Plants decorate a room or patio, and some even purify the air you breathe. Can plants also bring intangible benefits to a living space, like serenity, good fortune, and romantic success? While these claims are hard to prove scientifically, they are equally difficult to disprove, and people have relied on the special qualities of some plants for generations.
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You'll find quite a few attractive, affordable houseplants that are reputed to have powerful effects in helping people prosper. Why not give one or two of them a try and see whether money, luck, or health come your way? Here are six good-fortune plants to get you started, plus tips on how to grow them.
Looks: The peace lily's white flowers shine above its lush, forest-green foliage like little white flags of peace. Each florescence consists of a large, bright-white spathe, like a large petal protecting a small spike of flowers.
Benefits: The peace lily is said to bring prosperity and serenity into the home. By purifying the air and neutralizing harmful indoor gases, it may help to prevent headaches.
Care: These are tropical evergreen plants that like humidity and dappled sunlight. Keep the soil moist with filtered water but avoid overwatering. They need warmth, so do not place near a cold, drafty window.
Looks: Although unrelated to real bamboo, the lucky bamboo plant looks like it. Its slender vertical stalks and leafy branches are vibrantly green and light up a corner. This plant can be trained to curl by controlling the light that it receives.
Benefits: An auspicious plant in feng shui and vastu shastra, lucky bamboo has a reputation of good fortune and prosperity. You'll have even more luck, and success in romance, if you receive the plant as a gift.
Care: Virtually indestructible, lucky bamboo is a low-maintenance plant. Just keep it away from direct sunlight. It grows well in a container with an inch or so of distilled water or in moist, well-aerated potting soil with good drainage.
Looks: The aloe vera plant is an attractive succulent. It is stemless and has thick, fleshy leaves fanning out from the plant's central stem. The leaves are green and can be beautifully marked. Leaf margins are serrated with soft, delicate teeth.
Benefits: Aloe vera is reputed to bring good luck and optimism into a living space. It is equally well known for its amazing healing qualities. The plump leaves are filled with a gel that can help heal skin conditions like burns.
Care: Easy on the irrigation! This plant is harder to kill than to keep alive, but kill it you will if you overwater or let it stand very long in wet soil. Keep your aloe in indirect sunlight in a container with excellent drainage.
Looks: Holy basil, or tulsi, has the same, leafy appeal as culinary basil, with bright rounded leaves and tiny, colorful flowers on slender, upright stalks. It has a spicy, refreshing fragrance.
Benefits: This herb is revered in Indian mythology in Hinduism for its spiritual characteristics and it is thought to have a healing effect. As a houseplant, it is said to clear the home of negative energy and attract positive vibrations to the environment. It emits oxygen and absorbs harmful gases almost all day long. As a medicinal herb, it is said to have antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Care: Place your holy basil houseplant in a bright spot that gets lots of sun. Like regular basil, it needs well-draining soil and regular irrigation.
Looks: Jasmine is often grown as a climbing vine, but you can also bring it indoors as a shrubby houseplant. It has bright, happy, green leaves and star-shaped white flowers.
Benefits: Jasmine, sometimes known as a "sacred flower of Persia," is said to stimulate energy, enhance self-esteem, and strengthen relationships. When used as a houseplant in the bedroom, it has the reputation of bringing on deep sleep.
Care: Indoors or out, jasmine thrives in well-drained soil in a sun-drenched site. Place the container in a south-facing window and water regularly. Prune your jasmine to keep it compact.
Looks: Lavender is a fragrant herb with gray-green foliage, upright flower spikes, and a compact growth form. It's beloved for its gorgeous purple flowers with an unforgettable fragrance.
Benefits: This plant is said to assist in bringing stability and mental clarity to your life. It also removes toxins from the home, and can help with headaches and insomnia.
Care: The biggest problem with growing lavender indoors is light. It requires lots of hot, bright rays to thrive, so only bring in potted lavender if you have a sunny window. Use quick-draining potting soil and water infrequently.