The air quality in many homes can be up to five times worse inside than it is outside, warns the EPA. The good news is that improving indoor air quality is easy, with NASA recently revealing that houseplants can eliminate up to 87% of the toxin in air in just 24 hours.
Many other studies have shown that indoor plants can wield a host of benefits – they improve concentration and productivity, promote a better mood, and reduce stress.
If you have a new baby and you’d love to add calming green plants to their nursery, you may have wondered how to do so safely and securely. The good news is, nowadays you can easily grow all kinds of plants (including flowers, trees and shrubs) indoors. You may also find the following design and safety tips useful.
Choosing Safe Plants
Safety should be your primary concern when selecting plants for a baby’s nursery. Toxic plants to avoid include Peace Lilies (which are toxic to cats), Devil’s Ivy (which can cause tummy upset), and Sago Palm (which is highly toxic). Other toxic plants to avoid are English Ivy, Leopard Lily, Holly, and Azalea.
Just a few safe plants, meanwhile, include the Parlour Palm (which requires very little water and care), African Violets (also conveniently low-maintenance), and the spider plant. If you also have pets, then you will also need to check your choices against the ASPCA’s list of poisonous plants.
Plants like Jade, for instance, are safe for kids but toxic to pets. However, the bottom line is, the right plants are amazing health boosters. They can even boost a baby’s cognitive health. A baby’s brain doubles in size during the first year of his or her life, so supporting this growth with plants is one of the best things you can do as a parent.
You may find that the position of plants changes as your baby grows. In the first few months, when the baby still isn’t crawling, plant positioning will depend on your convenience and safety.
For safety’s sake, plants should be completely out of the path you normally take within your child’s room to avoid trips and falls. When your baby starts to crawl and walk, however, potted plants can pose a risk because the baby can turn the pot over.
Some pots are just light enough to be easily turned over, yet heavy enough to cause harm if they fall on a foot or hand, so choose pots which are too heavy to turn over. There should also ideally be plenty of space between your baby’s reach and the soil.
One idea to avoid your baby touching the soil is to place your plant pot into a relatively long, large fiber basket. You can also avoid accidents by hanging plants from the ceiling, designing a high vertical garden on a wall, or placing pots in high shelves that are way out of the reach of your child.
A fun and child-friendly way to add plants to your child’s nursery is to use umbrellas as planters. You can simply hang them around the room by the handle. As your child grows you can easily adjust the height and position of them.
Plus, you can get umbrellas in all sorts of colors and designs which makes them an interesting feature in the room. Old children’s toys such as trucks can also be used as planters. Or you could use empty Play-Doh tubs.
You don’t just want to think about plant positioning from a safety point of view. Plants need natural light to grow and look good, so you need to carefully think about where you place the plants you put in your baby’s nursery.
Ideally, place them in good view of the window. You should avoid putting them too close to the window, though, as too much heat can cause plants to dehydrate and die. Another option is to stick with plants that thrive in low light. The Neanthe Bella Palm is a type of palm tree that does well when lighting is poor.
Be careful when choosing low light plants as many of them are poisonous to humans and pets, including the ZZ and Monstera. It’s important to remember that new parents lose more than 100 minutes of sleep during the first year of their baby being born.
So, watering plants is unlikely to be one of your main priorities. Choosing plants that don’t need much water is recommended. Orchids, Ponytail Palm, and Spider Plants need watering infrequently.
Bringing Natural Fibers And Sustainable Materials Into Your Indoor Oasis
To really bring out the beauty of your plants, ensure that there are natural elements in your baby’s nursery. Think a rattan rocking chair or table, soft fiber footrests, or sustainable wood in furniture and even for your baby’s cot.
Even your baby’s bedding should be natural. 100% organic cotton sheets will ensure your baby is comfortable and add to the overall feel of his or her nursery. You can start collecting these items early, letting friends know you are interested in sustainable presents for your baby if you are having a baby shower.
Some items that can complement the beauty of plants include decorative pieces in biodegradable materials like wood, straw or bamboo; sustainable wood teething rings; and even something as simple as bamboo wipes.
Having various wood and fiber pieces in the nursery will lend a calming vibe to the space – one you will benefit from as much as your child does.
Teaming plants with your nursery design
Popular nursery designs right now include woodland, safari, and Disney-themed. Plants can easily be incorporated into these designs. A woodland-themed nursery can be painted in neutral shades, such as cream, brown, or even pale green.
Finish the look off with wreaths on the walls. Wreaths can be bought ready-made or you could have a go at making them yourself using non-toxic plants. When you’ve finished, use them to frame family photos or images of woodland creatures on your baby’s nursery wall.
If you prefer a safari-themed nursery, you’ll want to opt for bright colors, such as yellow, orange, red, and blue. A plant known as ‘Baby’s Tears’ is a great addition to this theme and you can design it so that safari animals peek out over the top and around the side of it.
When it comes to a Disney-themed nursery, you’re spoilt for choice. Snow White, Moana, Tangled, and Bambi are all well-liked and can be perfectly finished off with real plants. Ponytail Palms resemble the palm trees found on the Polynesian islands where Moana is set while Baby Rubber plants can finish off a Tangled-inspired nursery.
In addition to having living plants in your nursery, you can also include dried and pressed plants in your baby’s nursery. If you have pressed flowers and plants, why not frame them and hang them in strategic points of the nursery? Another option is to spell out your baby’s name on canvas with pressed flowers or even just use pressed flowers to make a beautiful wall-mountable initial.
You can also include paintings, sculptures, and other artworks that represent the beauty of nature. It may not be the real thing, but finish the plant theme off with delicate touches.
A Fox and Ivy printed throw over the nursing chair, a Tropical themed diaper changing mat, or a floral pattern painted or stuck onto your baby’s cot will really make a difference to the overall look, feel, and impact of your baby’s sleep space.
If you love greenery and you want to improve the indoor air quality of your baby’s nursery, indoor plants are a great way to do so. Ensure that you choose plants that are safe for humans and for pets (if you have them).
Finally, ensure plants are out of your baby’s reach, looking for creative and artistic ways to bring them indoors without risking accidents.