As the Christmas decorations are being put away for the season, how many of you have thought, “My house looks so empty.” I have the perfect solution: fill your house with green plants!

As you shop for those new plants, there are a few things to keep in mind. How much light do you have in your home? Where are you going to place those plants in your home? Where are the heat ducts in relation to the plant placement?

Plants require different light requirements; low, bright, or high light. What does that mean? High light plants should be placed in a south or west window. Bright indirect light means placing them back away from the window, so they don’t get direct sunlight on them. Low light plants can be placed in a north or east window. Most plants don’t like being placed near a heat vent, so if at all possible keep that in mind as you decorate with those plants.

Also, keep in mind that if you have a cat or dog there are plants to stay away from. In most cases, they would have to have a large snack from the plant, meaning eating a lot of the plant. These are some of the varieties to stay away from, or at the least put them up away from where your pets can reach them. Dieffenbachia or dumb cane is at the top of the list. The sap of the plant causes the tongue to burn and swell. It can be fatal to both humans and pets if ingested in large amounts.

English ivy, peace lily, philodendron and pothos are also on the list. These are very common houseplants that most of us have already. As I said before, your pets would have to ingest a lot of the plant to be harmed, but this is something to keep in mind. Mother-in-law tongue and arrowhead plants are a couple more worth mentioning.

But there are many rewards to having plants in your home. They help clean the air! They help remove toxins like formaldehyde and carbon monoxide from the air. Spider plants top the list. They are easy-care plants and are non-toxic to your pets.

Dracena and rubber plants are also good choices. English ivy and mother-in-law plants are also on the list; just remember to keep it out of reach of your furry friends. Other members of the ficus family, like the weeping fig, remove formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the air. Chinese evergreen plants are another easy care for plant that cut down on the amount of household dust and raise the humidity level in the room.

My husband always teases me that we must have the cleanest air in our house! I do have a “few” plants to take care of, but I love having them in my home.

On our University of Minnesota Extension, Steele County Master Gardener Facebook page, I am doing Master Gardener Minutes about houseplant care. I will be posting different plants each week, so please join me until we can be in the garden again!

Lorrie Rugg is the Steele County Master Gardener Coordinator.

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