Trees Are The Lungs of The Earth, and Houseplants Aren’t Too Shabby Either

Trees keep us and the planet healthy, giving us oxygen and cleaning the air.

A nail in my car tire has me sitting in the waiting room at a local garage, (cough-Canadian Tire-cough) right next to a magnificent eight foot ficus tree in a pot by the floor-to-ceiling window. It’s attractive. It’s green. And it’s plastic. Of course.

Sadly, they missed an opportunity to make the waiting room air quality a little more healthy, a little more oxygenated. This environment sure could use it, the proof being that most Canadians could probably identify that familiar Canadian Tire smell—the off-gassing from a profusion of plasticky items.

All trees and houseplants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. It’s the miracle of Earth, the exchange that made life possible on our planet. Let’s have more of it everywhere, please. The amount of plate glass windows going to waste all over the country makes me weep.

When you’ve got the space, and a great source of natural light, why plastic? Yes, there’s the argument that real plants are hard to look after. They’re really not: a slosh of water once a week will keep a ficus tree happy, and the waterer gets a nice dose of oxygen while they’re at it. (And that lovely wet-earth smell.)

Indoor trees and plants simply make the indoors a better place to be. Botanists researching plants and space travel discovered that houseplants purify the air by absorbing toxins. Houseplants that are especially good at purifying indoor air are spider plants, areca palms, Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) and Sanseveria. Sansevieria, the tall spiky plant also known as Mother In Laws tongue is also one of those hard to kill plants: it’s drought resistant. There’s no excuse for not having a few of those.

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