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Perks of Plants: How to Pick the Right Plant for Your Space

March 29, 2018

Keeping greenery indoors has proven health benefits. This easy-pick chart helps in deciding which plant is right for every space.

It is no secret that having plants inside can bring about a plethora of positive outcomes. A study at Washington State University found that common varieties of houseplants in work environments reduced 20 percent of dust, dropping employees’ risk for illness. On top of being natural air purifiers, plants have also proven to be mood boosters, enhance concentration and memory, help increase compassion, and improve relationships.

Bridging the outdoors with the indoors through interior design can sometimes pose a challenge as plants are as diverse as the human race, coming in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and require specific environments and care to thrive. Low-maintenance options like succulents and cacti have seen a surge in popularity in modern decor, often being thought of as the quick and easy way to bring greenery into a space. But, pairing the right plant with the right light can inhibit its opportunity to become an expressive piece of artwork that can be great focal points in any room.

Before incorporating plants into a design, it’s important to consider what kind of lighting your space provides and the level of care inhabitants are willing to maintain. Are there large open windows that let in sunlight for most of the day or should the plants be able to grow in a space with only fluorescent lights?

A little green can go a long way. To feel plants’ positive benefits, it’s recommended to have one potted plant per 100 square feet. A green thumb isn’t required to grow the selections below; all of which remove some form of toxin or mold from the air, including benzene, xylene, formaldehyde, and more.

Low light

Where windows are small or are shaded by trees or buildings:

  • Snake plant - Very durable. Allow for the soil to dry. Don’t water often.
  • Peace Lily - Water when the soil is dry.
  • Chinese evergreen – Moderate water when the soil is dry.
  • Boston fern - Needs a great deal of humidity. Mist frequently. Keep the soil damp.

Medium light

Most common exposure; results from average-size windows not blocked by trees or buildings.

  • Flamingo lily (Arthurium) – water when soil is dry
  • Spider plant – easy care level, water well but let soil dry
  • English Ivy – needs regular misting (even moisture)

Bright light

Locations with large unobstructed windows or doors that let in a generous amount of light during most of the day

  • Aloe plant – little water
  • Florist chrysanthemum - water often
  • Dracaena - water frequently, keep soil moist
About the Author

Adrian Schley | Associate Editor

Adrian Schley is an Associate Editor for i+s, where she has been covering the commercial interior design industry since 2018. Her work can also be found in BUILDINGS and Meetings Today. 

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