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A green tonic for high anxiety

As South Africans we have a lot to be anxious about, and the reasons are all too obvious. A home environment that is calming, healthy and nurturing won’t solve the bigger problems but could help us become a little more resilient.

Nature is a great nurturer and plants, especially indoor plants, have the ability  to calm us down, lift our spirits and clean the air. Bring plants into the home and you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.

The power of green

It has now been established that a colour can influence human emotions and our feeling of well-being. What happens is that sustained observation of a colour can affect the  chemistry of the human body, and especially blood pressure.

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Stress-reducing green results from a balanced mixture of yellow and blue. The colour green is the least tiring for eyes and indoor plants come in so many different textures and shades of green that the effect is far from monotonous.

Monstera Adansonii

Monstera adansonii is a smaller, and slower growing version of Delicious Monster.  Use it in a hanging basket, to trail up a staircase or just as a feature in a pot.

Being a tropical plant, it needs a warm, humid room, and bright indirect light but not sun. Water once a week. Do not let the soil dry out but keep its slightly moist. Feed monthly  with a liquid fertiliser at half strength in spring and summer.

Calathea Pinstripe

Calathea is one of the most glamorous of foliage plants. Its multicoloured leaves are striped or patterned and it always stands out as a feature plant. Calathea like a medium to well-lit room, regular watering without waterlogging the soil, and a humid environment. Feed with a liquid fertiliser once a month during summer. Reduce watering in winter.

Areca Bamboo Palm.

Areca bamboo palm is a graceful indoor plant that fills a space without dominating it. It is also a natural humidifier. It likes bright, indirect light. Allow the soil to almost dry out between watering. In spring and summer, feed once a month with a nitrogen-based liquid fertiliser to encourage new leaves. Mist spray the leaves during very hot and dry weather. If the leaves become dusty, wipe them with a damp cloth; this keeps the pores open and maintains healthy leaves.

Peaceful sleep

One of the byproducts of stress is tossing and turning at night. For energy to face the day, our body needs a sound night’s sleep so that it can rest and rejuvenate.

Here are three bedroom plants that will improve your sleep environment and help you sleep better.

Peace Lily

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) has luxurious foliage and a white flag flower that symbolises peace. It is prized for being an air purifying plant, able to filter unpleasant odours and produce oxygen. It can grow in low light but does better with medium light in a warm and humid room. Water once a week and supplement with a liquid fertiliser every now and then in summer.


Sansevieria releases oxygen at night when the temperature cools due to a unique photosynthesis action. This makes it one of the best air–cleaning plants and is especially suitable for the bedroom. It grows in low light as well as bright indirect light. Water sparingly, and only once the soil is dry as this plant doesn’t like to be over watered. It’s a very low maintenance plant that is ideal for beginners.


Lavender is not always available but when you see it, snap it up. The fragrance of lavender helps us to relax and when we relax our heart rate reduces, and that lowers our blood pressure and stress levels. Rub your hands over the leaves or put a sprig or two on or under your pillow. Lavender plants like warmth and filtered sunlight or bright indirect light. Water sparingly.


Flowering plants are mood enhancers, and the brighter the flowers the better the mood.

Zantedeschia Apricot

Zantedeschia, also known as Calla lilies, are guaranteed to cheer up the home with their vivid colours. Plants grown indoors can bloom for up to six weeks. Feed with a liquid fertiliser once a month and remove spent blooms to encourage new blooms.  True to their tropical nature, these mini lilies flower best in a warm, bright room and can take some morning sun.


Pot Begonias also provide long lasting indoor flowers. The large blooms with their frilled petals come in such a huge range of colours that it is almost impossible not to find a colour that will either stand out or tone in with your home’s colour scheme. Make sure they receive good light in a bright room, but not direct sunlight. Water directly onto the soil, keeping the leaves dry. Keep the soil lightly moist, but not soggy otherwise the roots will rot.


The humble chrysanthemum is not so humble. It is a powerhouse of health, as it has been found to reduce indoor pollution, according to a study released by NASA. Find a spot that gets lots of bright light, near windows, or in a sunny room. Keep the soil moist. Should you forget to water them, and the soil dries out, place the pot in a bucket, or basin, with a few centimetres of water in it and let the plant can absorb the water.

Removing dead blooms, stems and leaves keeps the plant looking neat and fresh and lets newer buds and stems flourish.

For more information visit LVG Plants


TEXT: Alice Coetzee. 

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