The (surprising) effects of the plant world on our lives are known, but did you know that a ficus can be a prodigious air purifier?
“A beautiful thing is an eternal joy”. Thus proclaimed Mary Poppins, extracting from her magic carpet bag a large plant (perhaps a variety of Philodendron, a plant belonging to the Araceae family often found in our homes) to brighten up her room. What Mary perhaps did not know was that keeping one or more plants in the house not only has a decorative and highly therapeutic function for the mood (how much did we need green in the last year? How many windowsill gardens were born?), But it is also a powerful filter to purify the air. We asked Rita Baraldi, researcher of the National Research Council of Bologna, Institute for BioEconomy (IBE-CNR), to explain to us how they work and which varieties are best suited to the various environments of our homes.
The complete interview can be found in the January issue, now on newsstands. Here we present some of the varieties with the ability to "clean" the air to choose from.
Dark green lanceolate leaves with white to red heart-shaped "flowers" (spathe). Loves the heat, fears the stagnation of water.
Also known as a phalanx or ribbon, it has long light green streaked leaves and small white flowers. In a bright position, not in current. It resists dry air in apartments well.
We all know it as potos, a climber with heart-shaped green leaves sometimes spotted with yellow. Love the light, not direct. Requires moderate watering.
It is the Christmas star, and it will be easy to find it in our homes at this time of the year. It fears drafts and sudden changes in temperature.
FICUS BENJAMINA AND FICUS ELASTICA
The first with small oval and sharp leaves, no more than 12 cm long, the second with fleshy leaves up to 40 cm long. They love the light, but not direct. They fear drafts.
Rustic plant, typical for outdoor use. It also adapts well to less bright and poorly heated interiors. It requires little care.
It has long lanceolate leaves, from May to August it "blooms" producing spadici (species of small white panicles) wrapped in white spathe. Love humid heat.
Illustration Luca De Salvia
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