Pollen Allergy? How You Can Enjoy Houseplants Without Suffering

So does having pollen allergies mean you’re doomed to using plastic flowers or worse…a household without plants? No. You can keep real houseplants as part of your decorating scheme. Read on to discover how you can easily resolve this conflict between your allergies and fresh plants within the comfort of your own home.

First, there are some houseplants that have a low pollen count, and are less likely to set your eyes to watering and your nose to running. These include:

  • begonias
  • croton
  • passionflower
  • nasturtium
  • miniature roses
  • peace lilies
  • Swedish ivy
  • peperomia
  • bay
  • thyme
  • parsley

These and other low-pollen houseplants will make your home look and smell beautiful, but won’t trigger your itchy eyes, runny nose or sneezing. Ask around at your local florist or garden center for others.

Just as with artificial plants and flowers, dust will settle on plants and contribute to your allergy symptoms. When you are doing your cleaning routine, make sure you give your plants a wipe with a damp cloth to remove any dust that has accumulated on the leaves. Of course, don’t use a cleaning solution… just a bit of water will do. You can also mist your houseplants regularly to wash away any dust that has accumulated on them.

Make sure you don’t over-water your houseplants, as this will encourage mold to grow on the soil and mold can trigger allergies. Keep an eye on the surface of the soil for mold growth and, if you see any, remove the top layer of soil or re-pot your plant.

When you are re-potting your houseplants, always use fresh, sterile potting soil. It is tempting, especially in this age of reusing and recycling, to use the same soil, but if you have allergies then you may be exposing yourself to mold or other irritants. If you have a yard, or know someone with an outdoor garden or composter, you can pass on your used soil to them.

Also, consider using an air purifier that has a filter for trapping pollen and other fine particulates. This will help keep any pollen in the air from drifting around and landing on other surfaces, which will trigger allergies. If you decide to get an air purifier, make sure to pick one that goes beyond resolving your allergies and provides you with a clean and healthy lifestyle.

Pollen allergies don’t mean you have to avoid houseplants forever! Just follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the beauty of houseplants around your home…sniffle-free.

Easy To Grow Houseplants Clean the Air

A houseplant, usually native to tropical climates, is grown indoors for decorative purposes. Houseplants also provide a natural and cost effective way to clean indoor air. According to Dr. Wolverton’s NASA study, it is suggested that at least one potted plant per 100 square feet of home or office space is needed to be effective air cleaners.

The major factors to consider when growing and caring for a houseplant are water, soil, light, temperature, humidity, fertilizers, and pots. Most plants come with a description tag that will guide you on how to care for that specific plant. Below are some basic guidelines for houseplant care.

Water:

  • Both under-watering and over-watering, can be harmful to houseplants.
  • Check the soil moisture to determine whether a plant needs to be watered.
  • Typically, a houseplant needs to be watered about once a week. Avoid rigid watering schedules and only water when needed.
  • Be sure to completely saturate the soil when watering.

Soil:

  • Use a good potting soil mixture. Good potting soil mixture provides the houseplant with nutrients, adequate drainage, and proper aeration. Most potting soil mixtures contain a combination of dirt, peat moss, and perlite or vermiculite.
  • A good potting soil mixture can usually be purchased wherever potted and garden plants are sold.

Light:

  • Plants use light to make energy through the process of photosynthesis.
  • Windows are the most common light source for houseplants. Southern facing windows provide the most sun and light exposure. Western and eastern windows have much less sun and light exposure.
  • Artificial light, such as fluorescent lighting, also provides excellent light quality for houseplants.
  • 8-16 hours of quality light is ideal for most houseplants.

Temperature:

  • Most houseplants grow in a tropical climate which ranges from 60-80 degrees.
  • The majority of homes are kept around this temperature; therefore, houseplants can thrive inside the home.
  • Night temperatures should be 10 degrees lower to duplicate nature.

Humidity:

  • Nearly all plants thrive in 80% relative humidity. Generally, most homes are kept around 20%-60% relative humidity.
  • One of the most popular methods to increase relative humidity is to use a pebble tray beneath a houseplant. To make a pebble tray, fill the drainage tray with small pebbles or rocks. Then fill the tray with water as high as the pebbles or rocks are and then set the potted houseplant on the pebble or rock tray. Be sure to keep the pebble or rock tray full of water.
  • Another way to increase relative humidity is to purchase and use an indoor humidifier.
  • Other simple ways to increase humidity are to group plants together and avoid placing them in drafty areas.

Fertilizers:

  • Adding fertilizer to houseplants provides nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium that the plants need to enhance growth.
  • Fertilizers are usually marked with a number such as 20-20-20. These numbers represent the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
  • A 20-20-20 mixture is good for green foliating plants.
  • A 10-20-10 mixture is ideal for blooming plants.
  • Be sure to carefully read the instructions on the fertilizer container because too much fertilizer can be harmful to plants.

Pots:

  • Proper pot size is an important fact to consider. A pot that is too small may halt a plant’s growth while a pot that is too large may cause root disease because of the excess moisture retained in the soil.
  • Generally a pot can stay in the same pot for about two years.
  • Porous pots (usually clay) provide better aeration because air passes laterally through the sides of the pot.
  • Non-porous pots (glazed or plastic) tend to hold moisture for a longer period of time and can restrict airflow.
  • Be sure all pots have drainage holes. If a pot does not have adequate drainage the plant may end up with root rot. A substitute drainage mechanism can be made for pots without drainage holes by placing clay shards or pebbles in the bottom of the pot before filling it with soil. This will allow the excess water to pool in the bottom of the pot instead of the soil.

Ten Easy Houseplants to Grow:

1. Orchids

2. Spider Plant

3. English Ivy

4. Philodendron

5. Fishtail Palm

6. Rubber Plant

7. Calla Lily

8. Christmas Cactus

9. Butterfly Palm

10. Baby’s Tears

Many species of plants are suitable to grow indoors. To learn more about caring for houseplants and finding the right houseplants for your home, visit the Better Homes and Garden website.

Buying Houseplants

Buying houseplants can give your home a sense of nature and can add beauty to the interior. Like any living creature you have to take care of houseplants as if they were your animal, no ignoring a houseplant and hoping for the best. They require different treatment then outdoor plants so you will have to make the adjustment accordingly. They also take time to grow so be patient and know all good things come to those who wait.

I bought a few house plants and they really have improved the atmosphere in my home. I’m not sure scientifically if they improve the air quality that much or if at all, which we know plants give of oxygen. Its important to know what type of plants require less sunlight to grow because your indoor houseplant won’t see as much sunlight as outdoor plants obviously. I never use chemical fertilizers or pesticides in my home because they are not that safe.

When buying houseplants be aware of the amount of space you have to let your plant breathe and flourish. I bought two ferns and a coffee plant they are quit large so I know I can buy any more houseplants. You should consider how much time can you put into your plant, if your not home and gone on business trips for months at a time no point in getting ab houseplant, it will be dead before you get back. Make sure to accommodate your houseplants in the way you can best provide them with the proper care, I have no regrets getting my ferns.