, which houseplants will help you stay connected to nature over the cold autumn and winter months? To help you narrow down your choices, here’s a list of 10 common houseplants that are relatively easy to grow indoors, especially with the help of a temperature and humidity monitor to keep track of and maintain proper growing conditions. Note that many popular houseplants are toxic to pets or small children, which are not included below.

  1. Boston Fern

    With leafy, graceful fronds, the Boston fern can grow up to 2 feet in diameter, easily filling a whole corner with living greenery. It loves humid conditions — and can also boost humidity, so it makes a good companion plant for other houseplants. Since it thrives on indirect sunlight and does well in shady conditions, a Boston fern will be happy almost anywhere in your home.

  2. Spider Plant

    Spider plants thrive on low light and high humidity and have a reputation for being nearly impossible to kill. They take their name from the way that plant “babies” grow at the end of long, thin shoots, making them look like spiders descending on a thread. They'll even be relatively happy growing in your bathroom — at least for a few weeks at a time.

  3. Areca Palm

    Sometimes known as the bamboo palm, the areca palm has long, feathery fronds that arch gracefully. While they can grow up to 10 feet tall outdoors, many nurseries sell them as small tabletop plants. Given bright, filtered sunlight, they’ll add 6 to 10 inches per year.

  4. Cast-Iron Plant

    As suggested by its name, the cast-iron plant is practically indestructible. The evergreen plant has been a popular houseplant since Victorian times, though its popularity waxes and wanes with interior fashion. It doesn’t seem to mind infrequent watering and low light and will be quite happy to thrive in the corner of your living room.

  5. African Violets

    Forget all the myths and jokes you've heard about those finicky little African violets. The truth is that these vibrant little beauties are pretty low-maintenance plants. They enjoy low light and a good, occasional soak, so they’re an excellent choice to brighten up your office desktop, where their purple or pink flowers will provide a nice pop of color to cheer you up. They’re also very easy to come by — they're a popular impulse buy at the supermarket florist, especially around holidays.

  6. Basil

    While it’s not commonly found on lists of houseplants, basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow indoors and seriously deserves a place on your kitchen windowsill. It does require at least six hours of bright sunlight daily, so you may need to supplement the light with a grow light, but the rewards are definitely worth it. All you need to do to fill your house with the bright and spicy scent is to brush your hand across the leaves. Plus, you’ll have a ready supply of fresh basil leaves to tuck into sandwiches or chop into a tomato salad, brightening your menus with the taste of summer throughout the year.

  7. Bromeliads

    If you love the showy drama of spiky tropical flowers, bromeliads are for you. While they look difficult, they’re surprisingly easy to grow. They generally like bright, indirect light and fast-draining soil, though the exact conditions vary from one variety to the next. Some are more tolerant of temperature and humidity fluctuations than others, especially if you’re hoping to get blooms. If that’s the case, you might locate a programmable temperature and humidity monitor nearby to let you know your plant friend needs attention.

  8. Christmas Cactus

    This South American native succulent is a popular North American houseplant with spiky leaves and brilliant winter flowers. Unlike many other succulents, it enjoys partial shade or diffused sunlight and plenty of water – but be careful not to overwater! If you’re hoping to enjoy those showy flowers, though, the Christmas cactus does need specific temperature and light conditions when it’s getting ready to flower. Keep it away from drafts and monitor its conditions carefully to give it the conditions it needs to delight you with holiday flowers.

  9. Prayer Plant

    Their dramatic coloring — creamy white and red veins against rich green leaves — makes prayer plants very popular display plants. The leaves lie flat during the day, but they fold up toward the stems when the sun goes down, like a pair of praying hands. Prayer plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight and warm, moist air, so they’ll be happiest in greenhouse conditions. They’re excellent candidates for an indoor greenhouse.

  10. Air Plants

    Air plants may be the easiest to maintain of all houseplants. These showy tropical plants need no soil — indeed, many don't even need a pot. They take their moisture and nutrients from the air and are happy with a weekly soak and occasional misting. While there are many varieties of air plants, the best known are tillandsia, which are often sold in hanging glass globes or teardrops where they show off their variegated patterns and bright colors. Air plants range in size from tiny — about the size of a thumbnail — to about 6 inches in diameter.

Stay Happy and Healthy with Houseplants

The autumn and winter months can be dreary, especially if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. Houseplants are one way to help maintain your connection to nature and brighten the cooler months with the reminder that life thrives, even when we have to give it a little help. Are you looking to become a master gardener of indoor plants? See how AcuRite technology for home health can help you improve your living conditions and make your home a happy, healthy one, no matter the time of year.

October 25, 2021
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