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Ask someone why they have a particular houseplant, or any houseplant for that matter, and the answer usually falls somewhere between, “someone gave it to me,” and “I thought it looked cool.”

It’s that gift you get for someone when you have no idea what to get them. Or maybe you get excited and buy one every time you move—lucky if you’re still remembering to water it six weeks later.

I choose something that isn’t terrible, and that doesn’t cost more than everything else, hope it doesn’t take too much responsibility, and figure it’s worth more than flowers, that it’ll last longer at least, since it isn’t dead to begin with.

In elementary school, middle school, high school, we learn about photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide, plants release oxygen—more nature means more breathable air. I had always thought we were talking about trees, redwoods, whole rainforests—the Amazon. Turns out though, a houseplant is more than just some pretty face, that these small attempts to green up the place are in fact making our lives happier and healthier.

According to the EPA we spend nearly all of our time indoors, almost 80% of it. We go from our homes to school, or work; to the library, and the coffee shop, and out to dinner, and to the movies; into stores and on public transportation, and then back home again—and bringing everything that we’ve picked up along the way right back inside. Everything from carbon dioxide to pesticides to something simply referred to as “volatile organic compounds.” If you really want to be grossed out, read the EPA’s Indoor Air Report.

So, NASA scientists did a study, as they’re known to do, and what did they find? What is it keeping all those toxins at bay?

Drumroll please…

Houseplants!

Houseplants filter out toxic air pollutants the same way any tree would. They’ve even been found to help fight the common cold. 

Being under their influence houseplants can reduce anxiety, improve focus and concentration, and can significantly reduce feelings of fear and anger by replacing them with a sense of calm and well-being.

But if you fill your apartment with potted plants and Ficus trees, there’s a good chance someone is going try to have you committed. Plus I’d have to figure out how to get a tree home on the bus.

What you can do though, is hang them from the ceiling and everyone will think it’s coolest thing ever.

And if you’ve been by Bloom Room recently you may have noticed our small attempt to add a little more green to the space. Having replaced the holiday snowflakes hanging just over reception with a whole array of plants that little, if any care.

You can use any type of low light houseplant. We used common ivy varieties, and Tillandsia air plants, but you can use anything that has a solid root system in place (not succulents though).

Air plants are great because they take hardly any attention at all. They absorb everything they need through their leaves—no soil, no potting,  no plant food. Instead of staying rooted in one place, they can grow just about anywhere, on rocks, in glass jars, or on dead branches, using their roots to keep themselves grounded wherever they might happen to be. And even better, they thrive on neglect! A little mist of water once a week, some circulation, and they’re good.

Ivy isn’t much work either. Once you get them set up they’ll get growing all on their own. You start by taking apart the plant and root systems. Remove the entire root soil bundle from the pot and spread it out on a larger surface to work the roots apart. Rinse the soil off of the roots before placing them in the jar, fill with enough water to submerge the roots. Make sure to keep the water filled, and that’s about it.

They’ll be cleaning up your air in no time. Or you can come by Bloom Room and breathe in some of ours.

Reception


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