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10 best plants for greening your home.

Flowering or foliage plants are nice to have inside the house. They provide a sense of life and distinct character in the home and office, instead of the clean, cold, and barren corners, table tops and shelves.

Aside from the fact that plants clean the air inside the home, sequestering carbon dioxide and then replacing it with vital oxygen, plants also provide a wholesome background and aesthetic beauty in the home. Plants provide an organic presence to an environment that is packed full of lifeless objects.

Plants are like pets. Although plants do not require as much love, care, and attention as house pets, like dogs and cats; they, however, are still living creatures sharing our space and should be treated as such. Most house plants would probably thrive more if they were thought of in these terms - by providing them regular watering, sufficient light, occasional fertilizing, and shower cleaning.

Providing them the right location. Figuring out where to position your house plants so that they best fit in with your decor is an important task. However, your first concern should be finding the best spot in your home that gives them the proper amount of exposure to sunlight. You may also want to be sure that your plant is not exposed to too much heat from gas range or too cold and drying exhaust from an air-conditioner.

A healthy plant will be strong and green. It is easy to tell if a particular spot is not working for your plant if it begins to wilt or its leaves begin to yellow. If the architectural design of your home simply does not allow for a plant to get enough sunlight, you may consider adding an artificial light to help supplement its growth. Plants should not also block pathways or in the way along activity areas, so that leaves do not get bruised, or the plants do not accidentally get knocked down.

Plant Feng Shui. Incorporating the belief of Feng Shui into house plant decorating can be extremely beneficial. Plants are said to energize the room and clear the air both mentally and physically. Plants such as Candle tops (Spathiphyllum), cacti, and peperomias are believed to absorb EMF emissions from computers, televisions and other electronic devices. This is why these types of plants are often found in office spaces. One of the basic principles of using plants in Feng Shui is to soften the effects of corners in rooms. Trailing and hanging plants are often used for this specific purpose.

Bedrooms and other rooms that are commonly used as resting or relaxation rooms, including the bathroom should not be outfitted with spiky or spiny plants. Avoid plants such as cacti, bromeliad, and dragon trees (Dracaena) in these rooms.

On the other hand, rooms that are used for mental stimulation, such as the living room, the library, family room, office, or kitchen, should contain the more spiky or spiny plants. Consider house plants such as snake plants, palms, aloe, and yuccas for these rooms. As much as possible, replace dying and sickly plants.

Here are some selected plants ideally used as a decoration inside the home and office.

1. Orchids -- Potted orchids like Cattleya, Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium, Oncidium and Vanda are often placed in the living room as an accent plant due to their large colorful and sometimes fragrant flowers. They are placed as a centerpiece atop the living room table, dinning table, on the piano or in shelves. After a week or two, replace with plants with fresh blooming flowers

2. Ferns -- Ferns have delicate foliage and require a humid environment. These include the Boston fern, Bird's Nest Fern, Maiden Hair Fern and other forms. They are often placed inside a terrarium in the living room, in the kitchen near the sink or in the bathroom. Ferns need to be watered regularly or misted with water everyday to prevent drying of foliage.

3. Philodendrons -- These are trailing or creeping vine plants with nicely shaped green or yellow-green leaves. There are many cultivars with different shapes of foliage. They are often grown 3-5 plants in a pot with a 2 feet moss-coated pole for them to cling on as they grow taller. Stems that exceed the length of the pole are cut off. These are often placed in wall corners, in bedrooms and living rooms.

4. Aglaonema and Dieffenbachia -- These are nicely colored or spotted foliage plants, size ranging from 1 foot to 2.5 feet. They have large, oval-shaped leaves and quite live well inside the home. They are often used as a background or corner plants in the living room, family room, library or bedroom.

5. Rubber Tree -- These are the Ficus or the "Balete", which are grown in a pot like a small woody shrub or small tree inside the house. These plants can tolerate semi-shaded conditions, with its shinny leathery leaves. The plant is ideal as a corner plant in the living room, bedroom and library.

6. Bromeliads -- These are pineapple-like plants with rosette foliage and with a flower pike in the middle. This group includes the Guzmania, Crypthantus. They have attractive reddish or pinkish centers in the leaf rosette and they have unique long-lasting flowers. They are often used as an accent in living rooms only, and are NOT placed inside the bedroom or in the bathroom as their foliage has spines.

7. Palms -- Palms have graceful coconut-like shaped foliage, and they are favorite house and office plants, like the Ficus. They can tolerate Candle-top and fern plant shade and are easy to grow. There are many available species and cultivars, like the Rattan, Manila palm, Red palm, and Raphis. They are often used as a corner plant in the living room.

8. Anthuriums -- These are herbaceous plants with heart shaped leaves and red heart-shaped flowers with a yellow spathe. There are also those that are large 2.5 tall ones and the miniatures (less than a foot in size) with lots of flowers. They are often placed in the living room.

9. Poinsettia -- This is the Christmas plant, which is often used during the Christmas season up till Valentines Day. They have bright red modified leaves as flowers, while there are also the white and yellow ones. They are also used as an accent in the living room.

10. Flowering Annuals -- these are short lived, colorful flowering plants that are first grown outdoors from seeds, usually group planted in a pot, and later on placed indoors when they bloom. These include Chrysanthemums, Begonias, Coleus, Cosmos, Dianthus, Impatiens, Lantana and Marigold, among others. They are used as accent plants in the living room, either on the table, in corners of other plants and in bookshelves.

House plants can be planted singly in a pot or in a group as in a dish garden or terrarium. They can be grouped together to provide a much surprising effect, choosing a variety of color, shape and sizes. When grouping plants together for appearance, be certain that they share the same light and watering requirements. Plants are dynamic and they create better effects when they are in contrast with one another. Use plants with colorful foliage or flowers for centerpieces.

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Title Annotation:Home & Garden
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Jul 16, 2014
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