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Pure Green: October houseplants of the month

Pure Green is about plants with air-purifying qualities which greatly improve their surroundings. Research by NASA has proven that some plants absorb harmful substances and carry them away with their roots. They also release oxygen and help maintain the humidity level in the home. The Houseplants of the Month for October are the stars amongst the Natural Air Purifiers: Spathiphyllum, Gerbera, Nephrolepis and Ivy.


Ivy (Hedera) is a member of the Araliaceae family, and grows on rocks and trees in Asia, Europe and North Africa. The plant is able to climb to a height of 25-30 metres and does particularly well in cooler regions. The Latin name ‘Hedera’ roughly means ‘gripping’ and refers to the roots with which the plant secures itself. Ivy symbolises eternal life, because the plant is evergreen.

Gerbera flowers in Southern Africa, Asia, South America and Tasmania. This flowering plant is now available in 600 different colours, shapes and sizes. Gerbera is known as a cut flower, but it is the plant that can best absorb harmful substances from the environment.

Nephrolepis is a member of the fern family: beautiful foliage plants with very varied appearances which have been growing on Earth since the Devonian period (400-350 million years ago). Nephrolepis is found in tropical rain forests around the globe. This bushy plant with feathered leaves is one of the best air purifying plants for the home.

Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily) comes from the tropical rain forests of Colombia and Venezuela, and is the sort of plant that everyone falls in love with straightaway: soft green leaves, white bracts around a flowering spike, and very interactive. If Spathiphyllum is too dry, its leaves will droop. Its leaves will spring back up again within a couple of hours after being watered.

Choice of range
The range of plants with air-purifying properties is large. There are multiple cultivars available of each species:

Ivy offers a wide range of leaf shapes and colours. There are climbing and hanging forms, and many applications are created with it on arches, spheres, pyramids etc. The leaf colour ranges from smooth green through to variegated and marbled, and there is also a wide variety of leaf sizes. Cultivars such as Eva, Kolibri, Pittsburgh, Shamrock and Wonder are very popular.

Gerbera comes in many different sizes and forms, and is increasingly popular as a patio plant for use in the spring and summer. There is even a hardy variety (Garvinea). For use the home there are a number of series that are offered in many colours, such as Durora, Fiori Line, Sundayz and Revolution.

Nephrolepis is by far the most important species within the ferns, with the cultivars Bostoniensis (often called Boston Fern) and Green Lady (narrow leaf) as the best known varieties. But Corditas, Duffii, Emina and Vitale are also attractive ferns with the same air-purifying properties.

Spathiphyllum is available in many sizes, always with a white inflorescence. The leaves are usually green, although there are also a couple with variegated leaves, such as S. Silver Cupido or S. Gimini. Many cultivars are named after composers: Chopin, Figaro, Vivaldi or Bellini. There are now many varieties of Cupido available.

Sales and display tips for Pure Green
The NASA Clean Air Study provide strong support for the sale of Pure Green. To have a real effect, NASA recommends at least 1 plant (pot size 15/20 cm) per 10 m². The amount of soil is also important, because micro-organisms in the soil absorbs small quantities of air pollutants. Pure Green plants are not only ideal for use in the home, but also in offices and schools. Place the various species together for an attractive green display accompanied by the air-purifying message: ‘These plants will make you and your home better’.

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