They’re also associated with wealth, dragons, and curse-protection.

By Lauren Phillips
April 19, 2018
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Ryan Benoit

Indoor detox plants offer such promise: They help filter toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde out of the air, and they bring color (and life) to interior rooms. The downside is that they, like any plants, can seem intimidating (especially for those lacking the enviable green thumb), and assembling a collection of these leafy air filters can feel like an impossible task.

Thankfully, some green thumbs are willing to share their secrets with us. Take Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit, of The Horticult blog, who recently published their first book: How to Window Box: Small-Space Plants to Grow Indoors or Out.

This genius, compact little book is a colorful (and meticulous) how-to guide for creating gorgeous indoor and outdoor window boxes, including The Detox Box, so-named for its assortment of sansevieria. According to How to Window Box, sansevieria (also known as the snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue) is a succulent capable of removing benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, and other toxins from its surroundings. In various cultures, it’s also affiliated with wealth, dragons, and protection from curses—what’s not to love?

For the Detox Box, Gordon and Benoit recommend six variations of sansevieria:

  1. Sansevieria suffruticosa
  2. Sansevieria trifasciata “Golden Hahnii,” or bird’s nest snake plant
  3. Sansevieria masoniana, or Mason’s Congo sansevieria
  4. Sansevieria cylindrica, or African spear
  5. Sansevieria trifasciata “Bantel’s Sensation,” or white-striped sansevieria
  6. Sansevieria trifasciata, or snake plant

This assortment of plants lives and grows best indoors, but it can also be grown outdoors out of direct sunlight. And, fortunately for the black thumbs out there, the Detox Box is very easy to maintain.

Ready to start planting? For a detailed guide to preparing and caring for your Detox Box—plus other gorgeous window boxes—check out How to Window Box.

Ryan Benoit

Photos reprinted from How to Window Box. Copyright © 2018 by Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit. Photographs by Ryan Benoit. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.