Articles by Jim Gainan

As published in the Billings Gazette

Green plants purify indoor air

Does your house seem a little bare since putting the Christmas decorations away? The spot vacated by your Christmas tree could be a great place for a live green plant or tree.

Did you know that by adding plants to any living or working space is actually making your environment healthier? In 1989, NASA released the findings of a two year study that suggests common houseplants may provide a natural way of purifying indoor air in homes and offices. Plants also filter dust particles and add humidity to the air.

Caring for plants, like petting a cat or walking a dog, also lowers stress and blood pressure. Having green and blooming plants around during these cold gray months comforts and helps prevent the winter blues.

Plants are also an integral part of any interior design. They add a source of vitality, freshness and allow spaces to look finished. Have you ever watched those interior design shows and competitions on TV? Invariably, you see the designers use plants as a finishing touch.

Just as outdoor plants can be used to highlight featured areas or cover up problem areas, houseplants can be used in the same way. A key point to be made here is to know what your decorating style is before selecting plants. If you want to showcase your grandmother's heirloom teacup collection in an antique armoire, you probably don't want to use cactus. Something light and frilly, such as a trailing ivy, delicate bridal veil or an airy fern would be a better match. Or if you have a modern, contemporary design and want to add a focal point, a large-leaved, bold Philodendron monstera or a multi-level grouping of bromeliads might be a more appropriate choice than a grouping of fluffy azaleas and ferns.

Here is a list of popular green plants and some basic care requirements. The care information here are general guidelines, please refer any specific care instructions when you purchase any plant.