Four Air Purifying Houseplant Arrangements

By P. Allen Smith

Too often foliage is passed over by our attraction to blooms.  This is certainly the case in the garden and I see the same myopic view inside the home.  By embracing foliage you do not in any way sacrifice beauty or color: both are present in a range of forms.  The advantage good foliage has over blooms I that it is long lasting.  Rather than cycling in and out of flower, the color, pattern, and texture remain a constant.

Another compelling reason to fill your bedroom with foliage houseplants is that they help remove toxins from the air pollutants that are found in houses from industrial chemicals used to manufacture building materials and numerous household cleaners that may contain formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia, acetone, and ethyl acetate.  These pollutants are actually absorbed through the leaves of the plants and converted to harmless substances.  Experts estimate that fifteen houseplants make a significant impact on improving the air quality in a house.  So along with foliage houseplants adding color and texture to your bedroom, they also help clean the air.

Air Purifying Houseplants

  • Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii) – bright filtered or indirect light, water sparingly in winter, neutral to acidic soil, minimum temperature of 61 degrees F.
  • Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema modestum)- filtered light, high humidity, water moderately and allow some drying in winter, minimum temperature 45 degrees F.
  • Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans) – full light with shade from hot sun, moderate humidity, water sparingly in winter, minimum temperature 55 degrees F.
  • Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco) – full light with shade from hot sun, water sparingly in winter, moderate humidity, minimum temperature 55 degrees F.
  • Elephant Ear (Philodendron domesticum)- bright filtered light, mist daily in summer, water sparingly in winter, support stems with moss pole, minimum temperature 59 degrees F.
  • English Ivy (Hedera helix) – bright indirect to low light, keep moist, grow as a topiary or in a hanging basket, hardy zones 5 ,6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
  • Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) – requires bright light, excellent drainage, plant crown 1/2 inch above surface of soil, keep the old leaves picked off, minimum temperature 60 degrees F.
  • Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) – full or bright filtered light, light water in winter, minimum temperature 45 degrees F.
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’)- indirect to bright light, high humidity, minimum temperature 59 degrees F.
  • Red Edge Dracaena (Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor’)- full light with shade from hot sun, keep moist in summer, water sparingly in winter, minimum temperature 55 degrees F.
  • Ribbon Plant (Dracaena sanderiana)- full light with shade from hot sun, moderate humidity, water sparingly in winter, minimum temperature 55 degrees F.

Decorating with Foliage

Princess Pine Sedum Used as a Houseplant
‘Princess Pine’ sedum (Crassula muscosa pseudolycopodiodes) is an exotic looking houseplant that adds a beautiful touch to the bedroom. Like most sedums, it grows best when you let the soil dry out between waterings and it also like bright, indirect light near a window. This plant makes a nice counterpoint when combined with large succulent leaves in wreaths and topiaries.

Caladiums as a Houseplant
The heart-shaped intricately patterned leaves of caladium arise from a container of frilly asparagus ferns. Enjoy caladiums as houseplants in indirect-light settings, and then in late fall the foliage will fade. Store the tubers in a paper bag in a warm, dry place. In late winter, pot the tubers up again, begin watering, and your plants will come back to life.

Crotons are Colorful Houseplants
The vivid colors on these crotons make them a focal point in any room. To maintain their richly hued foliage, keep the plant within 3 to 5 feet of a sunny window.

Combine Foxtail Fern and Philodendron for an Interesting Texture Contrast
Blending the bushy fronds of ‘Myers’ foxtail fern with the bold and deeply serrated leaves of a tree philodendron helps to enliven a room. During the summer, the fern produces small white flowers that are followed by attractive bright red berries. Seed from the berries can be used to start new plants.