House plants are used to enhance feng shui through decoration and for décor. Have you known that some of the same plants also offer health benefits?
A snake plant is one of those plants that improves air quality while looking good.
Continue reading to learn more about the snake plant, its health benefits, and how to care for one.
Indoor air pollution
Modern buildings can sometimes have unintended side effects, even if they are built to be energy efficient. Air flow is one of these side effects. Lack of proper air flow can cause indoor air pollution to build up, causing issues like asthma and sick building syndrome.
In fact, modern furnishings, synthetic building materials, and even your own carpet could contain more harmful chemicals than expected. These chemicals can make up to 90 percent of indoor air pollution.
Plants to the rescue
NASA discovered in 1989 that houseplants can absorb toxins from the air, especially in enclosed spaces with little airflow. Newer studies about indoor plants and their ability to clean the air are being based on this study. Air purifiers are more powerful, but plants are more natural, cost-effective, and therapeutic.
Other characteristics of plants include:
- Mood and productivity will increase
- enhance memory and concentration
- reducing fatigue and stress
Scientists at NASA recommend two or three plants per 100 square feet in 8-10 inch pots. Plants are better at removing certain chemicals from the air than others. Chemicals in the home can come from objects such as:
- cleaning solutions
- synthetic materials such as plastic, fiber, and rubber
The most benefit comes from incorporating a variety of plants in a room.
Safety concerns before you buy a plant
In case your home contains pets such as cats and dogs, you may want to rethink air-purifying plants. Some of these plants can be toxic to pets, so talk to the staff at your local greenhouse about pet-safe and allergy-safe options. On the ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants page, you can find out which plants are toxic to animals.
Humidity can also be affected by an increase in plants and lead to mold growth. In order to remedy this, a drain pan/rack can be used, excess water can be removed regularly, and sub-irrigation planters can be used. Placing Spanish moss or aquarium gravel on the top of the soil removes mold as well.
Snake plant benefits
The snake plant, also known as the mother-in-law’s tongue, is a robust succulent that can grow from 6 inches to several feet in height.
The snake plant is also useful for providing a little ambiance in addition to numerous health benefits.
Filter indoor air, even at night
Like other succulents used in the home, snake plants aid in filtration of the air. The unique feature of this plant is the ability to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) to oxygen during the nighttime.
Its ability to help regulate healthy airflow makes it an ideal plant for a bedroom.
Remove toxic pollutants
A snake plant’s ability to remove air pollution from the atmosphere is also well known. Even though snake plants only absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene in small amounts, they can absorb cancer-causing pollutants.
In addition to absorbing and removing harmful toxins, snake plants can also be effective defenses against airborne allergies.
What is a snake plant?
Originally a native of Asia and Africa, Sansevieria trifasciata is fast becoming a common houseplant. A sword-shaped evergreen leaf, almost resembling artificial foliage, covers the entire plant.
It’s easy to care for, easy to grow, and requires little water to survive, which makes snake plants an ideal home decor plant.
Although generally considered to be safe, these plants are mildly toxic if consumed. Its leaves contain a poison that can cause swelling and numbness on the tongue if eaten in large amounts. Children and animals that like to nip should be kept away from this plant.
Types of snake plants
Snake plant foliage usually appears as slender, green leaves with a grey or silver or whitish streak running horizontally across them. This plant can grow several feet tall, and does well in areas with low light.
There are many species of these plants. Some of the most common ones include:
- Snake plant in the shape of a bird’s nest. Another name for the plant is Hahnii. Growing to only 6 inches tall, it is relatively small. Like a bird’s nest, the leaves form clusters that resemble a cup.
- Plants that look like snakes. Round leaves can grow several feet in length on the Sansevieria cylindrica plant, the leaves of this plant reaching outward in the shape of a crown.
- Several snake plants, such as the Laurentii, are popular in the world, known for their green centers and yellow margins.
Caring for a snake plant
Perhaps one of the most popular reasons for including snake plants in décor is the fact that they require little care and attention to grow. They are hardy, resilient plants that can survive relatively dry environments, inside or outside.
Here are some things to consider if you plan to have a snake plant in your home:
- Avoid overwatering. Weaknesses of this plant include too much water. Do not overwater a snake plant. Do not water it when it’s completely dry. A snake plant should only be watered when the soil is completely dry.
- The best sunlight is indirect sunlight. Snake plants do best in partial sun. The plant can still grow in darker corners or in brighter window areas. When fully shaded, it will dull and the leaves will become a bit floppy.
Here’s the bottom line
Snake plants have been proven to be as useful as they are visually appealing. They can be kept indoors or outdoors with little to no maintenance.
Additionally, snake plants can also filter indoor air, a feature that keeps you healthy and safe. Snake plants are appealing to the eye as well as being useful for your health.
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