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African Violets love high humidity, so they are perfect for the bathroom!

Scientists are now proving what gardeners have always known: houseplants improve the quality of the air around them. No, it’s not just the elevated mood brought on by the sight of a lovely African Violet in the bathroom or a majestic lemon tree beside the window! Nor is it photosynthesis, the process by which plants release oxygen into the atmosphere. Houseplants really do clean the air around us.

Let the plants do the housework; you're needed in the garden!New research demonstrates that houseplants actually scrub contaminants from the air in two ways: 1) by leaf pores absorbing them, and 2) by microorganisms in the potting mix ingesting them. And since most Americans now spend more than 90% of their time indoors (why aren’t they out gardening like we are?!) and since the EPA estimates that pollutants are present at 2 to 5 times a higher rate indoors than outdoors, finding an all-natural way to clean things up is a godsend!

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A hanging terrarium like this beautiful Edwardian style “glasshouse” saves space and shows off smaller plants such as succulents!

The process of cleaning the air via houseplant is called “phytoremediation” (now we know it’s official: it’s got a $10 name!), and it is estimated that the presence of just 6 houseplants in a 1200- to 1500-square-foot home can reduce air-borne contaminants by as much as 75%. That’s a lot of dust, smoke, and chemicals gone from our homes!

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Kalanchoe is a super low-maintenance plant just right for home or office. Always bright and pretty, and very hard to kill!

So if you have been considering growing a Banana Tree, Eucalyptus, or Coleus this season, go ahead and plant the whole pack of seeds. You’ll have enough little plants to share around with all your friends this spring and summer. And who wouldn’t appreciate a gift of fresh air?!

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