THE DIRT ON HOUSEPLANTS Eco-Friendly Home Multi-taskers

With Earth Day less then a couple of weeks away I thought I’d share a multi-tasker that is right under our noses which  can help cut your electric bill, reduce noise; beautify your home and keep your indoor air clean without even trying…Ye good ole houseplant.  That’s correcto, according to a two-year study that NASA  AND the Associated Landscape Contractor of America conducted, it seems that given the right environment certain houseplants can clean up to 87 percent of indoor pollutants.  Seems plants absorb chemicals in the air, balance humidity and turn carbon monoxide into oxygen…hmmm wonder if it can turn grapes into wine LOL!

Truth be known, I have a black thumb and plants usually try and hide or pretend they’re wilting when they see me walk into a nursery.   But, for those unlucky few that did come home with me, I selected them based on their need for very little water or care (and yes artificial plants were part of my collection!).  The good news is as I started to research for my last book The Ultimate Accidental Housewife: Your Guide to a Clean Enough House, I learned that I had ‘accidentally’ bought what many in the know consider to be environmentally friendly plants.  I also have come to learn that almost any plant has its virtues as I mentioned in the start of this post.  Here is a list of what the experts think should be on your list:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Boston Ferns
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Dracaenas
  • English Ivy
  • Golden Pothos
  • Palms (that’s what I have!)
  • Peace Lilies
  • Marginata (wonder if can use as an ingredient Margarita)
  • Mums and daisies
  • Snake Plant
  • Spider Plants

Plus with summer coming and mosquitos, decorate your deck or patio’s perimeter with Marigolds to fend them off.  These blood-suckers don’t like their smell ‘n are repelled by Pyrethrum, a natural insect repellent found in them ‘n store-bought varieties.

And, lastly we often overlook cleaning our plants which harbor dust and other allergens which can contribute to health issues so here are simply enviro-friendly ways to clean ‘n preen them:

Go Bananas:  Don’t throw out those banana peels after you munch one down. Use the interior of the peel to wipe down your plants leaves.  It will also leave them shiny!

Toss in Some Vinegar:  The saucer on the bottom can grow mold and other mineral deposits.  Just toss in some good ole white vinegar and use a scrub brush, nail brush, or old toothbrush (one you’re preferably about to chuck) to get rid of residue.  And another way to help avoid this don’t over water which will also help to reduce your plant’s lifespan and turn their leaves the colors of fall which is not a good thing…take it from me!

A few words of advice: If you have allergies, check with your local plant shops for their opinions. BUT, regardless what they say, stay away from Venus flytraps unless you’re in the mood to trade in your sneezes for some blood, and first see the cult classic movie Little Shop of Horrors!

What's Fresh from @RachaelRay

Rachael Ray