A breath of fresh air: These plants purify the air inside your house

The Indian laurel or curtain fig is often grown as a house plant, most often as a bonsai.

Plants are not just decorative — many are natural air filters that work to clean up the indoor environment, absorbing irritating or harmful chemicals from the air. We find out more about two such plants.


Origins and specifications: Red anthuriums are also called “tongues of fire” because of their bright red, shiny, heart-shaped blossoms. This plant originates from South America. Its flowers may be red, pink, or white. Anthurium is a natural filter for ammonia and xylene. Beware, however: the plant’s sap and leaves may cause allergies in sensitive people.

Red anthuriums are also called “tongues of fire” . (HT file photo )

Where to put it: Anthurium needs a lot of light but, as with many plants, it must avoid direct sunlight, and it needs dampness to develop and blossom. It should ideally be placed indoors, beside a window.

How to look after it: Anthurium requires a little attention: as it cannot bear dry air, you will have to spray a little water on the leaves during the winter. Likewise, it must be repotted each year in a pot with a hole in the bottom. As the plant ages, potting will only be necessary every

Ficus microcarpa (Indian laurel or curtain fig)

Origins and specifications: Ficus microcarpa comes from Asia. It is easily identifiable thanks to its small, oval, shiny and highly decorative leaves. It is often grown as a house plant, most often as a bonsai. Sometimes referred to as “ficus ginseng” – “ginseng” is Chinese for “root” – because of its splendid ramified aerial root which gives it a contemporary look, this ficus will dress up your interiors perfectly. This plant is both invigorating and juvenating, and it provides oxygen, so you can breathe easier at home.

Ficus microcarpa is nicknamed “the beginner’s bonsai” (AFP)

Where to put it: Ficus microcarpa thrives at indoor temperatures between 15°C and 25°C. It dislikes drafts and will shed its leaves if exposed to too drastic a change in temperature.

How to look after it: Despite these precautions, ficus microcarpa is nicknamed “the beginner’s bonsai”. It only requires moderate watering, especially in the summertime, and potting every other year, and it will go on for years. It likes a little dampness, but make sure not to leave standing water in the saucer.




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