Hello, I'm Jen. 

Welcome to Little Birdie. Here I share my adventures of a Scottish girl in Yorkshire and the North, slow /simple living and seasonal food.

Simple Home - Houseplants To Purify

Simple Home - Houseplants To Purify

It's a fact that plants and botany are having a moment. From fabrics, artworks, fashion to wallpaper, botanical elements are in. And whilst I'm not buying into the whole 'I need lots of cushions, prints and flowery shirts to wear', I am fully embracing the houseplant trend. Although, I'm not thinking of it as a trend at all. It's a way of life now, something I won't dump in the future because its had its day. Houseplants bring joy, happiness, colour on the dullest of days and most importantly of all, they help purify the air around you. NASA have even done research on the long term benefits of plants and their ability to absorb harmful toxins and pollutants from the air. We are constantly exposed to harmful chemicals from paint, cleaning products, plastics, synthetic fibres to name just a few. Research has been carried out that says our homes are up to five times more polluted than the air outside.  Working from home means I'm exposed to this more than most, so as far as I'm concerned, the more plants that can combat this, the better. 

I've mentioned before about doing some research before you buy a plant. Some plants thrive in certain conditions but others will fail miserably - Maidenhair fern I'm looking at you. I've lost several plants over the last few years - ivy hates me as do the very trendy pilea peperomioides, I've murdered three of them and I won't buy anymore. If you travel a lot you may need to think about someone watering your plants when you are away during the growing period.  Many are not suitable for pet owners or young children as they can be toxic if ingested too. 

I gathered up a few of my favourites to photograph but this is only part of my plant collection, I've got a whole lot more! Ivies in hanging planters in the bedroom also help with air purification (hopefully these ones will survive). There are lots of cacti on desks and chests of drawers and pots of herbs on the kitchen windowsill. This year I'm going to add more air purifying plants to both bedrooms and find some nice planters at flea markets or vintage fairs to replace these horrid plastic pots they come in.  I truly believe plants make a house a home. 

In the image above I've numbered up my plants to help with identification and wherever there is an asterisk next to its name on the list below, that is a plant that is great at purifying the air too:

Updated post: The lovely Nicole at Alfie's Studio has come up with a detailed plant care guide and exactly what their air purifying qualities are for each plant she sells online and in her shop, several of my plants came from there. You can check out the plant guide here and see more of her shop here when I visited back in Autumn. 

1/ Weeping Fig* - Likes a little sun and shade. Temperatures of between 16 degrees C to 24 degrees C are ideal but it is not keen on temperatures dropping below 10 degrees C. Once in position, prefers not to be moved and will quite often drop its leaves to show that its not happy if you do move it.  It also doesn't like being re-potted very much. I got this one back in December and I'm going to find it a nice big planter to sit inside rather than re-pot it. I'm thinking of a battered vintage white enamel bucket. Don't keep it next to a window or door. Allow the compost to dry before watering with tepid water. Most important to remember - TOXIC TO DOGS AND CATS IF INGESTED. 

2/ Mother-In-Laws Tongue* - Likes bright light but will also tolerate some shade. Avoid the crown when you water as that can rot and you can water it as little as once a month in the winter. Likes temperatures to be over 10 degrees C. Slow growing but can be re-potted every couple of years if the roots are filling the pot. Gives out oxygen at night so a good plant to keep in the bedroom as it will help you breathe better whilst you sleep. 

3/ Parlour Palm* - Very slow growing. Likes temperatures of 18 degrees C but not lower than 10 degrees C. Happy in shade and indirect light. Very little water needed in the winter but it does like misting to help with humidity. 

4/ String-of-hearts - Very little watering required. Water once and then wait for the leaves to go soft and the compost to dry out before watering again. I've previously made the mistake of overwatering this but it does seem to bounce back. Likes bright light and even some direct sun. I pull back the curtains in my living room to allow it to get plenty of sunshine. Happiest in temperatures between 18 degrees C to 24 degrees C. 

5/ Rubber Plant* - Likes indirect light but isn't keen on temperatures dropping below 13 degrees C in winter. Will drop its leaves if you overwater it and loves a good misting to replicate its native habitat. Prefers its roots to be kept compact. Leaves fairly delicate too and can be easily damaged (I lost two bottom ones by not being properly careful). TOXIC TO CATS AND DOGS IF INGESTED. 

6/ and 8/ Jade Plant - Probably my very, very favourite houseplant. I've had this one for years now and it's also the first house plant I've ever bought. It likes bright light in order to stand tall. If it's put in low light it grows outwards rather than upwards. I rotate the pot once a week too so that light is evenly shared. It likes to be warm, between 18 to 24 degrees C. Water it generously when it has properly dried out. Number 8 on the picture is my baby jade plant. 

7/ Boston Fern* - Ideal temperature of 16 degrees C to 24 degrees C. Not keen on temperatures dropping below 13 degrees C in winter. It's not particularly keen on central heating either so keep it away from radiators. It loves humidity so a bathroom is a good place to grow it. Likes indirect light and rotate it periodically to even out distribution of light on its fronds. Moist soil at all times and I regularly mist mine. 

9/ Oxalis Triangularis - I've had this baby a couple of years now. She is a funny old girl and at the moment looks like she is dying. She isn't. She's going dormant for a period and will bounce back after a little period of rest. You need to stop watering during the dormancy period. During the day she opens her leaves up wide before closing them at nighttime. Likes temperatures of 15 to 21 degrees C but not below 13 degrees C at night. Likes indirect light but don't place it too far away from a window especially if it's in a darker room. 

10/ Succulents - The easiest houseplant to begin with. Likes sunlight, especially on a south facing window. It doesn't really bother about the drop in temperature at night and in winter and can even survive as low as 5 degrees C - they actually love the drop in temperature. Water sparingly, in winter only once a month but only if the compost has dried out completely. Propogation is super easy too. 

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