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The 5 best plants for the classroom

The best plants in a classroom

Growing plants at school is a great opportunity to teach children all about gardening. But, with so many holidays (and excitable children) to take into consideration, you’ll want something hardy that can tolerate classroom life and even improve it. Here, Nicky Roeber, Online Horticultural Expert from Wyevale Garden Centres, gives us his list of the five best plants for the classroom.

Growing plants in the classroom gives some great topics for children to learn about, from the life cycle of a flower and how to care for them, to the bugs and animals they can attract. Plus, some varieties are great for air purification, and others have been linked to better classroom performance, reduced stress and anxiety, and even better health (PHS Green Leaf). In this article, I’ll be giving you my expert advice on the top plants to grow in a learning environment.

Rubber tree plants 

Sensory plants are great for schools, aiding with sensory development and therapy of younger children. Because of their tough rubbery leaves, rubber tree plants are perfect to develop the sense of touch. As their name suggests, these plants are very hardy, so they’re good for classrooms full of excitable children. 

They also work to remove toxins, such as formaldehyde, from the atmosphere. Formaldehyde can come from many commonplace items found in schools, like paper towels and tissues, and has been linked to headaches, eyestrain, and is even classed as a carcinogen, which means it’s capable of causing cancer. So, rubber tree plants can actually reduce the risk of sickness and can even boost productivity!

Rubber Tree Palm
Rubber tree palm

If you’re looking for a quick-growing plant for your classroom, rubber tree plants are ideal and, due to their hardy nature, they’re relatively easy to take care of. They do grow best in bright or medium sunlight, though, so try to place them near a window if you can. 

Peace lilies

Peace Lily in your classroom
Peace lily

With their lovely white flowers and deep emerald leaves, peace lilies are perfect for brightening up even the darkest of classrooms. Teachers and children alike will feel more motivated to work each day in an attractive environment, feeling happier while doing it.

Because of its air purifying properties, the peace lily is probably one of the best indoor plants for cleaner air. It was even found by NASA to be particularly effective at removing harmful toxins, like trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, and benzene, from the atmosphere — the latter of which is commonly found in plastic, glue, paint and detergents — so, having a peace lily in your classroom can even improve health.

Peace lilies are one of the best plants for classrooms because they can tolerate the dry air from central heating quite well, and only need watering when the soil feels dry to the touch.

Bamboo palm

Bamboo Palm
Bamboo palm

Bamboo palms will make a great addition to your classroom, as they can inject some much-needed colour to greatly improve the space. They also pump moisture into the air, which is perfect in the winter when central heating can dry the air out. 

They’re relatively easy to care for, only needing water when the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch. However, they do grow best in bright indirect sunlight, so are best for lighter classrooms with windows. 

Dracaena

Dracaena
Dracaena

Dracaena plants are particularly great for busy classrooms, because they can tolerate quite a bit of neglect before they start to die. They can also grow well in darker environments so, if you’re in a classroom that doesn’t get much sunlight, these plants can still thrive.

They also have great air purifying properties, removing trichloroethylene, which can be found in some cleaning products. Exposure to trichloroethylene can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, so, having a dracaena plant in your classroom could actually reduce sickness and absences. 

English ivy

English Ivy
English ivy

English ivy is perfect for smaller classrooms, as it can be grown on high shelves or on top of cupboards. They are also considered to be great sensory plants due to their interesting leaf shapes and trailing branches, which can hang down and make even the dullest of rooms look more attractive

English ivy is perfect for smaller classrooms, as it can be grown on high shelves or on top of cupboards. They are also considered to be great sensory plants due to their interesting leaf shapes and trailing branches, which can hang down and make even the dullest of rooms look more attractive

They’re relatively easy to take care of, only needing enough water to keep them moist when they’re still growing. They can typically tolerate dryer environments when they’re fully established. As one of the best indoor plants for low light, English ivy can fare particularly well in rooms without windows. Just remember that these plants are considered to be quick-growing, so you might need to trim the vines occasionally to stop them getting out of control. 

These five plants all have great benefits for the classroom. With quick growing plants like the rubber tree plant and English ivy, air purifying plants like the peace lily, and plants that are easy to care for like the dracaena and bamboo palm, you can easily improve your learning environment.

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