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  • Writer's pictureCynthia Brian

Full House

By Cynthia Brian

“Having plants in your house is a natural way to continuously clear yourself!” Doreen Virtue

With another four weeks to go before the start of spring, turning our yearnings for gardening chores to our indoor spaces is ripe with opportunities. For many years we relied on the debunked 1989 NASA report that claimed that houseplants cleaned up to 87% of dangerous VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in our interior air. We thought if we filled our homes with a jungle of plants, we’d breathe easier and even prevent colds. Many scientists still agree that plants do remove pollutants through a process called absorption, although how much is debatable. Recent studies indicate that while a few plants won’t do much purification, a full wall of plants will.

The living walls that we witness at airports and fancy hotels are scenic and inspiring as they freshen the air for the numerous clientele that transit. Creating a living wall of plants and flowers in our homes is not feasible for most of us. Yet, there are other benefits to including plants in our interior designs.

Benefits of Plants Indoors

ü Aesthetic Appeal: Plants add beauty to any room. Plants create a natural feeling, making the atmosphere more inviting and pleasant.

ü Elevate Moods: Being around plants helps to reduce stress, improve moods, and boost cognitive function. Plants make people happy.

ü Increased Oxygen Levels: Through the process of photosynthesis, plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen.

ü Therapeutic Benefits: Tending to plants, whether outdoors or indoors, is calming and meditative. We create a healthier environment that is pleasing to the senses.

ü Enhanced Productivity and Creativity: Studies have shown that plants in a workplace or study area enrich concentration, sharpen attention, and reduce both physiological and psychological stress.

ü Healing Properties: Looking at greenery when recovering from an illness or surgery helps speed recuperation. Research has focused on patients in hospitals, not in homes, but my personal experience demonstrates that transporting nature to the sickbed, speeds the healing process.

Before you bring plants into your home, make sure to choose varieties that are safe for children and pets. For a list of toxic plants, connect with the resources of the ASPCA and the National Poison Control Center. Some plants could be toxic if ingested, and others may cause skin reactions.

National Poison Control website:

Goddess Gardener Recommended House Plants

Sadly, two of my favorite indoor plants that are easy to grow, attractive, and flourish for years are on the poisonous list: Peace Lily (known to be an air cleaner) and pothos (a great climber or trailer). Below I’m listing houseplant suggestions that I grow. I leave it to you to double-check for toxicity that would affect your family or animals.

Orchid: I’ve never met an orchid that I didn’t love. The bad rap that orchids receive as being fussy is a myth. Basically, read the plant tag for best results, provide a few drops of water weekly, and ignore them. Mine are continuously reblooming.

Bromeliad: Super simple to grow, long-lasting, low maintenance, and minimal watering needs. Before the flower dies, the plant will produce offsets, called pups, around the base.

Snake Plant: Referred to as “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue” tolerates low light and minimal moisture. This plant is almost impossible to kill.

Spider Plant: Known as the “Airplane Plant”, this plant is perfect for beginners. It’s easy to care for, produces long, cascading stems, and is great for hanging baskets or trained to a trellis.

Philodendron: Foliage comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Prefers moist soil and vines to eight feet or more.

Parlor Palm: Add a bit of the tropics to your office. Great in dim light. Only prune dead fronds. Don’t overwater.

Fiddle Leaf Fig: Slow growing to fifteen feet or more. This plant prefers east-facing windows. Water only when the top inch of the soil is dry and never feed during the winter months.

Aloe: Every home needs an aloe plant for medicinal purposes. If you get a burn or a cut, snip a piece of aloe to soothe the area. Aloes prefer to be root-bound in sandy soil and require very little water.

Croton: Growing in warm, humid climates outdoors, crotons may reach eight feet, but indoors, they offer an explosion of color in a small pot when ideal temperatures above 60 degrees are maintained. Place pebbles with water under the pot to increase humidity.

These favorites are all relatively low maintenance and will thrive in a variety of environments. They are terrific choices for beginner indoor gardeners as well as those with more experience. As always, when you make a purchase, carefully read the plant instructions tag and follow directions. The number one cause of house plants failing to succeed is overwatering.

No matter what your lifestyle, add a touch of hassle-free greenery to your home and enjoy a full house of indoor nature to keep you happy, healthy, and gardening rain or shine.

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!

Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at Her newest children’s picture book, No Barnyard Bullies, from the series, Stella Bella’s Barnyard Adventures is available now at For an invitation to hang out with Cynthia for fun virtual events, activities, conversations, and exclusive experiences, buy StarStyle® NFTs at Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.


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