Companions, air purifiers, mood enhancers and pantry staples – household plants can be all of these, and more.

eing in lockdown means that you now have ample time to flex your green fingers and beautify your living space. Not only do plants recreate a sense of being in nature, but research shows that they can boost our mental and physical health too.

Having a few plants to look after will provide some welcome distraction from the humdrum of lockdown, especially if you are alone during this period.

For those trying to find a calm space in a busy home, where the days are filled with homeschooling and work commitments, a few plants in your workspace will help relieve some stress. An added bonus is that your plants will thrive if you talk to them, but they don’t talk back. It really is like having a “potted therapist” on your desk or kitchen counter.

Plants also play an important role in improving the quality of the air in a room by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen from their leaves. They literally provide some much-needed fresh air at a time when most of us are confined to our homes.

1 The African violet is a classic household plant, loved for its clusters of white, blue or purple flowers. Although they can bloom in low light, they fare best with medium to bright indirect light. These plants can be a bit fickle, so you may need to test the light and move them around until they bloom.

2 Another indoor favourite is the spekboom. This humble plant absorbs more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than most other plants, making it an ideal option at a time when we’re having to spend so much time in our homes without access to fresh air. Furthermore, the spekboom can also be used in the kitchen as its leaves, which have a slightly sour taste, can be added to salads and stews. Place in direct sunlight and water every two weeks.

3 The Parlour Palm is the perfect plant for a home office. It’s relatively easy to care for and it thrives in lower light, as well as medium to bright indirect light. It is also an excellent air purifier, removing toxins and replenishing oxygen in your home. Keep the soil slightly moist and don’t over water.

4 Spider plants will remove not only carbon monoxide from the room, but also other common pollutants such as benzene. They require very little maintenance, but work hard to keep the air in your home fresh. This plant is very adaptable, and will grow in almost all conditions although they prefer bright indirect light.

5 And, if you don’t have any plants at home to tend, why not start from scratch? Take an avocado stone, push some toothpicks through and suspend above a glass of water with part of the stone submerged. Once the stone has cracked open and sprouted, you can pot it with the top peaking just above the surface of the soil. Soon you will have your very own avocado sapling to nurture.

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