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Living in a New York state of mind doesn’t mean you have to give up the benefits of greenery and endless colors. No room for a garden or landscaping? Bring the outdoors inside with an array of plants to brighten up your home.

Nature lovers in NYC know they may have to walk a bit to get to the nearest park or botanical garden. Cemented trees in sidewalks are decorative, but they might not keep your spirits up from day to day. While Central Park has 438 noted species of trees and flowers in its midst, adding just a few plants and vertical gardens to your New York City home connects you to nature every day.

Keep Calm and Grow Plants!

Growing plants reduces stress levels. The Journal of Physiological Anthropology points to a study showing people have a lower heart rate and blood pressure when they repot houseplants (compared to those tasked with working on computers). A NASA study notes that plants help you stay focused on tasks, boost productivity, and improve your outlook on life. Ornamental plants filter the air and may brighten a sour mood.    

When giving your home a spring décor update, consider a trip to a flower or garden store. 

Indoor Air and Breathtaking Plants

“Breathability” is essential to creating a welcoming home. Indoor air quality is affected by poor ventilation, cooking smells, pets, cleaning chemicals, tobacco smoke, and volatile organic compounds. Certain types of plants are best for scrubbing contaminants from the air in your home.

Air-filtering plants help to curb sniffles, allergies, and headaches. Consider these green air-cleaners for a stuffy New York house, apartment, condo, or co-op.


Ficus plants, also called “weeping figs,” are good for removing unwanted indoor chemicals like toluene, formaldehyde, and xylene from the air. Plant these fig trees in large pots; they could grow around 10 feet tall. Place weeping figs near windows with partial sunlight. 

Rubber Plants

These plants, with their thick, large glossy leaves, remove bacteria, mold spores, and formaldehyde from the air. Rubber tree plants may grow up to 10 feet tall indoors (or higher if there’s enough space). Ideal room temperatures are 60 at night and 75 degrees during the day.


Snake and Spider Plants

Spider plants, with their thin, leafy blades, are good for bathrooms and the kitchen especially—they absorb the formaldehyde found in many common household cleaners, adhesives, and tile grout. They also fit nicely on a balcony. Snake plants have thick spiky foliage that removes toxins like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and carbon dioxide from the air.

Aloe Vera

With long spiky leaves filled with medicinal gel (great for burns), succulent aloe vera removes benzene, formaldehyde, and carbon dioxide from the air as it emits fresh oxygen. Aloes propagate easily—one plant will produce outshoots for years to come. Aloe vera prefers direct sunlight, so if you don’t have a sunny window in your New York pad, you may want to invest in a plant light.     

Water-Based Plant Gardens

Colors and greenery remind us of nature at its finest, even when we cannot be in the great outdoors. Hydroponic gardens are an option for those whose thumbs aren’t so green or when planting space is limited. The best part? Go “farm to table” in your own home!

Herbs like sage, peppermint, basil, rosemary, and oregano are easy. Vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, and spinach grow well in the right size hydro unit.

Benefits of growing plants in your home hydroponically include: 

●      No need for outdoor garden space

●      No weeds to pull

●      No pesticides (or bugs)

●      Faster growth

●      Watch plants as they grow (without having to go outside).

Filling your New York home with plants, flowers, and potted shrubs brings calm and order to your hectic life. And they’ll help you sleep at night. 

Tara Hickock is an interior designer who also designs and decorates outdoor living spaces. Her designs focus on bringing the outdoors inside to give homes a natural touch. She recently remodeled her own home and created a screened-in sunroom for her guests to enjoy the outdoors, even in winter.  

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