Musings on National Indoor Plant Week (and a book give-away)

by | Sep 17, 2015 | 24 comments

Why do we need houseplants? Why is there a week dedicated to them? Around here, everyday is houseplant day, but for most people, (normal people) it isn’t. So, why is there a need to dedicate an entire week to houseplants (indoor plants)?

orchid show 038

Framed and self watering plant container

People need to realize that the air inside buildings, including our homes is more polluted than the air outside. The pollutants are called VOCs or volatile organic chemicals. These include benzene, xylene, styrene, and formaldehyde, which originate from computers, televisions, computer monitors, carpet, paint and stain, and furniture. The worst pollutant-causing material is pressed wood products. Manufactured homes and RVs are almost completely built of it.  Now that buildings are built better and are more energy efficient, they are sealed tightly to discourage loss of heat and air conditioning. That also seals all the contaminates inside. They have even given a name to the problems caused by the contaminates. It is called SBS or sick building syndrome. This can cause allergies, eye, nose, and throat irritation, fatigue, and headaches. So beyond a good filtration system what can be done? Add some houseplants, of course!

My daughter even has houseplants in her 16th floor apartment

My daughter even has houseplants in her 16th floor apartment

Two books that give the fact as to why we should grow houseplants is How To Grow Fresh Air by Dr. B. C. Wolverton, and Plants, Why You Can’t Live Without Them, by B. C. Wolverton and Kozaburo Takenaka. Back in the 80’s NASA conducted research on plants and their air cleaning properties. These studies were led by Dr. Wolverton. He reveals the top 50 houseplant to use in his book How To Grow Fresh Air.

Dr. Wolverton's two books

Dr. Wolverton’s two books

The good news is, by placing houseplants in an office or home, you can get rid of most of these VOCs! Some of the best plants to use are palms, ficus, ivy, Spathiphyllum or peace lily, Dracaenas, spider plant and Sansevierias. They remove the VOCs just by doing what they do naturally-photosynthesize. Plus, as they do that, they also give us oxygen. It has also been proven that the presence of houseplants lowers blood pressure, lowers the number of sick days taken by people in office settings, and improves moods. Why wouldn’t you have some houseplants? I tell my husband we have the cleanest air and lowest blood pressure around. He just rolls his eyes.

So, as you can see, there is a lot of good reasons to have a week to praise indoor plants. I could go on forever. They are my therapy and I love them. I think everyone should have some houseplants in their homes and offices. It will make you happy, too.

To help you in this endeavor, I am giving away a copy of How to Grow Fresh Air by Dr. B.C. Wolverton next week. Leave a comment below and tell me about your favorite houseplant and next Friday, September 25 I will draw a name using Entries must be received by 8pm on Friday, Sept. 25. I will contact the winner by email, so remember to leave your email, as well. You’ll love this book! Good luck!

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  1. Pam T

    My fiddle leaf fig. She’s so beautiful and bold. Love that plant. and a boston fern, and my epis, and an oak leaf ivy and…. love them all…


      Me, too, Pam! Thanks for entering!

  2. Norma

    I love plants–any kind of plants. I happen to be a Mid West lady farmer; so, have many growing plants –agricultural and those that I just enjoy. We could not live without plants—they provide food, fresh air, and a lot of peace of mind. I will remind my indoor plants that they are being specially honored for the roll they play in my life and give them some extra attention.

  3. Kim T.

    I love my pothos & philodendrons. There are so many kinds!

  4. Angela

    A couple of years ago my co-worker came in with baby spider plants and handed them to
    me. She stated I know you don’t have such a great greenthumb but these will help you
    get started…present day the spider plants have filled the 8 inch pot and grown about a foot in height!
    My favorite is the spider plant to give me the confidence I can have somewhat of a greenthumb!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  5. Jean Mancos

    It’s hard to pick just one but if I had to I would say it was my Thanksgiving Cactus that I got when my father-in-law passed away. It reminds me of him every time I see it and makes me smile, he loved to grow plants!

  6. Lavonn Wiltshire

    They’re All favorites! Right now Monkey Tail Cactus!

  7. Rose Zeigler

    I love my baby tears and my philodendron. What is the plant in the cover picture? The big green one in the middle that’s sort or ferny looking? I need one!


      That is an asparagus fern called ‘Meyeri’ I love it, too!

  8. volare

    It’s difficult to choose a single favorite out of all of mine! I could go with my oldest, a Ficus elastica var. burgundy; visually it isn’t my favorite plant in the house, but I’ve had it since I was in highschool and found it by a hardware store dumpster. That was the late 80s-early 90s. Hardy thing it is!

    My biggest soft spot is for jade plants though. I ‘curate’ a large one for my dad, which has included repotting, rescuing from his overwatering, and getting rid of a scale infestation. Not strictly mine, but def. one of my favorites.

  9. Julia Hofley

    Nice to know there’s a National Houseplant Week. Just back from California where their landscape plants are houseplants here in Michigan. Informative post and Happy Houseplant Week!

  10. Dianna B

    My all time favorite is the African Violet. I have 46 different ones. I love buying leaves and starting
    new plants from the leaves. They bloom in the dead of winter and pick up your spirits just by looking
    at them. They keep me company in the sewing room and the dinning room. I just don’t think a day
    would be nearly as bright without the plants we love and live with.

  11. Darryl Cheng

    My favourite plant is plain old Pothos! Someday I’ll have a living wall just packed with all types: golden, marble queen, n’joy, neon, jade…

    Thanks for this wonderful post! This is what I keep telling the boss to justify all the plants I keep at work!

  12. pal

    I love houseplants of all types and have grown them my entire life. They are all my favorites, but right now I’m especially enjoying hoya, pelargonium and begonia. I also adore all types of succulents, orchids, herbs….. too many to mention!!

  13. Karen Bartels

    My favorite houseplant is any Amaryllis. When days are short they brighten up the days with their large colorful flowers

  14. Jen

    I have NO IDEA what kind of houseplant I have (my husband got it in college, and it’s been with us since). My husband calls it “Globula.” It needs minimal sun, minimal water, and has the most gorgeous shades of greens on its long, tall leaves. Clearly, I need a book about houseplants since I can’t even identify my own!

  15. Shari

    I have had my ficus tree for over 30 years. It started out in a 6″ pot, now it is in a 36″ container. I have moved it with me to 12 different addresses

  16. Marcia Purse

    I haven’t had much luck with houseplants 🙁 Had a spectacular purple passion plant hanging from the kitchen ceiling, killed by my cat Buzz who jumped into the pot from the top of the refrigerator. Had a black jewel orchid that only bloomed once a year, and every time it bloomed, Buzz at the flower. And so many of the best air-cleaning houseplants are toxic to cats… I can’t even bring many of my favorite cut flowers in. And the house I have now has no sunny windows or even “bright indirect light” – so I would need non-toxic plants that can thrive in mostly artificial light AND repel cats!

  17. Lisa

    My favorite houseplant is the Ivy. Even though they seem to be a challenge to me. My pride and joy is a lemon tree I am growing from seed.

  18. Angela Manus

    I think Chocolate Soldiers are pretty, but I also love Boston Ferns. I have a black thumb, though, and tend to kill everythi,g I touch. I’ve even killed an air plant.

  19. Terri deitrick

    I love the Ficus, the Orchid, the African Violet, Red Aglaonema, etc, etc, etc!!!!

  20. Andrea Gapp

    It’s hard to pin point a favorite plant. Right now, I have been enjoying my finger cacti blooming. One of my aloes has put out a flower stalk, and I am patiently waiting for the buds to open up. I really love plants!

  21. Bren Haas

    My favorite houseplants are the ones that survive!!! Great blog … I’m a HUGE fan of yours. Keep on sharing the green Lisa!


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