Colin has been working in the gardening industry for over 30 years and owns 8 Garden Centres across central Scotland and is passionate about Scottish plants.


I know this is a gardening column but with all the worry and hype about Coronavirus, I thought I would fly the flag for houseplants and let you know how they can help us with the air in our homes!

The way we live life today causes complaints like allergic attacks, asthma, headaches and tickly coughs. Well, this is where I think house plants can help us all! The humble house plant can make a difference to the air we breathe indoors and they will work hard at cleaning our air of toxins and releasing humidity back into the atmosphere.

You don’t have to take my word for it! Studies by NASA prove that certain plants help to keep the air in your house cleaner and increase oxygen levels which should lead to; having fewer headaches and coughs, feeling less tired, having fewer allergy symptoms, recovering faster from the common cold, feeling less stressed and even allowing you to be more productive and creative if you work from home!

So now I have convinced you on the benefit of house plants, what ones do I suggest? Aloe Vera is my favourite as it emits oxygen at night time and at the same time takes in carbon dioxide which leads to cleaner air – simple!

Other plants such as Chlorophytum (Spider Plant), Sansaveria (Snake Plant), Ficus Elastica (Rubber Plant), Ficus Benjamin (Weeping Fig) and Dragen Marginata (Dragon Tree) should all remove about 90% of formaldehyde from the air - it is believed that formaldehyde is potentially a cancer-causing chemical, so that’s great news!

If you want more moisture and humidity in your air then the Areca Palm or Boston Fern could very well be the plants for you.

Inside or outside plants are a pleasure, and beneficial to our health, now I know they won’t protect any of us from Coronavirus but hopefully they should never need to!

Happy gardening!


Rhododendron Praecox is one of the earliest flowering of the dwarf varieties, with blooms seen as early as February and throughout March. This one is more or less an evergreen shrub with dark green leaves and purple-pink flowers which you can now see in gardens across the country as we turn to spring! Great for containers and smaller gardens and thrives in full sunlight. It prefers a moist but well drained soil, humus rich and acidic for that lovely colour!