Britney has her B.A. in Environmental Management and Sustainability, and Cassie has her certification in plant-based nutrition.
If you are new to having houseplants, then a pathos, otherwise known as devil's ivy, would be a great first choice. Inside, pathos generally can grow to around 10 feet long because they are space constrained. Outside, it is possible for them to grow up to 20–30 feet, or even longer in more tropical environments. They do not require a lot of maintenance, and most of the time you forget that you even need to take care of it!
Its leaves are dark green and waxy with some minimal variegation. Pathos do very well in hanging pots or on a table where its vines are able to crawl to the ground. They are attractive yet sturdy and do well in all sorts of living conditions.
Health Benefits: You could say that pathos are experts at cleaning the air. They remove many VOCs and toxins from the air around them, such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, benzene, and more!
Light: Indoor pathos do great in moderate light. They can even tolerate low light, so they are perfect in bathrooms and offices. Just make sure that your plant is not in direct sunlight.
Temperature: Keep the temperature around 65–85°F. Since they are tropical plants, they prefer high humidity but will do fine with medium humidity.
Water: Pathos like when their soil is moist, but be careful to not give it too much water. If the leaves start to turn yellow, you may not be watering enough.
Christmas cacti are one of the few house plants that actually bloom, which makes them a great option. Their blooms consist of colorful, tubular flowers, usually peach, pink, or lilac. Christmas cacti will bloom when the nights become longer and when the temperature is cool, primarily around the Christmas season, hence the name!
Propagation is also an option for this colorful house plant. Just take a cutting from some healthy foliage, and then put that cutting in some evenly moistened soil, and you will see roots develop within a few weeks. In general, Christmas cacti do well in average conditions with moderate care.
Health benefits: Christmas cacti actually release their oxygen at night, rather than throughout the day. This means that keeping one by your bedside may be beneficial to you while sleeping.
Light: Although these plants will adapt well to low-light conditions, they will have an easier time blooming if they are exposed to a decent amount of sunlight. Be sure to not let them get too much direct sunlight, as they are susceptible to burns.
Temperature: Christmas cacti do great in cooler temperatures around 60–70°F.
Water: Be sure to always keep the soil moist, especially when it is flowering. Also, never let your cacti sit in standing water. Root rot will occur.
Aloe vera is an extremely popular house plant and for good reason! This plant has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. It has even been referred to as the "First Aid Plant" due to its possible ability to heal wounds and burns. Aloe vera is a very low maintenance succulent and is a great addition to anyone's home.
If your plant is getting a little too big, just trim off one of its leaves and throw it in the fridge or freezer to later utilize the gel for burns. Even better, keep this plant in a kitchen window for quick access after an accidental cooking burn.
Health benefits: Utilize the gel inside of the leaves to accelerate the healing of burns/wounds. Do not ingest the gel.
Light: Aloe needs lots of indirect sunlight or even a strong artificial light. Typically in the wintertime, they go dormant due to not getting enough sunlight. This means that their growth will slow and their water needs will decrease.
Temperature: Aloe vera does best in temperatures between 55–80°F.
Water: Be sure to not over-water your Aloe. This is by far the easiest mistake made. If over-watering occurs, your aloe plants will most likely fail. As with all other succulents, it is extremely important to let their soil dry out completely in between waterings. Also, be sure to always plant with a well-draining soil mix. There are even special succulent mixes out there that make transplanting extremely easy. We have always had good luck with the MiracleGro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix. This mix is available in almost every department store during the summertime, so it is very convenient. This mix is great because it contains both sand and perlite, which help combat drainage issues. It even contains plant food, so it will give your aloe a little extra needed most, especially if it was recently transplanted. We transplanted the aloe plant below into a terra-cotta pot with some of the MiracleGro mix and we have gotten great results.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Britney Bernard and Cassie Midura