General Question

jjpet's avatar

What would be a hardy houseplant that gives the most oxygen possible for a small apartment?

Asked by jjpet (14points) December 2nd, 2007

I know nothing about plants, except that I tend to kill them, although ivy seems hardy enough to last a while. I’m in a very cramped apartment, and since there is no space for a big plant, I could hang up a plant in a basket. Extra points if you know of such a plant that also produces flowers, not just greenery. I live near Raleigh, NC if that matters. Thanks!

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15 Answers

christybird's avatar

To be honest, I find ivy a bit trickier than some. I’m pretty good with plants and I killed an ivy plant once.

My recommendations for nice hardy plants would be, number one, golden pothos. This stuff is easy to find at any store that sells plants, it is hardy, cheap and looks nice in a hanging basket. Water it once a week and stick it somewhere where it will get some degree of sunlight. I think it has a wide range of sun tolerance.

A showier plant that is also nice in hanging baskets is called the wandering jew. Despite its weird un-PC name, this is also a common plant and has pretty purple leaves. This one is not quite as easy as the pothos, but still not bad. Water 1x/week, partial sun.

If you want something easy to grow with flowers, you could always get an African violet. These little guys are cheap and ubiquitous, and fuzzy! I have two. The trick with them, in my opinion, is to not get the leaves wet. I water them “from below” by putting water in the little dish or bowl that they are in and letting them absorb it. Water once a week, they like bright, indirect light. Direct sun is a no-no. They like acidy soils, so I put a few (only a few!) leftover coffee grounds in their pots once a month. Mine flower almost continuously, they are very pretty.

hossman's avatar

When did the Wandering Jew become politically un-PC? It is one of my favorite legends, and not too long was considered a positive symbol of the Jewish Diaspora. See

christybird's avatar

Well, I certainly don’t know of any other plants named after religious or ethnic groups. Whether it is based on a positive or negative legend is not up to me to say, but it just makes me a bit uncomfortable: “Yeah, my wandering jew died because I overwatered it.” “Can I have a cutting from your wandering jew?” Weird. Definitely weird.

gailcalled's avatar

Putting aside any political ramifications, the Wandering J*w is not only pretty and easy, but cuttings will root w. almost no effort. Another easy hanging plant that is also fruitful and has litters of babies (snap them off and jam into a small pot of soil) is the spider plant.

I have a cool but sunny room where I keep geraniums going all winter-long in direct sun; and in the indirect light, I have dug up several kinds of begonia and repotted for indoors. Occasionally I give them all brutal hair cuts.They all flower and can be propagated simply enough to carpet all of NC.

I like African violets, but they do age and get leggy and woody after a while; cheap enough to replace, however.

gailcalled's avatar

I got curious;

Lychnis chalcedonica (Maltese Cross)
Lychnis coeli-rosa (Rose of Heaven)
Lilium candidum, more commonly known as the Madonna lily
Rose of Sharon
160 flowers in Iowa w. Christian names
Medieval Latin religious names of plants

Tennis5tar's avatar

Japanese Peace Lily. Anyone else watch Hot Fuzz?

christybird's avatar

It seems somewhat different if the ethnic/religious term is an adjective – like African Violet or Japanese Peace Lily. As opposed to something like “Flowering African.”

gailcalled's avatar

@christy; true.

occ's avatar

It’s all about the Philodendrons. Super easy to take care of , really leafy and greeny and pretty, and very hardy. Water it once a week or once every two weeks, whenever you remember, and it will thrive. Doesn’t need much light, but does fine in light. It’s really the most versatile houseplant. No flowers, though. My guess is that the more leafy it is, the more oxygen it produces. That’s just a guess but if it’s true, then philodendrons produce lots of O2. You can hang them from baskets too, and the leaves grow down over the sides.

gailcalled's avatar

Personally, I would rank the Philodendrons only slightly above the Aspidistra – the hardiest but ugliest house plant extant. However, philodendrons are green and indestructible. The pothos, w.which I am unfamiliar, looks pretty and sounds low-maintenance. There are also the Jade plants. You can root their leaves easily and have more plants, if you want.

christybird's avatar

Yes, jades are pretty. But easy to overwater, I think.

gailcalled's avatar

@occ:I went in for some PT today. There was a philodendron (w. a small white and green leaf-nice)in a hanging pot, with two vines that were about 6’ long trailing to the ground. As I lay in the dark on my heating pad, trying to meditate, I kept imagining the tendrils creeping up and wrapping themselves around my neck, like Audrey II :-)

@Christy: True about jades. And what about the Christmas and Easter cactuses – hardy and also pretty when they bloom. Also very easy to propagate.

susanc's avatar

The fern family.
Some are easy, some are hard. Look them up.
Asparagus fern is very feathery and sweet.
To make a lot of oxygen you want a lot of leaves that do a lot of transpiration. You
don’t want leaves that are hard and leathery.
Asparagus ferns and plenty of them.
Sunlight through asparagus ferns. Lovely.

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jann's avatar

Spider-plants are supposed to be great for your breathing space, don’t need tons of bright light and are easy to grow. Plus, they have babies so they multiply for you at no cost!

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