Thursday, June 21

The best indoor plants for young urbanites

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A basic light guide for young urbanites wishing to introduce plants into their home.

If breathing clean air is an important personal concern, indoor plants will no longer be a luxury, but a necessity for environmental-minded young urbanites.

Indoor plants clean and purify the air that you breathe. One plant can clean and purify an area of 10m². 

Flowering plants such as the chrysanthemum have a high metabolic rate and are able to remove toxic molecules quickly. Foliage plants tend to work slower, but their permanency makes them better suited to interior environments.

Certain plants prefer the bright light zone, whereas others can survive in relatively low light zones. This is a basic light guide for young urbanites wishing to introduce plants into their home.

Bright light
Filtered sun brightens most north, east and west-facing rooms at some time during the day, and creates a semi-circle of bright light (but not necessarily sun) around a window. Indoor plants that need bright light include: African violets, kalanchoe, cymbidium orchids, delicious monster, cinerarias, chrysanthemums, miniature roses, crotons, most palms and all succulents.

The silver lace fern (Pteris ensiformis) comes from shady Asian forests. Picture: Janet Peace

Medium light
The medium light zone of any room normally starts a few metres away from a window. It includes the zone where your hand is able to cast a defined shadow on the plant when put between the window and the plant. Indoor plants that can survive medium light conditions include: Ficus (Ficus benjamina), dracaenas, dumb canes (Dieffenbachia), dagger plant (Yucca elephantipes) and most fern varieties.

Low light
This zone is the area of the room where no defined shadow can be cast on the plant.
Bathrooms, hallways and corners of rooms with south-facing windows normally fall into this zone, and few plants can truly survive this type of environment. Nevertheless, you might like to try aspidistra, peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) or an aglaonema variety.

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