Our resident horticulturist Natasha turns over a new leaf, and introduces us to five plants that 'take' as much as they give, removing toxins out of the air whilst giving you something gorgeous to look at.

Now, I have been labouring under the delusion that I am green fingered for as long as I can remember. I’ve hyped myself up so much that even my friends come to me for horticultural advice. My grandad was a very accomplished gardener, so much so that in his twilight years when he was a pensioner at Chelsea he actually oversaw their kitchen garden. My mum too was capable of turning any scrap of garden into an elegant oasis, not only verdant and flourishing but so stylish.  The real truth is I am utterly useless. Average lifespan of a plant I buy is 12 days. My gardening knowledge and skills just don’t match up to my hype. 

I have learnt to compensate for the gap in my skills by keeping things simple. I go for easy to care for house plants that have amazing superpowers. House plants are incredibly efficient at purifying the air around us at home and you know that at Colt & Willow we are all about eliminating toxins in the home. That’s why we ensure that our products use only natural ingredients that are not irritating to us or our pets. We stay away from strong chemicals. 

You will be blown away by the properties these very normal, very simple plants have.  So here are the top 5 plants to keep the air in your home free from toxins. I promise these are all in my home and if I can keep them alive so can you.

Spider plant.
These cuties are so easy to keep alive & are so chic at the moment with their variegated leaves spilling over and hanging down from macramé pot slings. They reproduce little tiny baby spider plants that you can give to your friends and they are so easy to care for. Just water them two or three times a week. The good thing is they soak up toxins whilst being non-toxic themselves. They are perfect if you have small children or a young puppy in the house that wants to chew everything in sight.

Rubber plants or Ficus elastica
These amazing plants actually remove formaldehyde from the atmosphere, you’d be surprised how many household products contain this creepy ingredient. From glues and paper products to fabric softner the chemical is often used as a preservative. So get the rubber plant in to do its thing - It’s big enough to be a bit of a statement in a room and it is easy to grow in low-light conditions. Don’t let the puppy chew this one though its toxic to consume. 

This plant is one of my all-time favourites inside and outside the house. Im the queen of overwatering and the fern just loves the water. Inside the Kimberly Queen fern is a gorgeous mass of pretty fronds that looks stunning in a minimal space.  This one is also good at removing that pesky formaldehyde from your home. Even cooler it is also known as a natural humidifier, it has a high transpiration rate.  

Aloe vera
Aloe vera plants are just stunning with their chunky spikes, giving a very structural form that looks great at home. They also have incredible healing properties the gel inside the leaves can be applied to the skin to help with burns, and rashes. All this and they get rid of benzene and formaldehyde in the air.  This is great benzene is frequently found in the home and exposure to too much of it is not good for us.

‘The benzene in indoor air comes from products that contain benzene such as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents.’ Source CDC US GOV

Just give it plenty of drainage and sunshine it will thrive.

The Snake plant
Or as my Mum called it, mother-in-law’s tongue. This is one funky plant I always have one in every place I’ve lived in. Its inexpensive to buy and makes a big impact. This is a busy one clearing several toxins from the air, including benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene. A long list but Trichloroethylene can be found in drinking water. Xylene and toluene appear in many other household items like cigarette smoke, solvents and thinners. So especially good if you have a garage in the house. Never managed to kill this plant, I think because it copes so well in low light, I can put it anywhere and not get it wrong.

Something about plants is good for the soul, the fact that they are so good for the air and some of them are fairly idiot-proof means they are in my home to stay.  Just don’t tell my friends about the idiot-proof bit, I have a reputation to keep.

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