Houseplants for a Healthy Home by Jon VanZile by Jon VanZile - Read Online

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Houseplants for a Healthy Home - Jon VanZile

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Dedication

Always for Erika.

Contents

INTRODUCTION

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR HOUSEPLANTS

THE PLANTS

ALOE VERA

ARECA PALM

AVOCADO

BAMBOO PALM

BANANA

BARBERTON DAISY

BASIL

BOSTON FERN

BROMELIADS

CHINESE EVERGREEN

CHINESE JADE PLANT

CHOCOLATE ONCIDIUM

CHRISTMAS CACTUS

CROCUS

DENDROBIUM

DRACAENA DEREMENSIS ‘JANET CRAIG’

DRACAENA DEREMENSIS ‘WARNECKII’

DRACAENA FRAGRANS ‘MASSANGEANA’

DRACAENA MARGINATA

DUMB CANE

DWARF DATE PALM

DWARF FRENCH LAVENDER

ELEPHANT EAR PHILODENDRON

EMERALD GEM

ENGLISH IVY

EUCALYPTUS

FLAMINGO LILY

GOETHE PLANT

HEARTLEAF PHILODENDRON

HIPPEASTRUM

HOLY BASIL

HOT PEPPERS

JASMINE

KIMBERLY QUEEN FERN

MONEY TREE

NEEM TREE

PEACE LILY

PHALAENOPSIS

POTHOS VINE

ROSEMARY

RUBBER PLANT

SAGE

SELLOUM PHILODENDRON

SNAKE PLANT

SOUTH AFRICAN GERANIUM

SPEARMINT

SPIDER PLANT

VALERIAN

WEEPING FIG

ZZ PLANT

APPENDIX: HOUSEPLANTS BY HEALTH BENEFIT

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Introduction

Houseplants have been grown for centuries for their beauty, but something you may not know is that many houseplants, from aloe vera to orchids to popular ferns, also have powerful health benefits for you and your home.

In Houseplants for a Healthy Home, you’ll find the profiles of fifty different houseplants—from the common aloe vera plant to the exotic chocolate oncidium orchid—that boast impressive health-giving qualities. Some of them purify indoor air of harmful toxins. Others are great for making tonics, poultices, and tinctures that can be used to treat all manner of conditions, from stomach upset to skin irritation to blocked sinuses. Each plant has been chosen specifically for its air-purifying power, unique physical features, or medicinal properties.

Each plant is presented in a colorfully illustrated profile that tells you everything you need to know about its health benefits. Profiles also include physical descriptions and size expectations—as well as in-depth information on water, temperature, and light needs—plus special growing tips. Best of all, you don’t have to be an expert or buy specialized equipment to grow the plants in this book. In most cases, a sunny windowsill, a watering can, and a handful of fertilizer are all you need. And whether you’re just starting to keep plants or have been growing them for years, you’ll find a chapter full of everything you need to know to be successful, including common terms and definitions, information on what you should have on hand, and ten simple rules for successfully growing beautiful and healthy houseplants.

With all this information and more, Houseplants for a Healthy Home is guaranteed to help you gain a green thumb—and a beautiful, healthy home!

How to Care for Your Houseplants

Before your houseplants can take care of you and your home, you have to take care of them! Fortunately, keeping healthy houseplants isn’t complicated. We’ve laid out the tools, ten simple rules, and common plant and garden terms for keeping your plants lush all year round.

WHAT TO HAVE ON HAND

Indoor gardening isn’t complicated, but there are some important differences between growing plants inside and in an outdoor garden. Indoor plants can’t just grow bigger roots to seek out more nutrients when they’re hungry. Your house is also designed for you, not for your plants. This means air-conditioning, lower humidity, and a lack of proper sunlight. But not to worry: with the right tools, you can create a great indoor environment for your houseplants.

MATERIALS

As an indoor gardener you’re lucky: you don’t need a shed full of special equipment to keep your houseplants thriving. Instead, here are a few helpful tools to keep handy:

VARIOUS-SIZED CONTAINERS. The most important thing with any indoor container is drainage. You can use clay, plastic, ceramic, or just about any other kind of pot, as long as it provides a way for water to drain out.

A WATERING CAN. Any standard watering can found at your local hardware store will do.

GARDEN SHEARS. Kitchen scissors will work for softer plants, but a good pair of sharp shears is ideal. Always keep shears clean.

SPRAY BOTTLES. Consider getting a bottle for misting with pure water and a separate bottle for growth agents like neem oil or foliar feeding. Label your bottles so you don’t mix them up.

GLOVES. These are handy for keeping your hands clean when repotting plants.

FERTILIZERS

The difference between sort-of-healthy houseplants and lush, gorgeous houseplants is fertilizer. Since indoor plants are grown in containers, they rely on you to provide all of their nutrients, especially the big three: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (the NPK on a fertilizer label). There are many products out there that promise their combinations of special vitamins