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Mood Elevators

Houseplants (F. D. Richards, Flickr).

During the cold weather, many gardeners focus their attention on their houseplants.

Some of us also overwinter a few outdoor plants under lights, indoors. For example, I keep some Dragon Wingsâ„¢ begonias as starts for next spring that I first cut back hard in the fall.

However, traditional houseplants such as peace lilies, spider plants, dracaenas, philodendrons, snake plants, English ivy, and clivia are seen in many homes and provide us with an important horticultural interest when we cannot be outdoors. Many are excellent at filtering the air and some even remove indoor air pollutants released by household items that contain formaldehyde, ammonia, and benzene.

Houseplants also humidify and remove carbon monoxide from our air during their process of photosynthesis. There are also a few succulents that release oxygen into our homes at night.

As we tend our indoor plants, it often seems to soothe and calm our spirits. Some health experts have even suggested that our plants may help lower blood pressure, but I think this is probably the case with any hobby or activity that we find absorbing.

I especially love my houseplants that flower during cold grey days: African violets, amaryllis, clivia, Christmas cactus-they are guaranteed to raise my spirits.

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