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GROWING GREEN: Houseplants worth growing to keep you going through the winter

As we head into the long winter stretch and hibernate, the outdoor garden takes a back seat to the enjoyment of an indoor one.
We need something leafy and green with a bloom or two to counteract the stark whiteness outside. What better way to brighten our spirits and liven up a room than with a houseplant or two or more?
The added bonus here: with the appropriate plant choices is cleaner, healthier air.
That’s right — certain plants are capable of removing harmful, toxins and chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide and trichloroethlyne from the air around us.
Much plant research was done by NASA scientists in order to create a suitable space station environment. It was found that all houseplants are able to purify air to some degree through the process of photosynthesis.
However, some do a better job than others.
The lovely orchid, for example, rids air of xylene, a pollutant found in many glues and paints. Orchids also respire and give off oxygen at night. Palms, beautiful and easy to grow, are known as natural air purifiers.
Peace lilies, Boston fern, philodendrons, antheriums, shefflera, dracaena, English ivy, pathos, spider plant, snake plant, ficus, gerbera daisy and mums are others that work to keep us healthy.
Many of these plants are easy care, low maintenance and low light tolerant. Do your research and decide which plants are best suited for your lifestyle, home and family.
Note that some plants are not safe for children and pets, such as aglaonema, better known as Chinese evergreen, as it is poisonous.
A good rule of thumb applies indoors as well as out: grow the right plant in the right place.
Houseplants can give you years of pleasure plus you’ll be healthier for having them. Christmas is just around the corner, so why not give someone on your Christmas list the gift that keeps on giving, a houseplant.
Growing Green is a regular feature written by the Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society ( Helen MacPherson, the vice-president of the club, prepared this column.

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