Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Houseplants: Clearing the Air in Your Home

One part of my Spring Cleaning rituals is the care and feeding of my houseplants. I love having live plants in my house; they add warmth and hominess to each room, as well as cleaning and freshening the air. I once read a recommendation to have 1 houseplant per 100 square feet of living space to help improve the air quality in your home. (I can't find my houseplant book right now. It's either been ruthlessly purged or it's in one of the boxes of stuff I still need to sort!) My goal is to get up to 9 houseplants; right now I have 6. I add them gradually.

Here most of them are having a nice, steamy shower in the bathroom. This is how I avoid having to dust them. I do recommend removing all action figures, rubber lizards, and any other random items from amongst the leaves before starting the cleaning process. (Our plants are utlized as Jungles and Forests for various imaginary play scenarios.)

Everyone gets a bath except for the African Violet, she doesn't get wet OR dusted. I really wish she would bloom! Maybe if I put her in a new, sunnier location where she will be less in danger of having her leaves ripped off...

A few will be repotted into larger containers later today, some get a bit of fresh soil added to the container, and everyone gets a scoopful of plant food.

My houseplants aren't perfect, because (in addition to being played with) sometimes I get behind on watering them. The best way I've found to remember is to keep my peace lily directly across from where I sit each day at the dining room table. When the peace lily droops, everyone gets a drink.They would also look better if the air in our house weren't so dry--almost all the leaves on the peace lily are brown and dry at the tips. I haven't figured that part out yet.

We have some temporary additional houseplants joining us right now, too. My kids and I have tried a new method for planting seeds. I've saved the eggshells from recent dozens of eggs. We used a toothpick to carefully poke holes in the bottoms of the shells, filled them with potting soil, and planted the seeds inside. Our plan is to grow the seeds indoors, then carefully crush the egg shells around the root ball before planting them in the soil outside. The minerals in the eggshells are supposed to be good for the soil. We'll see if it works!

I don't buy plastic wrap, so I had to improvise the plastic covering. This cover is a dry cleaning bag with holes cut in the top. I like it because it wraps all the way around the cardboard box. If any overzealous watering takes place, it will be contained within the bag. (There is an old dish towel underneath just in case.)

I'm glad that I have some green things growing right now... the paperwhites that I planted for our Sunday Brunch are a little confused by the time of year, and have decided against blooming after all. It was worth a try!
Go here to see more Green Project ideas!


M&K said...

Hello! I found your post via Heavenly Homemakers... I wanted to tell you- as a fellow houseplant lover, try letting you African Violet root-bound. Also, here's an awesome blog with lots of houseplant info: http://houseplants-care.blogspot.com/2008/05/african-violet-plant-care.html

Michelle said...

Thanks for the tip! According to the blog, my African Violet will go through 'shock' at the new location... maybe it will bloom this summer.