If you think "clearing energy" sounds weirdly New Age, consider that people in China have been talking about the importance of "qi" in the home for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese philosophy feng shui uses plants to balance the flow of energy in indoor spaces.
Plant lovers in this country agree that houseplants make for better energy, and science is on their side. "Higher exposure to greenness has been consistently linked to lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress," according to a Harvard School of Public Health research team. The study found that participants with the most plants in and around their living spaces had significantly lower mortality rates than their colleagues with less plants in their lives.
So why not bring a few leafy friends into your own home to clear out bad energy, put your life energy back into harmony, and reduce your mortality risk? Here are five wonderful candidates for the job.
1. Moth Orchids
The orchid is one of the four noble plants in Chinese culture and reputed in feng shui to bring harmony to disharmonious homes by filling the space with calm, clear energy. The stunning flowers on graceful stems seem to bloom forever and, with proper care, rebloom many times as a long-term houseplant.
Pick the moth orchid (Phalaenopsis spp.) for an easy-care orchid that flowers for months and thrives on neglect. If you pot in well-draining soil, provide bright, indirect light, and resist watering too much, the plant's serene beauty is sure to chase away negative vibes.
2. Areca Palms
The gracious flow of the areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) is the botanical equivalent of a light warm breeze, softening the energy in any living space. These palms have multiple cane-like stems, with attractive arching fronds and narrow, feathery leaflets. Celebrated in feng shui for many years for its air purification abilities, the plant was more recently named by NASA as one of the best at removing harmful toxins from the air for a clean living environment.
Areca palms grow to 8 feet tall indoors and make a real statement in any room. To keep the good energy going, plant your palm in soil with excellent drainage and place it in a fairly bright room that gets indirect sunlight. Water only when the top of the soil is dry.
3. Peace Lilies
Negative energy may seem to lurk in shady spots in your home, areas the rays of the sun never touch. The peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp.) is the perfect plant for clearing out the heavy air since it thrives in low-light areas. With its large, vivid green leaves and shining white blooms, peace lilies calm your spirit just by their presence, and, in feng shui, they are believed to clear out fear and negativity. Part of this air cleaning has been proven scientifically, since NASA established that these plants absorb environmental toxins like mold spores and chemical vapors, and can improve air quality by up to 60%.
According to feng shui, only healthy plants bring good energy to a home, so keep those peace lilies happy. They'll need weekly watering and well draining soil.
4. Jade Plant Succulents
Any sluggish energy in your home can weigh down material success by reducing confidence, enthusiasm, and persistence. If that's your situation, feng shui recommends a money plant to clear away the negativity and open new doors to prosperity. One plant assigned that role is the jade plant (Crassula Ovata), a happy-go-lucky succulent with leaves shaped like coins. It is believed to generate positive energy and activate financial luck, and a healthy, vibrant jade plant certainly has a generous, abundant look that fits with this reputation.
Jade plants are as easy-going as plants can get. They prefer some sun, good drainage, and infrequent water, since they store water up in their puffy leaves, itself a good lesson for how to become prosperous. If you need more financial luck than one jade offers, just snip off and root a branch.
5. Golden Pothos
If what you need is powerful, clean energy cascading into a negative living space, golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum) might be a perfect candidate. According to feng shui, this trailing vine with pointed, heart-shaped leaves produces a positive energy flow that cleans out bad juju and brings strong life energy into dead zones. It is recommended to place pothos, also considered a money plant, in front of a sharp corner to reduce negative thoughts. Like many good feng shui choices, pothos is on NASA's list of plants that purify indoor air by removing chemicals like formaldehyde, trichloroethene, toluene, xylene, and benzene.
Pothos prefers bright, indirect light but does its work in low-light areas too. Remember that the plant can grow to 30 feet, so position it carefully. Allow the plant to dry out between drinks and be sure the soil drains well.