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Since the new year, I’ve done some research into more sustainable living. That means reducing waste production (plastics, garbage, etc.), not consuming products that are wrapped in unnecessary packaging, buying some food items loosely in bulk, and incorporating houseplants into my life.
Now, I have a few succulents, but there’s one plant that’s of real significance for me. A Moses in a Basket. This plant was a daughter of my nanny’s Moses in a Basket. When she died five years ago, my mom took her plants. Since then, the original plant has provided dozens of daughters.
The daughter I had I was very possessive of - it felt like something that was connecting me to my nanny. The other day, when I came home, I saw that my plant had been snapped off (it’s a good thing my cats are cute and that I love them). What ensued was an emotional breakdown that had me looking like a toddler who just couldn’t control her tears or her quivering lip. Thankfully, my mom is a wizard and she’s trying to propagate the plant in order to root it again.
Having my Moses out of my house was the catalyst to head out to the flower shops to buy some plants – but not without some light reading first. Before I went to pick out my new green friends, I read the books “How to Raise a Plant and Make it Love you Back” by Morgan Doane and Erin Harding; and “Houseplants for a Healthy Home” by Jon VanZile.
The first book had cool tips and trick on how to raise plants and insights in to things that might seem obvious but are easily forgotten, while the second provided 50 indoor houseplant suggestions that can help with air purification, boost sleep and help a person feel better year-round.
Armed with my new knowledge, my mom and I headed to Kensington, PEI, to check out the Bloom House. Owned and operated by Sharon McIntyre Stewart, the store looked like something out of the movie “Practical Magic” – and I mean that as the best kind of compliment. With over 30 years in the floral/plant industry, I decided to pick her brain about what plants are great for the not-so-green thumbs, can help with air purification, and what are some tools that you’ll need to get started.
“Pothos and Sansevieria (snake plant) are hearty and can grow in almost any conditions. They’re also forgiving of neglectful watering practices,” said Stewart.
Next, she suggested succulents, because they’re low maintenance. “They’re very trendy right now. And the majority of them bloom. They come in so many different varieties.”
Air plants were her next suggestion. “They don’t require potting. You just sit them on display, water them one to two times a week by soaking them in water.”
Hearty plants like aloe vera and pineapple plants (they don’t actually grow the fruit; the leaf formation just look like the top of the pineapple) are also easy to take care of.
As for air purifying, Stewart recommended spider plants, lavender, (which also promotes sleep), jasmine, and peace lilies.
One plant I’m interested in putting on my nightstand specifically is a Barberton Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii). They are said remove airborne toxins and release oxygen at night. Given that I always seem to have an asthma flair up in my sleep, maybe a little more oxygen in the bedroom will help.
As for tools to get started, Stewart was quick to suggest a good fertilizer.
“A really good plant book is also great to have as a reference tool. Also have a good potting soil – something that is already nutrient rich.”
While in her shop, I picked up a few plants to greenify my home:
- A fern – they like humidity and can help boost humidity in dry spaces. It’s important to keep them moist because they are susceptible to spider mites (barf).
- Ivy – filtered light and moist soil will make them happy.
- Spider plants – let’s boost that air quality, folks.
- Lavender – keep them away from pets, but they enjoy bright sunlight during the winter. Try moving them to the side of the bed for possibly a better sleep.
I forgot to pick out the peace lily – but at least I know what’s on my list for my next visit.
With that, I bid you adieu - good luck with your greenery, homebodies.
Millicent McKay is a Summerside-based journalist, columnist and blogger. She’s new to this interior decorating and making a house a home gig – but she’s a homebody determined to make every corner feel like… home! For more by her check out modernmillee.com and her Instagram page @modernmillee.