I’m in a condo. My desk is next to the window facing south. I’d like to put an indoor plant on each side of the desk. I am hoping to find something at the Toronto Botanical Garden store this weekend. Whether there or somewhere else, could you please suggest a plant or two that’s great for the air, potentially even good for a writer/creative thinker (if there’s such a thing?)
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.
Most people spend a lot of time indoors whether it is at the office or home. Chemicals found in synthetic building materials both in the home or office can lead to “sick building syndrome”. Houseplants go a long way in absorbing these chemicals. Some research shows that plants may filter chemical toxins from the air, creating a healthier environment. Additionally plants absorb carbon dioxode through the natural process of plant respiration, and give off oxygen and moisture (water) in return. This in turn increases the humidity in the room resulting in better living conditions for both you and your plants.
There are a number of plants that are considered “air purifying plants”. You mention that you wish to place the plants on each side of your desk, so I am assuming that you are looking for something that grows reasonably tall. Here are a few types for consideration:
Rubber plant (Ficus robusta): This plant thrives in bright, filtered light and can grow into a tall tree. Water the soil once it becomes dry to the touch. This is an easy to care for plant, however overwatering is the most common mistake when caring for this plant.
Areca palms (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens): It grows best when surrounding temperatures hold around 65 to 72°F (18 to 22°C) and requires bright light, even some direct sunlight. Best to place it near a window facing to the West so that it would still have a good deal of light.
Broad Lady palm (Rhapis excelsa): This plant thrives in any kind of light from full shade to full sun. The best results will likely be found in full, but indirect sunlight. Do not over water. Standing water in the soil will only promote root rot. It can tolerate dry periods, but keep them short. Lady palms prefer sol that is constantly moist.
Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata): Dragon trees grow best in bright light but they can also survive in dim light. Like all houseplants, this plant is susceptible to overwatering.
Weeping Fig ( Ficus bejamina): This plant prefers a bright room with plenty of indirect light, and perhaps even a little direct sun in the morning. when watering this plant prefers moist soil, but do not allow it to sit in water or it will drop leaves and may develop root rot.
Scientific research has shown that interacting with plants eases stress, lowers blood pressure and generally makes people feel happy. I am sure that any or all of the above plants will allow your creative juices to flow.