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It's Stuffy in Here
by Tom Mugridge

Q:We don't have any windows in our office and the room often seems stuffy. Can you recommend any plants that we could bring in that don't need a lot of natural light that would replace some of the bad air with good air? Thank you.

A: There is a plethora of plants that make great indoor plants that will not only help purify the air, but brighten up the room.

Plants in this category include philodendron, oxalis (shamrock plant), spider plant, pothos, English ivy, and Dracena fragrans 'Massangeana' (commonly known as corn plant). You can also use ferns if there's bright light but no direct sun.

Many plants are very effective at removing toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, from the air. Philodendron, although it has a slight toxicity itself (if you eat it) is one of these, but it's still a good plant to use indoors.

Be sure to check any plants you select for their toxicity levels, especially if you think someone may try to make a salad out of them.

I would combine several different types of plants for your new "indoor garden." This way you can see what works and what doesn't, allowing you to fine-tune your office. Combine different foliage types with different flower colors and textures.

There are several good sources with more information on your question. Click on the Amazon.com link below or at the top of the page for books on indoor or house plants. There are a few books available through Amazon that can provide many answers and suggestions.

There are also web sites dedicated to indoor plants. Some of them have a chat room, where you can pose more questions.

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Tom Mugridge

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