If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen some of my quick posts about cool-looking indoor tropical plants being offered by many of the nurseries and garden centers I endorse.

In addition to filling extra at-home time by tinkering with houseplants, miniature gardens or succulents, there are some other really good reasons to grow indoor plants during these unusual times.

  1. Plants expel oxygen, which we need, but they also help humidify the air during dry periods … very good for our health.
  2. Houseplants also help to purify the air by absorbing indoor air pollutants and volatile organic compounds, including benzene from cigarette smoke.
  3. Houseplants can buoy our spirits, making the household seem calmer. I’d say we all need more calming these days.
  4. They can help us live a little longer. An eight-year Harvard study released in 2016 found that American women living amid lots of vegetation had a 12% lower mortality rate than those living in less “green” environments.
  5. You know that plants do better when they’re spoken to, right? Well, if you’re by yourself during this pandemic, you’ll have something to talk to.

More about that air purification

Why invest in expensive electrical air purifiers when you could purchase a few types of houseplants to clean and filter the air naturally and inexpensively?  Much of the research on these beneficial houseplants has been done by NASA scientists researching ways to create suitable space station habitats.

All indoor plants, flowering or not, are able to purify indoor air to some degree through their normal photosynthesis processes. But some were found to be more beneficial than others in removing harmful household toxins, even removing 90% of chemicals in the air in only twenty-four hours!

The three main household toxins of concern are:


These carcinogenic chemicals are used in the manufacturing of synthetic substances and materials and are off-gassed from new materials for some time (up to several years, depending on the material of product in question). Benzene can also be emitted from gas ranges during use, making some types of houseplants below great for use in the kitchen.  This means these types of houseplants may just decrease your risk of certain cancers, asthma, allergies, auto-immune disorders and other diseases. 

For the most effective air purification, choose one 10″ – 12″ potted plant per 100 square feet of your home. 

IMPORTANT:  Please note that houseplants are good for purifying air, but that doesn’t mean they are safe for pets or kids who like to put things in their mouths.  Read descriptions on the plants you choose, and do some research before you bring any plant into your home.

Settling in your new houseplant

No matter what kind of indoor plant you purchase, put it in a new container with some high-quality potting soil when you get it home. Why? Because you’re probably not going to water and care for it on a daily basis the way nurseries and garden centers do. The soil and containers they use are designed to be tended to every day.

If you get a high-end potting soil (cheaper is not better), you’ll probably be able to get by with watering like once a week.