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Plants Suitable For Hospitals: How to Choose and Recommended Types

When opening a hospital or clinic or renewing or changing the atmosphere of a hospital or clinic, you may want to decorate it with decorative plants. Just a few potted plants can brighten up the interior of a hospital and create a sense of cleanliness.

However, hospitals and clinics that contact patients may have questions or concerns such as, “Aren’t houseplants potentially hazardous?

In hospitals and clinics, it is vital to select houseplants that focus on the functional aspect of a good space for patients while considering the hospital’s appearance and atmosphere.

If you are wondering what kind of houseplants are good for hospitals, the author recommends Sansevieria zeylanica. It is said to have a high air purification effect and is a helpful plant for hospitals.

This article will provide detailed information on the types of houseplants I recommend for hospitals.

How to Choose Houseplants for Hospitals

In hospitals and clinics where patients visit, it is crucial to choose the right houseplants. This is because the characteristics and properties of plants differ depending on the type of plant.

Here are some suitable characteristics of plants ideal for hospitals. It is also essential to avoid plants with strong fragrances of leaves and flowers, as they may offend patients.

1- Insect-resistant Plants

Houseplants can attract pests. No matter how well you care for them, they may get on the leaves or trunks and multiply if many patients visit. So choose houseplants that are as pest-resistant as possible to create a clean hospital environment.

Plants with relatively thick leaves and succulents are recommended for hospital houseplants because they are less likely to attract insects than plants that produce thin leaves.

However, fungus gnats are easily attracted by the smell of soil, and they may lay eggs in the, ground to reproduce.

Since this has little to do with the type of plant, cover the pot’s surface with coconut fiber, wood chips, or inorganic soil such as Akadama soil to cover the smell of the earth.

2- Plant With Tough Leaves That Don’t Easily Fall Off

Choose plants with leaves that do not easily fall off for a clean hospital look. If a houseplant has a lot of dead leaves that fall off, it can quickly become a mess and look unhygienic.

Houseplants are evergreen perennials and trees that do not lose their leaves in winter. Instead, they are characterized by replacing leaves from spring to summer depending on physiological phenomena and growth trends, and the amount of leaf replacement differs from plant to plant.

Compared to plants with large leaves, those with many small leaves tend to defoliate and produce a lot of garbage.

Not all plants fall into this category, but plants that produce large, long, thin, and stiff leaves are recommended because they are less likely to fall off.

4- Plants That Do Not Take Up A Lot Of Space

In hospitals and clinics where many people, including patients and nurses, come and go, choose plants that take up little space.

Plants with branches, leaves, and trunks that tend to spread horizontally can grow several times larger than the size of their pots, physically reducing the space available.

They can also hit people’s shoulders or hips, causing them to fall over, so choosing appropriate plants for the area is essential.

Recommended Plants For Hospitals

Here are five recommended houseplants for hospitals with the above characteristics. 

1- Song of India (Dracaena Reflexa): Suitable For  Small Space

Song of India (Dracaena Reflexa)
LocationPlace in a sunny location (avoid direct sunlight)
TemperatureKeep at least 68 °F or higher
Cold resistanceSomewhat weak
Heat resistanceStrong
WateringSpring/Summer: After the surface of the soil dries.
Fall/Winter: 2-3 days after the soil surface dries.

The yellowish-white trunk of the Dracaena song of India grows in a light curve from the ground. From the tip of the trunk, green leaves with yellow spots on the edges develop like flowers.

Its slender style allows it to be placed in small spaces and does not require much space.

Native mainly to Madagascar and India, Dracaena song of India is a vigorous houseplant that grows well at temperatures above 68 °F.

However, if temperatures fall below 50 °F, the cold will slow growth and reduce watering frequency.

Knowing when to water the plant becomes challenging, making it more difficult to manage, so keep it in a warm, sunny place in winter as much as possible.

2- Peacock plant (Calathea Makoyana): Suitable for Shaded Place

Peacock plant (Calathea Makoyana)
LocationPlace in a sunny location (avoid direct sunlight)
TemperatureKeep at least 50 °F or higher
Cold resistanceSomewhat weak
Heat resistanceStrong
WateringSpring/Summer: When the surface of the soil dries.
Fall/Winter: 2-3 days after the surface of the soil dries

Calathea macoyana, with its cute latte-art-like pattern on its leaves, resembles with wings of a peacock. It is a unique and highly interior-decorating plant that finishes a space with a strong impression.

It is highly tolerant of shade, so it can grow even in areas that tend to be shady and not so sunny. It is also recommended for hospitals where it is difficult to grow plants.

Originally from Brazil, Calathea macoyana prefers a humid environment, so regular watering is necessary. In spring and summer, be careful not to run out of water and not allow the soil to dry out excessively.

In fall and winter, on the other hand, keep the soil dry because growth will slow down if kept in cooler temperatures.

Also, if growth slows or stops, the frequency of watering and fertilizing may change and become more difficult.

It is best to keep the plant in a constant warm environment at 59 °F or above as much as possible.

3- Sansevieria zeylanica: Hard to Wither

Sansevieria zeylanica
LocationBright shade
TemperatureKeep at least 50 °F or higher
Cold ResistanceSomewhat strong
Heat ResistanceStrong
WateringSpring/Summer: 2-3 days after the surface of the soil dries
Fall/Winter: After the surface of the leaves become wrinkled (almost entirely water-free after October)

Sansevieria zeylanica is a unique decorative plant with sword-like dark green leaves that grow long and thin from the ground and are striped with white spots. It’s slim, multiple leaves are stylish, and they do not take up much space.

Sansevieria zeylanica, native to tropical Africa and Madagascar, is said to be one of the most challenging houseplants to kill and is recommended for hospitals and clinics that are too busy to provide much care.

It is also recommended for people who have never grown plants or are not confident in their management skills, as it does not die quickly, even with novice care methods.

Sansevieria zeylanica, with its thick leaves containing a lot of water, is resistant to heat and drought and does not run out of water efficiently.

Although it depends on the season and location, you should water it once or twice a month and keep it in a dry environment.

It can grow in direct sunlight, but if the soil is moist, it tends to steam quickly and cause root rot. So, move them to a sunny place a few days after watering.

4- Anthurium- For Colorful Appearance

LocationPlace in a sunny location (avoid direct sunlight)
TemperatureKeep at least 50 °F or higher
Heat resistanceStrong
WateringSpring/Summer: When the surface of the soil dries.
Fall/Winter: 2-3 days after the soil surface dries.

Anthuriums have glossy red, pink, or white leaves called bracts and yellow cylindrical flowers.

The unfurling green, heart-shaped leaves are also attractive and come in various colors and patterns, making it a colorful houseplant to be enjoyed.

Anthuriums are native to tropical America and the West Indies, growing on trees and rocks.

Therefore, you can grow anthuriums in a hydroculture or a moss bed, thus keeping your hospital clean and free of soil.

It also grows well in the shade, so you can grow it with peace of mind even if you can’t get enough sunlight.

However, it will flower in the following years if it is regularly exposed to sunlight and fed with a slow-release chemical fertilizer with a good balance of nitrogen (N), phosphate (P), and potassium (K), or a fertilizer with high phosphate and potassium.

5- Ponytail Palm- Recommended for Less Watering

Ponytail Palm
Locationsunny place
TemperatureKeep at least 41 °F or more (mature strains are OK outside)
Cold resistanceSomewhat weak
Heat resistanceStrong
WateringSpring/Summer: 1-2 days after the soil’s surface dries.
Fall/Winter: 4-5 days after the soil surface dries. 

It’s a one-of-a-kind plant with long, thin, green leaves that curl up as they grow. Because it grows slowly, the plant’s shape is not easily distorted, and it is easy to maintain the same form for an extended period.

The Ponytail palm, native to the savanna regions of southeastern Mexico, is cold-tolerant and can withstand temperatures as low as 17°F.

Therefore, it is challenging to wither and easy to grow even in places with low temperatures at night.

The plant’s thick trunk stores much water like a tank, making it difficult to run out of water even in arid areas. However, continue to water sparingly and allow the soil to dry out as much as possible.

Things To Consider When Placing Houseplants In Hospitals

By focusing on the surroundings, people, and interiors, you can coordinate plants in the hospital with more sophisticated simplicity. Consider these three points when placing plants in hospitals and clinics. 

Is The Environment Suitable For Growing Decorative Plants?

To keep the hospital’s aesthetics clean, ensure that the environment for growing houseplants is suitable.

If the environment is unsuitable for growing plants, the leaves may discolor or fall off, making the hospital look less clean.

Ensure the plant has a suitable environment for growing, including sunlight, ventilation, temperature, and humidity.

In addition, you should select and buy plants by focusing on conditions such as availability, time, and people who can care for them.

Is there Space for Pathway?

In hospitals and clinics, where many people come and go through waiting rooms and hallways, try to make the space as wide as possible and make it easy for people to walk around.

Planning the placement of plants and furniture in homes and offices is essential.

By deciding where to put plants and other things first and then arranging them, you can make it easy for people to walk through the space.

Once the path of movement is well defined, less space will be wasted, and the extra space can be used effectively.

Another critical point is to buy the correct number of plants for the waiting room, as this will allow for more seating and space for people to walk around.

With more space to walk around, the plants will not hit shoulders and hips, reducing the risk of injury to plants and people.

Are The Plants Labeled So That You Know Their Names?

Many patients find waiting in a hospital waiting room stressful because they are anxious or bored. Attach handwritten nameplates to decorative plants to reduce stress even while waiting.

A few easy-to-read details, such as the plant’s name, its characteristics and properties, and even the language of flowers or the birth date of its flower, may be enough to distract a patient whose eye is drawn to it.

Making that plant attractive can help relax tensed tension and mental distress, making the patient feel less stressed.

Cute designs and colorful nameplates that resemble store pop-ups may stand out more quickly, making them feel relaxed and warm inside.

How to Grow Plants in Hospitals

To ensure that a cleaner the cleaner hospital is visible, take good care of your houseplants.

Plant Cleaning And Maintenance

Indoor plants grown in hospitals can quickly accumulate dust and dirt, making them dirty and unsightly.

Dirt on the leaves also makes it difficult for photosynthesis to take place, and the plants may suffer from poor growth.

To prevent loss of cleanliness, clean the plants regularly with a clean wet cloth. 

It is also a good idea to regularly sprinkle water on the leaves to keep them fresh at all times. This makes the plant less prone to extreme dryness, leaf burn, and water loss, making it easier to manage.

Set Aside A Specific Week For Watering

If you do not water the plants well, they will dry out and run out of water or become overwatered and die from root rot.

Make sure the soil is dry once before watering. Also, a specific week for watering is recommended if you are in a hospital or clinic.

If you have a busy day, you may lose track of who went and how many times you watered.

For example, houseplants need a lot of water during the warmer months of spring and summer, when they grow more vigorously.

Therefore, water once every week or two in the spring and once or twice a week in the summer.

During the fall and winter months, when temperatures are cooler, and plants’ growth flow slows down, water the plants once or twice a month while checking the soil for dryness.

However, the amount of water absorbed depends on the environment and the type and variety of houseplants, so it is a good idea to check the temperature and growing conditions beforehand.

Adjust The Sun Exposure and Light

Excessive direct sunlight or lack of sun can cause poor growth of indoor plants. Place plants in a sunny hospital area and adjust the light to your growing plants.

Most houseplants are photosynthetically active in the morning and become less involved in the afternoon.

Therefore, it is best to place them in a semi-shady location with sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon.

Too much direct sunlight during the day can cause leaf scorch, water loss, or root rot as the inside of the pot becomes damp.

In addition, excessive exposure to western sunlight, especially in summer, can weaken houseplants and reduce growth rates.

If direct sunlight shines into the hospital, it is advisable to move the pots or create shade with curtains, blinds, or screens to adjust the amount of light exposure.

Repotting And Pruning When The Plant Grows Large

Generally, you need to prune and repot the plants in the hospital every two years.

If the potting soil becomes rigid and compact, the oxygen concentration in the soil becomes low, and the plant roots can quickly suffocate.

Compact soil can’t drain water well and keeps the roots wet for a long time. The roots may become clogged and die, so repot the plant when the roots emerge from the bottom of the pot/soil surface.

Pruning is necessary to control plant growth and to improve the environment.

For example, you need to do it when the plant grows too large with many branches and leaves or when it becomes difficult for air to reach the inside.

However, each plant grows at a different speed, so you should change the frequency of repotting and pruning according to its growth.

Final Words

Indoor plants that add brightness and warmth to hospital and clinic interiors. If you know how to choose and care for the right type and variety of plants, you can maintain a hospital that is always clean and inviting to patients.

In addition, having houseplants in the hospital will help patients relax psychologically and reduce stress caused by waiting time. In addition to their appearance, houseplants can also help patients feel more at ease.

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