British Columbia

Master gardener Brian Minter's tips on choosing, caring for indoor plants

Plants such as Chinese evergreen have been found by NASA to be effective in purifying the air

Plants such as Chinese evergreen have been found by NASA to be effective in purifying the air

Master gardener Brian Minter says indoor plants can give a person a sense of well-being, and purify the air in one's home. (Getty Images/Cultura RM)

Indoor plants don't just look make a home look good, they can also benefit one's well being, says master gardener Brian Minter.

"Looking at all the new home magazines, and the weekend editions of newspapers … the closest you're going to get to a plant is sticks in a vase," Minter told B.C. Almanac host Gloria Macarenko.

"In today's world of high technology, everything [being] so fast and rapid, this is the antidote."

Minter said plants give a person a sense of wellness and homeliness.

"Why are many of the major corporations in Asia sending their chief executives into forests? Because essentially it changes your cognitive abilities, it makes you think better," he said, adding that a study has found that children taught in classrooms containing plants demonstrated a big boost in attentiveness.

Indoor plants can purify the air

He added that plants can also clean the air.

"Plants do clean the toxins — trichloroethylene, benzene, formaldehyde — out of our homes," he said.

"They absorb that and take it out of our homes."

For the best indoor plants that can clean the air, Minter suggests plants that NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America studied and found were effective in purifying the air in space facilities.

These include:

  • Spider plant (chlorophytum comosum)
  • Plants from the philodendron family (like the heart leaf philodendron)
  • Dracaenas (such as the Warneck dracaena)
  • Orchids and chrysanthemums
  • Chinese evergreens  (Aglaonema Crispum 'Deborah)

Looking after indoor plants

Minter said winter can be a tough time for indoor plants, and suggests keep one's home as cool as one can.

"When our heat comes on it takes humidity away, and what needs humidity? Plants do."

He also said to give plants as much light as possible (preferably indirect light), as plants need more light at this time of year.

To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled: Master gardener Brian Minter says indoor plants can clean the air, provide a sense of wellbeing