Illustration for article titled How To Pick Eco Friendly Houseplants Because Yours Are Not arePhoto: maxfluor (Shutterstock)

When we reflect on our personal impact on the environment, our first thoughts might be switching to reusable shopping bags or saving water and electricity. But what about our houseplants?

Countless articles over the past few years have listed the benefits of houseplants – particularly claims about their ability to “Purify air. ” But apart from that little to no scientific Evidence to back it up This fact, ” a recent article in The Telegraph Details of how some houseplants can actually harm the environment. Here’s what to know.

Peat is the problem

The abstract states that most houseplants grow in peat, which Matthew Appleby describes as “a nutritious soil-like substance formed from rotted organic matter over time.” Sounds great, but this peat has to come from somewhere. Per Appleby::

Peat extraction is now generally condemned as unsustainable, polluting and carbon-emitting. Like coal or oil, it is effectively a finite resource. It regenerates, but only forms at a rate of 1 mm per year.

And while plant parents are likely to be well aware of the environmental impact of fossil fuels, few realize that the peat that comes with their plants is also a finite resource, according to Appleby.

How to choose environmentally friendly Houseplants

While the public awareness of the problems with peat is nowhere near as well known as about Environmental impact of growing almonds For almond milk, there is some evidence that it appears to be growing – at least in the UK.

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Specifically, Harriet ThompsonAppleby, a horticulturist interviewed for the article Propagating and Selling Peat Free Houseplants, said the Demand for their houseplants was 200% higher in the first three months of 2021 than in all of 2020.

If this perspective of peat mining has led you to be a more ethical buyer of houseplants, here are some steps you can take to ensure your foliage is as environmentally friendly as possible:

  1. Buy peat-free plants. This takes more time and effort than strolling into your local Lowe’s and scouring the garden center. So get ready for Google.
  2. Repot your current houseplants in peat-free compost. “Just remove the old compost and repot it in a peat-free compost,” says Thompson. However, you may want to wait until your plants actually need to be repotted so that you don’t accidentally create even more waste. In any case, make sure that you handle the roots carefully when repotting.
  3. Buy peat-free compost. Not buying new plants but continuing to care for the ones you already have? Check the label the next time you buy compost and find one that is peat-free.
  4. Grow your own houseplants (from cuttings or seeds) instead of buying a new one. Do you need help with this? We have dealt with before Growing plants from cuttings as well as Growing vegetables from kitchen waste.

By doing Telegraph articlesThompson notes that indoor plants are the horticultural equivalent of fast fashion: “We’ve all done it – you see a plant for sale and think it’s beautiful and you just buy it without thinking.” If nothing else, it can It can be helpful to think about houseplants in these terms – the H&M of horticulture.