Their air purifying properties aren’t the only reason to grow these indigenous plants
LIKE “AIR PURIFYING OUTDOOR PLANTS”: Air purifying indoor plants
Spekboom (Portulacaria afra)
Well-known for its unique carbon-absorbing properties, this indigenous succulent grows easily from cuttings. Evergreen, it reaches 2–4m high. Its small, round leaves are edible and have medicinal properties. Place the branches in a large vase indoors and they’ll absorb a multitude of pollutants.
KEEP READING: 7 reasons to grow spekboom in your garden
How to use it: It has a non-invasive root system making it ideal for containers and planting close to walls. Low-growing ‘Prostrate’ grows 30cm high and is an excellent groundcover. It also looks attractive cascading over banks and retaining walls.
TIP: Plant in full sun or or semi-shade in moist, richly composted, well-drained soil; cuttings will quickly root and soon establish themselves.
Spur flower (Plectranthus neochilus)
An excellent pollutant absorber, this succulent perennial is hardy, water wise and low-maintenance. It has aromatic leaves and produces pretty mauve flowers from September to April. It’s propagates easily from softwood cuttings, which root quickly.
How to use it: It makes a good groundcover on pavements, alongside walkways and under windows. It’s also an excellent plant for breaking down compost.
KEEP READING: 3 Indigenous groundcovers to grow from cuttings
TIP: Plant in full sun or semi-shade. It prefers loam to sandy soil with good drainage and has relatively low water requirements. It’s seldom attacked by pests.
Portulacaria afra ‘Prostrate’
The eco-advantages of ground-covering plants:
- They smother weeds and reduce evaporation from the soil.
- Groundcovers provide a natural alternative to paving.
- They prevent erosion on slopes and banks.
- They provide a habitat for wildlife.
Margaret Roberts Herbal Centre 012 504 2121 [email protected] or www.margaretroberts.co.za