Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Healthful Houseplants

Did you know that houseplants are one of the most healthful and beautiful additions you have in your home?  It's true.  And NASA researchers confirm that "house plants can purify and rejuvenate the air within our houses and workplaces, safeguarding us all from any side effects connected with prevalent toxins such as formaldehyde, ammonia and also benzene". 

Isn't that incredible?  God's creation is indeed so good! (And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. Gen 1:12)

One of my favorite benefits of keeping houseplants all around my home is that they breathe in our carbon dioxide and give off healthy oxygen to the indoors. That's quite a wonderful exchange, don't you think?  So I love to keep lots of green houseplants around for their beauty and health benefits. 

My favorite is the philodendron because it's so easy to care for and it makes pretty vines. A NASA study showed the Philodendron also eliminates formaldehyde fumes from the air. Next favorite is English Ivy which in one study showed that just six hours after English ivy was placed in a room, the air based mold was reduced by 60%.  So if anyone in your family suffers with allergies, put some English Ivy plants around your home and breathe easy.

A common problem when buying new plants is that sometimes little stow-aways come along for the ride. A common stow-away is gnats. Those little annoying bugs that seem to love hovering in your face.  I tried using pest spray specifically made for houseplants but apparently it doesn't kill their eggs still in the soil, so that was a useless avenue.

I finally discovered that gnats live on fungus so going after their source of food is critical. The theory is that if you kill the fungus, you kill the gnats.  So I'm planning to buy some fungicide (Walmart garden center) and soak the plant soil with it.  I don't know if it will work or what affect it will have on any remaining larvae in the soil, however.  But I'd be thrilled if it killed them, too! I'll write an update with my results.

Unfortunately our house plants are quarantined out on the front porch because I couldn't stand those gnats flying in my face for one more second.

If the fungicide spray doesn't work, my only other options are to rinse down the plants to the roots and re-pot them in new soil or surrender them to the trash barrel.  One thing is for sure, I will not be buying my houseplants from big box stores anymore.

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