Bring The Outdoors Inside

I’m hoping you read the previous blog post and made some space for your houseplants. Now it’s time to choose a few but first, why should you have houseplants? It’s one more thing to take care of, one more thing that will need your attention so why do this then?

* Breathing Easier

When you breathe, your body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This opposite pattern of gas use makes plants and people natural partners. Adding plants to interior spaces can increase oxygen levels. At night, photosynthesis ceases, and plants typically respire like humans, absorbing oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. A few plants –orchids, succulents, and epiphytic bromeliads –do just the opposite, taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Place these plants in bedrooms to refresh air during the night.

Releasing Water

As part of the photosynthetic and respiratory processes, plants release moisture vapor, which increases the humidity of the air around them. Plants release roughly 97% of the water they take in. Place several plants together, and you can increase the humidity of a room, which helps keeps respiratory distresses at bay. Studies at the Agricultural University of Norway document that using plants in interior spaces decreases the incidence of dry skin, colds, sore throats, and dry coughs.

Purifying Air

Plants remove toxins from the air –up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every 24 hours, according to NASA research. VOCs include substances like formaldehyde (present in rugs, vinyl, cigarette smoke, and grocery bags), benzene and trichloroethylene (both found in man-made fibers, inks, solvents and paint). Benzene is commonly found in high concentrations in study settings, where books and printed papers abound.

Modern climate-controlled, air-tight buildings trap VOCs inside. The NASA research discovered that plants purify that trapped air by pulling contaminants into soil, where root zone microorganisms convert VOCs into food for the plant.

Improving Health

Adding plants to hospital rooms speeds recovery rates of surgical patients, according to researchers at Kansas State University. Compared to patients in rooms without plants, patients in rooms with plants request less pain medication, have lower heart rates and blood pressure, experience less fatigue and anxiety, and are released from the hospital sooner.

The Dutch Product Board for Horticulture commissioned a workplace study that discovered that adding plants to office settings decreases fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats, and flu-like symptoms. In another study by the Agricultural University of Norway, sickness rates fell by more than 60 percent in offices with plants.

Sharpening Focus

A study at The Royal College of Agriculture in Cirencester, England, found that students demonstrate 70% greater attentiveness when they’re taught in rooms containing plants. In the same study, attendance was also higher for lectures given in classrooms with plants.

How Many Plants?

The recommendations vary based on your goals.
To improve health and reduce fatigue and stress, place one large plant (8-inch diameter pot or larger) every 129 square feet. In office or classroom settings, position plants so each person has greenery in view.
To purify air, use 15-18 plants in 6-8-inch diameter pots for a 1,800-square-foot house. That’s roughly one larger plant every 100 square feet. Achieve similar results with two smaller plants (4-5-inch pots).

Remember that for the best success with any houseplant, you need to match the right plant to the right growing conditions. Learn more in Tips for Healthy HouseplantsFor low light situations, choose a plant adapted to those conditions

*Found on website above


We tend to forget how amazing plants are. I remember when one of my houseplants grew its first new leaf. I was so excited and proud. My little buddy was surviving AND growing. I tend to kill almost everything I grow but somehow these plants were doing good. Good for me right. Here are some plants you can start with:

  1. Mother in Law Tongue (Sansevieria)

Sansevieria is spread out across Africa, from West Africa to Madagascar, and some of the 70 varieties can be found in Southern Africa too. This trendy evergreen plant is also commonly known as the Snake Plant or Viper’s Bowstring Hemp.

Snake Plants are really easy houseplants! They are tolerant of low light levels and irregular watering, two of the many reasons that these shapely plants are so sought after by house plant lovers around the world.

It is a bold plant, with stiff dark green leaves, some banded in a light yellow-green and others sporting variegated speckles or bands of green. 

How to Plant Mothers in Law Tongue

2. Wild Banana (Strelitzia Nicolai)

This is an essential Urban Jungle plant! The Giant White Bird of Paradise comes from the evergreen coastal thickets and forests of eastern South Africa. The Strelitzia Nicolai grows slowly but can reach heights of 2 meters or more, which can make for an impressive display. With patience, it might produce stunning white blooms. Coming from sunny South Africa, the Wild Banana requires very bright light. It can even be placed in direct sunlight if the move is done gradually to allow to leaves to slowly adapt.

Colorful blooms of the Orange Bird of Paradise!

3. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)

The Zamioculcas is a tropical perennial plant native to south-eastern Africa, from southern Kenya to north eastern South Africa. The ZZ Plant is known by many names, including Zanzibar Gem, Zuzu Plant, Emerald Palm, and the Eternity Plant. Zami’s haven’t always been popular, commercial propagation of the species only began in 1996 by Dutch nurseries. Their efforts have ensured that the species has become a favorite indoor plant around the world.

This evergreen plant has air purifying qualities – it is able to remove volatile organic compounds from the air.

ZZ Plants can handle low light, has low water requirements and is very tolerant of occasional neglect – all of which makes for a great, easy-care indoor plant!

Zamioculcas zamiifolia - tolerates low light, low watering and low attention. Also known as Zanzibar Gem, ZZ Plant & Eternity Plant

4. String of Beads (Senecio Rowleyanus)

This creeping succulent vine is also known as String of Pearls and is native to the drier regions of south-western Africa. This quirky looking plant with its bright green ‘beads’ makes a striking addition to the home.

It looks fabulous when grown in a hanging planter with its ‘strings of pearls’ trailing out over the edges.

As with most succulents, the String of Beads requires little care and its water storing abilities allow it to be watered infrequently. Be careful not to overwater the String of Beads as that may increase the chance of root rot.

 String of pearls plant

5. Zebra Plant (Haworthia)

The Haworthia is a large genus of small succulents native to southern Africa. Their popularity is derived from the white zebra-like stripes that adorn their leaves and their easy-care character. The Haworthia goes by many names, including Zebra Plant, Zebra Cactus, Star Window Plant and Pearl Plant.

These South African indoor friendly plants look especially striking in unusual containers with interesting soil mixes and are great desktop plants.

The Zebra Plant likes plenty of sun or bright light, such as windowsills with bright sun exposure. But they will be equally happy in indirect bright light conditions.

Haworthia zebra plant

6. Aloe Vera

The Aloe family is found all over Africa with many species indigenous to South Africa. Most Aloes are drought tolerant, which makes them a great waterwise plant.

The Aloe Vera’s understated elegance and characteristic fleshy cool-green leaves are perfect if you are looking for a plant with muted colours and a subtle presence.

Aloes are low maintenance plants that require little care. Water the Aloe thoroughly in summer but allow them to dry very well between watering.

Aloe plants are native to tropical regions, but even if you live in a place with cold winters you can have a beautiful, healthy aloe plant that you keep indoors. Aloe plants should be potted in a soil mix made for succulents. They like to be dry and warm, not wet and cold, so water only when the soil is mostly dried out. Healthy aloe plants produce "babies" you can break off and pot for a friend.

All these plants are native to Africa. Keeping it home grown. There are so many plants that you can keep in your home. A constant reminder that we are not separate from nature but a part of it.

Image result for once you realize everything is connected

Thank you for reading.



Today We Clean

Let’s start this week by bringing the outdoors to us, in our homes. I’m talking about house plants. Those wonderful little things that grow and purify your home’s air without needing too much water or sunlight. Brilliant right?

But first, since it’s the beginning of a new year and you probably let a few things slide over the holidays…


Let’s clean house

Image result for sweeping scene in practical magic

Well okay, that image might be a little dramatic. I’m not saying get a coven together and banish dead people, I’m saying it’s time to clean out your holiday clutter. Before you go hunting for the perfect specimen to move into your lounge or bathroom, first make space for it. Too much stuff can make sick. No, you are not a hoarder and no one is coming to condemn your house but half done projects or things lying around on the “I’ll get to it” heaps can make you stress and what good are your beautiful new friends then? And did I mention cleaning house burns calories? So here are a few tips on how to de-clutter your house (thank you Pinterest):

  1. One room at a time. Start with your living area first or the kitchen. The two places that get the most traffic and then ask yourself these 10 questions.

10 Questions to Help You Declutter. This will be a great resource when we get moved into the new house and start unpacking!

2. Use a schedule to keep track of your cleaning duties. This will help you from getting  paralyzed by the mess. It can be overwhelming when you don’t know where to start and worse if you only have a little time after work to so. Rise early, get hubby and the kids involved and try not to do it all in one day.

Heather says: Here’s a weekly chore schedule to help keep a clean house.  Home Ec 101 gets a lot of requests for help figuring out how to get and keep a house clean. There’s no big secret here, it’s just a matter of dividing the chores into manageable chunks.… Keep reading...

3. Since you will be cleaning, here are a few recipes for eco-friendly cleaners and how to go more green in one year. ..happy planet, happy life.

 Dreary hardwood floors, sticky vinyl, “unknown substance” in the kitchen? Use our DIY cleaning recipe survival guide for some green cleaning.  #DIY #Cleaning

From opting out of junk mail to using non-toxic cleaning products, here's how to go green in your apartment, one month at a time!

4. Once you’ve thrown everything out, you need to stop things coming back in again. If you want to buy something think about if you really REALLY need it. This year, I’m not buying a single piece of new clothing. It’s scary but I’m doing it. On holiday, I had three shirts and that’s all I wore. It was freeing and terrifying to think what other people might think of seeing me in the same shirts over and over. Turns out, not much. Here’s a great read on living minimally. I’ve done most of it and honestly, it’s the best thing next to a cocktail on the beach. It is freeing.

So as soon as your done with the cleaning, pop back in for the next post on which plants to get (right after your much deserved gin&tonic). It’s super easy to keep them alive if you have the right ones. I’ve managed not only not to kill mine but get them to grow new leaves! I’m taking that as a win for the new year so yah me! Don’t freak out about cleaning your house and going green too much. Life is hectic and there is never enough time in one day but small steps will get you there. Honestly, if I can just sneeze without farting and peeing myself a little in public…I’m calling 2019 a success.  So there’s that.



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