4 easy plants for the classroom

Greenery is all the rage in home décor so why not bring plants into the classroom or home office?

Not only are plants pleasant to look at, they can increase the air quality of your classroom. According to TIME magazine a  NASA experiment concluded that indoor plants can “scrub the air of cancer-causing volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene.” Will a few plants drastically change the air in your classroom? Probably not. But given the old, moldy, windowless buildings so many of us teach in, a little extra air purification couldn’t hurt.

Did you know you can order live plants right to your door with Amazon!

Research has also shown that to get the maximum air cleaning benefit from plants, a room needs multiple species, because different types of plants remove different kinds of toxins from the air.

The even greater news is that some of the best plants for air purification are also super easy to maintain.

4 easy plants for the classroom that also purify the air

1. Split Leaf Philodendron

I’m a big fan of getting a live plant delivered already potted and ready to put on the shelf! And this plant is 15% off on Amazon right now so it’s a great time to pick one up for spring.

According to The Bloom Box Club Philodendrons can improve “the quality of the air you breathe” and induce “feelings of calm” as well as trap “dust and help you feel alert.”

2. Aloe

The benefits of aloe to the skin are widely known. According to Medical News Today aloe gel contains “beneficial bioactive compounds…including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants.” It is common knowledge that aloe can ease the pain of a sunburn and promote healing, but did you know the aloe plant “acts as an air purifier by removing harmful pollutants known as VOCs from the air, taking up carbon dioxide, and providing abundant oxygen back into the air around it” (homedetoxing.com).

3. Snake Plant

I LOVE my snake plant. It’s nearly impossible to kill. Mine has gone weeks without water and been fine. You could leave it at school over spring break or the winter holidays and not worry at all.

According to Healthline.com “snake plants help to filter indoor air,” like most plants, but “what’s unique about this particular plant is that it’s one of the few plants that can convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into oxygen at night.” A snake plant will be working hard to purify the air in your classroom 24/7.

4. Golden Pothos Ivy

Golden Pothos Ivy thrives in low light making them easy to grown in windowless classrooms.

According to Maggie Holland, author of “11 House Plants with Health Benefits” ivy can “purify the air of formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide while also helping eliminate odors.”

Bonus: Peace Lily 

Peace Lilies  are hands down, one of the best plants for classrooms or offices with no windows. They “are renowned for removing harmful toxins from the air: everything from ammonia and formaldehyde, to benzene and richloroethylene. They are also known to keep dry environments more moist, perfect for upping humidity levels if need be” (AConsciousCollection).

Don’t forget about your plant accessories

Squirt Bottle

This squirt bottle is what I use in my classroom. It’s a no spill option and it prevents over watering.

Watering Can

You can never go wrong with a classic watering can. I like the accessories that come with this one.

An added bonus…

Having easy plants in the classroom also provides opportunities to give students responsibility. I have one student whose job it is to water the plants. In an elementary classroom it may be a reward. The student who does the best job lining up for lunch each week gets to fill up the watering can and water the plants on Friday.

Need more convincing?

According to Leafscape, “research studies conducted by Dr. Roger S. Ulrich of Texas A&M University and Helen Russell of Surrey University in England, as well as the recent studies by Dr. Virginia Lohr of Washington State University, prove that plants significantly lower workplace stress and enhance productivity.”

Every single one of these plants is also relatively easily propagated, which would make for a great science lesson.

Propagate the Split Leaf Philodendron, Golden Pothos Ivy, and Snake Plant by taking a clipping and putting it in a jar of water. Make sure to change the water occasionally and wait for roots to grow. Once the baby plant has roots of about 2 inches, plant it in soil. It’s that easy!

The Peace Lily is a little trickier to propagate, but not difficult. When you are ready to propagate, carefully remove your mature peace lily from the pot and gently separate the roots. Divide the plant at the root and replant each half in it’s own pot.

Looking for more helpful classroom tips? Check out these posts:

I recommend reading Brené Brown
Recommended reading for future/new teachers

To do list for the summer before your first year teaching

Recommended reading for future/new teachers

7 Morning routine MUSTS for new teachers

You’ve signed a teaching contract. Now what?

How to create an Amazon wish list

I recommend reading Brené Brown

Keeping track of parent contact

Students AND teachers need mindful moments

Or Start Here to check out my posts curated by theme.

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A Teacher's Guide

I am a National Board Certified educator currently teaching in Virginia. I have taught the following: English 9, 10, 11, and 12 (on academic, collaborative, and honors levels); Dual Enrollment English; Mass Communications, Yearbook, Newspaper, and Communications Technology. I have experience in five different school systems, four in Virginia and one in Maryland. I served as my school’s 2019 Teacher of the Year and was a top five finalist for the Teacher of the Year for Virginia Beach City Public Schools. I am passionate about recruiting and retaining quality educators in our public schools. Let me help you find your path to changing lives through teaching!

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