With the holiday season fast approaching (and in full swing for some early-bird shoppers), many soon-to-be hostesses are scrambling for ways to touch up their home for the holidays. One of the easiest, longest-lasting, and most eco-friendly ways to add just a touch of freshness is by adding a few houseplants into your decorating scheme.
During the 80’s, tests were performed by researchers in Switzerland at the Institute of Geobiology. The results of this research showed that employees who used to suffer from headaches and work-related fatigue felt better after having worked with a cactus next to their monitors. The guess as to why this is the case is in the cactus itself: it comes from a harsh environment flooded with sunlight. It is possible that cacti evolved to counteract the effects of solar radiation, and that this affects people who are consistently exposed to it.
Who knows? But why not play it safe this holiday season and add a little nature – and health – to your holiday season that will liven the décor. Here are five of the best houseplants you can buy for the holidays.
Pollution Buster: The Feston Rose
By now you’ve probably spent way more cash than you’d like to think about purchasing the latest hepa-filter vacuum and the best floor and wall steamer to help you keep your house clean. A clean home is always at the top of the list when it comes to holiday hostess time.
There comes a point, though, that even the latest technology fails to remove the unhealthy dust particles and pollutants in your home – especially at this time of year when most of us are battening down the hatches and closing our homes up tight. Instead of machinery, you can go for a natural pollution fighter – the Feston Rose.
The Feston Rose plant (Lantana camara) is brilliant in variegated flowers perfect for holiday showing, is very tolerant of low-water (perfect when we get too busy with other holiday plans – the Feston Rose isn’t going to die just because you were wrapping presents all day), and not only does it purify your air but its leaves have a very strong, pleasant aroma that really adds to the holiday atmosphere of your home.
At this time of year, it is extremely difficult to find live Feston Rose plants but you can find seeds that will get going very well and be looking pretty if you get going on them now. One great source is in the Top Tropicals catalog.
Tension Tamer: Mint
Not a notorious houseplant, mints are actually perfect for growing in the home because the number of varieties of mints out there allow you to find the perfect plant for the locations you have available – low light, high light, there’s a mint out there that loves it. And, happily enough, mint is one of those scents that is always reminiscent of holiday time.
In addition to its simple green beauty and the aroma that will put everyone in good holiday spirits, mint has a naturally calming effect that can break any tension. When you’ve got an hour left before your guests start to arrive and you’re so nervous you can’t hardly stand it, you can naturally (and healthfully!) relieve some of the anxiety by crushing and smelling or chewing a mint leaf. The very scent of mint calms nerves, eases nausea, and kills germs.
There is great news for mint lovers, too: it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, you can easily find mint available as pots or seeds and they’re so easy to grow they’re practically black-thumb-proof. To get going quickly without having to wait for seeds to grow – and seriously save some time and money – try out these ebay results.
Pet Lover’s Friend: English Ivy
When you’re looking for a houseplant – especially one that you’re planning on looking beautiful for the holidays – you should generally look for one that is low maintenance. One such houseplant is the English Ivy.
Several species of English Ivy are available, allowing you to choose between your favorite leaf shapes, sizes, and colors – and the result of these selections placed around your home is reminiscent of wreaths. Even better than its looks, though, is something that this houseplant can do which seriously improves a shut-up holiday home’s air and health quality: it has been proven to filter indoor toxins like pet fecal particles that are impossible to effectively remove from your air any other natural way.
You’ll want to place your chosen English Ivy in a sunny location that isn’t in direct light, keep the soil well-drained, and try hanging it because if your beloved pets decide to chew on the leaves … well, they are poisonous. Again, I totally recommend ebay for this beautiful plant because of the wide selection and super low prices.
Flowering Favorite: Christmas Cactus
Unlike its cousins, Christmas Cactus is actually native to rainforest environments. It’s also one of the easiest plants to grow, often showing surprised owners that the less it’s tended the better it performs. And its sizzling array of colors including bright holiday reds drooping off the ends of the multi-sectioned leaves are great, alive and growing holiday décor.
Compact enough for a coffee table, this houseplant is perfect for winter lighting as well – it prefers lots of light without being put directly in sunlight, and the average room temperatures of a winter home will really cause these babies to bloom … literally.
For the best natural décor, water your Christmas Cactus only when the potting soil starts to really dry out (but before the leaves start to wilt). Overwatering this houseplant is the only way you’ll kill this easy to maintain plant. If you keep your home pretty warm over the holidays, make sure to mist the leaves several times a week as the dry air can cause the beautiful blooms to drop before all the festivities even begin. Also, place your décor carefully – when this cactus blooms, it does not want to be moved so don’t place the plant in a location that may be needed for other holiday activities. Jackson & Perkins has a beautiful selection of Christmas Cactus plants specifically geared to the holidays.
Winter Light Lover: Growing Urn
Don’t let the name turn you off – this houseplant should be one of the most popular houseplants ever, regardless of the season or occasion. Sold in-flower, usually a beautiful red flower that will retain its bloom and shape for several months, the Growing Urn thrives in poor and artificial light conditions. Totally perfect not just for winter lighting, but for its easy maintenance during the holiday season.
Stately plants with very wide green leaves that can sometimes appear to be lightly powdered that curves backward and inward toward the plant’s base, the leaves are beautiful but I can’t say enough how stunning the long-lasting flower spikes are.
Easy to find, you should be able to pick up one – or several – of these great plants at your local grocery or hardware store for a quick, inexpensive holiday décor piece that will last for years to come.