Displaying Your Green Thumb in an Apartment

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Displaying Your Green Thumb in an Apartment

Eva R. Marienchild · Feb 5, 2015

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You love to get your fingers in the dirt and root around for the most ideal spot for your new sproutlings. In fact, that’s what you did up until moving into your new apartment. What to do with your green thumb, now? Plenty, as it turns out. You can bring living green into your home even in the tiniest of walk-ups.

Here’s how:

Showcase Beauty and Sustainability!

  • Take inventory of your surroundings. Where are the windows? Locate the nooks and crannies where you will be able to position yourself to water, fertilize, mist and prune your foliage.
  • Have you ever heard of container gardening? You can grow many plants in all sizes of ceramic bowls or bins, from little lemon trees to shrubby, hanging lovelies-in-planters. These sorts of plants can perk up privacy walls or fences or can even be mounted atop pretty rattan stools or ornate benches or chairs. They’ll add definition and, if you choose the right one, will thoroughly clean the air. (More about that later.)
  • Go for exotic blossoms you’d never normally consider; they’ll add Pow! to a room. Tulips or orchids for a rustic patio, for instance, and red, red roses in a colorful pot for your ledge, ala Spain and its horticulturally-enhanced window ledges.
  • Did you know window boxes are making a comeback? Why not grow edibles in them? Can you imagine the treat for passers-by? Try a dove grey box with the brightest of berries.
  • Who says you have to place pots in individual groupings? Bring ‘em together cluster-style. Think Feng Shui: start with the largest in the middle and situate smaller plants around it.

As you can see, you can express your green thumb in various ways… from setting about making yourself somewhat self-sustaining (with fresh fruits and veggies) to establishing a cleaner environment within your small space! Speaking of clean air, let’s discuss which plants provide the freshest breathing in your apartment.

Breathe Easier (And Rediscover Your “Roots”!)

All plants provide air-cleaning properties, but some do so more than others! Yes, we do “need” our a/c and heat, but that inside air can start to get stuffy fast. One great solution is to open the windows for an hour or so to release some of that built-up carbon dioxide. Another solution—particularly appealing to those who love “playing in the dirt”—is to bring in some plants that were inherently designed to improve the quality of your indoor air!

“Oh, that’s only so much say-so,” you might be thinking. “Plants can’t really do as good a job, as, say, a Hepa Filter, can they?” You’d be surprised. In fact, a very methodical and quite scientific study on the subject was conducted in the 1980’s by NASA (researching how best to provide clean air up in space facilities), along with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, and the results were fascinating.

It was found that common organic volatile compounds were filtered out by quite a few plants they studied. These compounds are common toxins, and the long list pf these chemicals includes household products which emit the likes of formaldehyde, benzene and naphthalene from paint, gasoline products, moth balls, upholstered furniture, mineral spirits, liquid or aerosol pest products, tobacco smoke, oil-based paints or thinners, nail polish and aerosol-based personal care products.

“Gosh,” you’re thinking, “that’s all stuff I’ve come in contact with.” Well, most of us have. Now on to how to express your “greenthumbery” and counter the effects of such chemicals entering the body.

  • Adopt some aloe! Yes, housing this cut-healing wonder plant will actually clear out benzene and formaldehyde. It’ll need sun, so look for a kitchen window facing south or southwest, where you’re liable to get lots of light!
  • Grab a Gerber Daisy! Did you like those bright, flowering daisies—with the orange “face”—as a kid? They’re bound to perk up your dining room window! They’ll also cut trichloroethylene, a chemical which your garments will bring home with them when tthey’vebeen dry cleaned. Wherever your dry-cleaned clothes are, that’s where these plants should be. Just make sure your Daisy has plenty of access to the sun’s rays!
  • Now on to my favorite, the Heart Leaf Philodendron. Make sure you keep kids and pets away, as the leaves are harmful if eaten, but the popular climbing vine is hardy and loves a shower (in the tub) once a week, and also likes its leaves to be misted. This plant can take partial shade. It battles formaldehyde from all sorts of sources, including particle board!

These will beautify the home and purify the air in no time!

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