Plants

Houseplant Hoarding

I’m N and I’m a Houseplant Hoarder.

It wasn’t always this way. In the past I tried to keep a plant or two alive in the house but the outcome was always the same – a few weeks later they were goners. We did have a small ZZ Plant that survived living in the foyer of our townhouse for quite some time but that was the sole survivor of my black thumb.

My obsession with houseplants is a direct result of my pregnancy with Baby #2. Once my morning sickness subsided enough for me to get out of bed (literally, it was THAT bad) we decided to move out of my parents house and rent a temporary apartment while we continued our house hunt.

That’s when I started worrying. Were the previous tenants clean? Was the apartment ever fumigated? Was it ever a crack den? A meth lab? You know all of the things normal people worry about. I was worrying myself sick over all of the potentially poisonous air we could be breathing in. Then Google led me to houseplants. NASA research concluded that houseplants can help lower indoor air pollution and remove harmful VOCS from the air. I was sold. If it’s good enough for NASA it’s good enough for me. That was all it took for me to become a houseplant pinning machine on Pinterest and I couldn’t wait to start shopping for some air purifying plants.

The apartment didn’t have much room but we were able to fill the space with a few plants and that made me feel better. We opened the windows as often as we could and we let the plants do their job. 8 out of 9 plants survived 4 months of living under my care in the apartment. MAJOR SUCCESS!

Moving into the new house gave me the same toxic/air pollution/VOC anxiety. There was going to be a lot of sanding, priming and painting going on so we decided to wait a few months before moving in. J enlisted the help of his Dad since I was going to be sitting the first few projects out. I was extremely disappointed because J and I always do everything together but keeping our incubating baby safe was a priority. For two months they worked on the house while my daughter and I stayed back in the apartment.

Before I knew it I was back into houseplant mode. As soon as the guys started working in the house I started filling it up with plants. The goal before move in was 30 houseplants. I know that probably sounds insane but ideally you should have 1-3 decent sized air purifying plants per 100 square feet and because our house is approximately 3,000 square feet our house requires 30 plants. See, it’s NOT ME, it’s just the way the math works out.

I’m pretty sure I’m on the verge of houseplant OCD.

I honestly don’t know how I’m going to keep up with all of these plants – but I’ll tell you one thing, I’ve become strangely attached to a few of them. There’s one in particular that I’m really excited about, he’s a Fiddle Leaf Fig. Yep, I said he. Fiddle Leaf Figs aren’t known for being air purifiers (some plants do better than others when it comes to removing certain toxins) but all plants help contribute to having cleaner air and these guys are really cute. They’ve been trending for awhile now and I just had to have one. These plants have a reputation for being hard to please so we’ll have to see how he fares under my watchful eye (and thumb).

Fiddle Leaf Fig

Adorable little fella right? Kinda reminds me of Cabbage Patch Kids. For now he’s living it up in our kitchen which is where I’ve always pictured having one. I really love this plant and he’s been doing great the last few weeks.

The Rubber Plant.

Rubber Plant

These guys made it onto NASA’s list. They’re in the running as my second favorite. Right now we have two of them. The one pictured above sits between our kitchen and family room and we have another one in the corner of the playroom/office.

The Peace Lily.

Peace Lily

Based on NASA research these plants remove multiple toxins and they’re supposed to be pretty easy keepers. They sorta remind me of an “old lady plant” but because they’re supposed to be really efficient at removing multiple toxins and mold spores we have a bunch of them throughout the house. Pictured above is the largest one we have and it hangs out in the corner of our family room between the couches. We also have smaller ones in our bedroom and the laundry room.

The (super hard to kill) Snake Plant.

Snake Plant

These plants were my confidence booster in the apartment. They are no fuss and for that I will always love them. Again, not the prettiest of plants but great for air purifying. I’ve been sleeping with one on my nightstand for months now and just read that they’re great to have in the bedroom because they give off their oxygen at night. Plant Science…Pretty Cool.

The Dracaena Marginata is another good plant to have around for air purifying and they rate well on the NASA list.

Dracaena Marginata

The only con about is that their bottom leaves can get a little funky before they drop as the plant grows.  This one has been hanging out in the playroom and we have one in the family room too.

The Golden Pothos.

Golden Pothos

These guys are supposed to be easy keepers and good air purifiers so we have a few around for the sake of clean air. You usually see them as a hanging plant but we prefer to have them potted. 

These are some other popular houseplants that made the NASA list: Boston Fern, English Ivy, Spider Plant, Bamboo Palm, Philodendron & Weeping Fig.

Ironically I came across an article about plants giving off VOCs –  either from the soil, or from microorganisms living in the soil, or from pesticides that were applied to the plant, or from the plastic container, or from your Mom, blah blah blah. I guess you really can’t win – but at this point I’ll take my chances with the plants. They’re also supposed to help with stress relief and I have to say that living in a home with plants does feel more peaceful than living in a home without them.

I may be becoming a crazy plant lady – but a crazy plant lady is better than a crazy cat lady right? I think so…

Anyway, I hope I’m successful at keeping all of these plants going. If I do, I think it will give me the confidence that I need to start a rooftop organic garden on our second story deck next year!

But in the meantime I’ll be busy in my jungle.

PS: Assume any plant you bring into your home is toxic if eaten by your child, dog or cat. I think it’s safe to say that none of us adults are going to be munching leaves but if you have pets or more importantly children please be careful with your plants. I’ve researched and most of these can be “potentially dangerous” if enough is ingested.

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