The new year of 2021 represented the start of a period of time that nobody could have imagined before the onset of the coronavirus, Covid-19 . The topics of lockdown, pandemic, virus, general health and mental health appearing at the head of the news agenda every single day. New phrases and instructions became part of everyday parlance: social distancing, shielding, stay at home, work from home, don't mix with friends open your windows...
We all began to realise the importance of nature. Plants, gardens, fresh air, the natural world. In terms of self-help and improving the indoor environment, the following are the biggest success stories of the 'pandemic era':
What can help health during a pandemic?
Every cloud has a silver lining. When we all began to 'get it', early in the year 2020, most of us tried to improve our living conditions - especially at home where we were spending more time during the Coronavirus pandemic. During Christmas, people put up their decorations early and many kept them through to Candlemas, at the begining of February. Larger than life christmas trees, greenery, swathes of evergreens and wreaths adorned houses like never before. People wanted fresh rather than plastic, realising the benefits of bringing the freshness of the outdoors in.
House trees for the indoors
Then there are the house plants. Many people replaced their Christmas trees with jungle plants. The bigger the better. We now all know that plants filter impurities from the air. It stands to reason that large plants have a greater capability than small. Big leaves, tall size, lots of aspirating holes on the underside of the leaves. These are called stomata, which means 'little mouths'. They take in carbon dioxide and oxygen, mixed with impurities and even bacteria. These are absorbed by the plant, which gives off oxygen - normally during the daylight hours. So the plant acts like a giant filtering system. What's not to love about inviting a dirt-busting beautiful dinosaur into your home?
Here are the most popular 'room tree' house guests so far in 2021:
Ficus lyrata (above)
This is also known as the fiddle-leaf-fig because each leaf looks a little like a violin. The large leaves offer a big surface area for air purification and they have become really popular this year. As these plants mature, they tend to lose the lower leaves and the shape becomes more 'tree-like'. The Ficus lyrata in a 27cm pot, which is the largest size, sells for around £104.99.
The ever-popular rubber plant, but with a slight difference (above).
This is Ficus elastica 'Abidjan' and it has rich, green leaves with a hint of burgundy. It is an exceptionally efficient air filtering plant and has oodles of lovely leaves that will help to clean your home. There's no need to say that it looks wonderful too. It's growing in a 27cm pot and the approximate price is generally around £79.99.