How to Pick Plants that Help

If you’re a gardener, you likely know some plants can contribute more than scenery to our homes and lives. If you’re not a gardener, look closer at the lovely landscaping surrounding your gardening friends’ homes. While you admire their handiwork for its beauty, they might be nurturing specific plants for practical reasons. Some plants are natural air-cleansing and bug-repelling powerhouses, while others such as fragrant, flavorful herbs, are all-purpose workhorses. Plants fight pollution by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Below, discover how to incorporate especially healthy, helpful plants inside and outside your new Florida home.

Helpful Indoor Plants

ICI Brooke model
ICI Brooke model

Spider plants, which make great hanging baskets, are durable, hardy houseplants. They thrive in a variety of light, but do best in bright light. Spider plants are good air cleansers and non-toxic to pets.

Gerbera daisies — another enemy of household odors — come in bright and pastel colors. They’re perfect for well-lit room corners and outdoor porches. They’re also non-toxic to pets.

Helpful Outdoor Plants

Basil is one of the most versatile cooking herbs. It’s almost as invaluable outside, where it repels flies, mosquitoes and other winged pests with minimal attention from you. While some herbs require you to crush their leaves and rub them on your skin to reap protective oils and scents, simply having a healthy pot of basil on your patio table will do the trick.

Catnip got its name for a reason, so if you have a cat, you’ll need to limit Fluffy’s access if you want to keep your plant. While its namesake may be catnip’s greatest danger, catnip is bad news for many common pests such as ants, aphids, Japanese beetles, roaches and stinkbugs.

Lavender, another all-purpose herb, enhances any landscape with its purple blooms, silvery foliage and classic, clean scent. That same fresh aroma scares away moths, fleas, flies, mosquitoes and stink bugs. Dry some lavender sprigs to tuck inside interior sachet bowls.

Lemon balm and mint are two more all-purpose herbs. Lemon balm is an arch-enemy of mosquitoes and mint repels numerous insects. Crush the leaves of both plants to release their scents and oils. Lemon balm attracts bees, which helps both the bees and to pollinate other plants. Mint does double duty as a food flavoring.

Helpful, But Toxic Plants For Cats And Dogs

The rubber tree thrives in low indoor light, It’s a great air cleanser and its size and large leaves are a good, green option to fill a room corner.

Snake plants also are great air cleansers and low-light champions indoors. They release oxygen at night, rather than during the day, like most plants. Pair them with another air-cleansing champion in an area of the house notorious for frequent fumes, smells or off-gassing.

The peace lily is another low-light, fresh-oxygen-producing indoor staple. Plus, it’s easy to grow and its white-hued blooms are a bonus.

The devil’s ivy boast similar attributes, although it prefers bright, indirect light.

Chrysanthemums, or mums, are one of the most versatile air-cleansing and pest-repelling plants. Renowned as a popular outdoor flower in autumn, they’ll work inside in bright light. They chase away Japanese beetles, ticks, silverfish, stink bugs and roaches, among other pests. But, not only are mums toxic for cats or dogs, they’re also toxic for horses.

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