Apart from beach trips, merry-go-rounds, and refreshing frozen drinks, one of the great joys of summer for me is visiting Home Depot and wandering around the gardening section. Seeing those colorful annual flowers and pots of herbs and veggies is an instant mood-booster, and it's not hard to understand why people love to fill their homes and offices with greenery. I also happen to be something of a dud when it comes to keeping leafy things alive, so I'm also glad that there are so many kinds of hardy plants that are hard to kill.
Science agrees: Studies have shown that having plants in your house or workplace offers both mental and physical benefits. A famous NASA study from 1989 found that common indoor plants, such as English ivy and ficus, can remove the carcinogenic chemicals benzene and formaldehyde from the air. Furthermore, one of the NASA scientists who headed the study told Timethat plants with big, broad leaves are the best at removing toxins (we're looking at you, elephant ear). Another study, from Washington State University's horticulture department, showed that rooms with plants collected 20 percent less dust than rooms without plants — a definite benefit for families with allergies, asthma, or other dust-sensitive health conditions.
So if you're looking to brighten up your home or desk, but don't have lots of time or talent to devote to pruning, watering, and fertilizing, put these hardy plant varieties on your list when you're at the garden center. (But be sure to keep your potted pals away from pets and small children; some plant varieties are toxic if eaten.)