Okay this may be a too quickly pressed blog post but it might be of use to those of you dreading being stuck indoors with your windows shut tight to conserve that very expensive heat keeping your fingers and toes from experiencing some form of frostbite (or not if climate change is being ‘kinder’ to you with the onset of a mild winter season). In my part of the biosphere it’s a roller-coaster ride of high temperatures dropping to the lows and then rising again. Some plant bulbs are clearly confused as they’ve sent up green shoots again when they ought to be hibernating. When the heat first turned itself “on” and the doors shut against the cold that trapped with stale air sensation sent me in search of relief. I figured there had to be a way to get some green nature indoors even in my very shady indoor habitat. One of the most useful resources, so far, has been Dr. B.C. Wolverton’s book How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office (aka Eco Friendly Houseplants). Part of my delight in this book is its usefulness for those of us who haven’t played much with indoor plants with success. At this point in time I doubt anyone will dispute the sick building concept that Wolverton relates. Nor is there the much point in arguing about the results of the NASA plant study. What’s of interest to humans with no plant experience is the book’s presentation of the 50 plants. They’re rated for ability to clean inside air of toxins that have no business in your lungs yet are everywhere indoors. There are great photographs of each plant. Common and botanical names are offered. The entries include light, temperature, pest, care and growing media information. Yes, it’s handy to take along when you venture into unfamiliar territory such as a nursery, grocery store, florist, to find what will suit your air cleaning needs–and to show precisely what you want and why to whoever is staffing the unfamiliar grounds. Also, armed with this textual resource it’s easier to fend off being sold something that will not suit your air cleaning desires. We’re not talking air fresheners that mask odor here. We’re talking real air cleansing via real living plants. You don’t have to start large either. Little plants that have the potential for growth will grow in the right conditions and with some mindfulness at time of selection. This does not have to be an expensive investment in good healthcare. Look at your indoor environment, take an inventory of the lighting, do a little online research regarding further information about plants you think will fit your air purification needs according to Wolverton. It’s good to know that some plants are not pet friendly if your felines like to chew things. Unless, of course, you’re looking to send a troublesome pet on its way via natural resources.
There must be other such user-friendly, compact and direct plant information resources. If you know of something really useful–and un-intimidating for beginners– in hard copy, online, or electronically PLEASE share them!!!! Yes, there are many many websites online regarding indoor plants. Some are really useful and others just repeat the same information again and again while pitching expensive items for sale.
FYI–Wolverton also published a book about another vital resource for living well, water: Growing Clean Water, Nature’s Solution to Water Pollution. http://www.wolvertonenvironmental.com/book1.htm
So, if anyone has newer and more useful information resources about using plants to clean our filthy indoor air, please share. This is just what came my way on the fly. I also got lucky with the little florist department at my local grocery as it stocks little four-inch starter plants in addition to larger more mature specimens. It helps that the staff is very friendly and patient. Good luck to any other indoor plant newbies seeking some air relief.
PS. As Eco Friendly Houseplants this book is available in German, Spanish, Finnish, Korean and other languages. Surf the link for more international publishing information.