It’s back to school time and we’ve pulled together some of the very best indoor foliage plants to give to local teachers for their classrooms! It’s a real “no strings attached” offer. If you are a local teacher just stop in and let us know you want a plant for your classroom!
Why are we giving away plants this school year? Well, for one, I am passionate about plants, but you already knew that. I was lucky enough to grow up in a family farming business that revolved around plants. Beyond that, both Alec and I went to school in Lunenburg where the greenhouse program placed plants in the classrooms, so it could be said that I even went to school with plants! Until college I didn’t realize how unique of an experience having plants in the classroom was.
I’ve been into classrooms who do indoor plants really well, and I’ve also been into a few classrooms with next to no living things in them (other than the students and staff) and there is a difference in the warmth and welcoming in those rooms. Indoor plants are fantastic for purifying the air and creating a feeling of warmth.
I found lots of information on Google about the advantages of having green plants in classrooms. There’s a surprising amount of studies showing all of the amazing benefits green plants can offer students.
Here’s why every classroom needs at least one plant:
*Studies have shown that indoor plants improve the air quality. Perhaps their best-known attribute, thanks to investigations by NASA as well as several universities, is their ability to clean the air of toxic volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, such as benzene and formaldehyde.
*increase oxygen levels; in photosynthesis, they take in the carbon dioxide that we breathe out, and let out the oxygen that we breathe in.
*They add moisture to the air, releasing it through transpiration. Moisture in the air combats dry skin and nasal passages.
*They might even help kids and teachers with their work! Various studies have shown that the presence of plants reduces stress levels and increases our productivity—plants have even been shown to improve memory and attention span. (Texas A&M Agrilife Extension provides a detailed look at the emotional and physical effects of plants (indoors and out) here.)
Plants are the answer! So now it’s time to pick some plants. We’ve compiled a list of our top 5 plants for classrooms (and offices too!).
Snake Plants (Sansevieria) are commonly known as one of the toughest houseplants around. Their stiff green leaves stand upright and can grow up to 3-4 feet tall. Closely related to the Snake Plant is Mother-in-law’s tongue which has a yellow border around the edge of the leaves. Bright sunlight? No sunlight? No problem! This plant can withstand just about anything – except never being watered or being overwatered. They are super easy to grow and how much fun would it be to tell your students you have Snake Plant in your classroom?
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) are one of our ‘Plants of Steel’! These green foliage plants are nearly indestructible as long as they don’t stay wet all the time. High to low light, dry air and inconsistent watering aren’t an issue for this guy. It doesn’t need pruning (except to remove old leaves as they age out), and it has good-looking variegated foliage. Fun fact: There are a bunch of different varieties, so you can have two, three or four different ones in the classroom and see how they grow differently.
Pothos (Epipremnum) Personally I find these lovely green foliage cascading plants underappreciated by plant lovers everywhere. Maybe it’s because they really are so resilient and hardy that they can be found everywhere, but those traits are exactly why every classroom, office and home should have six! Again, pothos meet the growing requirements for classrooms, low/medium/high light, low water or medium water (just don’t let it be wet all the time). Fun fact: If you grow it up on a totem, the leaves get much larger and more tropical looking. And the bigger they are, the more air they clean!
Any green plant will do, but for classrooms and offices you should try to avoid flowering plants with lots of pollen. Avoiding plants that can be toxic if ingested is probably also a good idea. The criteria we used to pick our top plants was specific to classroom environments.
Classroom plants should be able to:
*Deal with dry air and various light levels
*Deal with hot temperatures or cold temperatures or both (they’re at the mercy of the school’s HVAC system!)
*Deal with lapses in watering or with overwatering, since “watering plants” is often one of the jobs assigned to different kids over the course of the year, and most schools have week-long breaks built into the calendar
*Grow well and look good without frequent repotting or pruning
*Help purify the air
Help us spread the word! If you know a local teacher please tell them to stop in for their classroom plant!
Michelle and Team Lakeview