Clear the Air with House plants, indoor air can become much more polluted than outdoor air. But there is an easy fix and it is beautiful too.
Back in the late 1980’s, NASA did a study on the benefits of houseplants on purifying air on the space station. I read it in Better Homes and Gardens magazine and I was impressed with the results. More evidence has emerged that shows just how beneficial house plants are, not only for our breathing but our emotions as well.
Why Purify Your Air
Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health. Stagnant indoor environments allow pollutants to build up and stick around in greater amounts than we humans should be breathing in.
Since most people spend 90% of people spend the majority of their time indoors, air quality matters. All sorts of products we have around us and use daily out-gas formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and on to many compounds I cannot even spell. This includes furniture, fabrics, rugs, and even outdoor toxins can get trapped indoors.
Many now suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, even the scents in daily products such as shampoos, laundry detergents, dish soaps, and deodorants can make sufferers lethargic, irritable and even extremely ill. Though many of us may not react strongly to these scents and chemicals, it is a well known fact that they are not healthy. They are constantly barraging our systems with low levels of toxicity which can build up.
Compound that with the amounts of different products with different scents and you can imagine what our systems are combating daily.
Thankfully there is a low cost way to combat these issues and it comes from the natural world.
What are some of the Best House plants?
Bringing these beauties into your home not only cleans the air of allergens, dust and pollutants they also have psychological benefits. Including reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and promoting happiness. The contrasting deep purple of the underside of the leaves makes a beautiful statement in the home.
Want to sleep better?
Place a Snake Plant or Mothers In Law tongue (Sansevieria) in your bedroom, they release oxygen into the air at night making for more restful sleep. There are a variety of patterned leaves to choose from. Click here for a post of dividing your Sansevieria
House plants also add humidity to the room which is beneficial for those of us in drier climates.
Want a tough to kill but powerhouse air cleaning plant?
The spider plant is one tough cookie and it is easy to propagate. The little baby plants are really what do the bulk of the air scrubbing so I keep as many on the plant as long as possible while taking some off to propagate.
Just detach and place the knobby end in a bit of water and let them grow roots, then pot up.
Voila’, instant new plant. There are solid and variegated varieties.
Pothos or Devils Ivy also thrives on neglect and tough to kill.
Pothos does well in low light conditions and it easy to propagate as well. See the little bitty pot I have this lush plant in?
Pinch back regularly to keep the plant fuller at top, it does have a tendency to get leggy.
The next powerhouse for removing toxins in the air is the Peace Lily
Peace Lily thrives on lots of water and it will even bloom. It has a lovely white flower. You can even grow it in a jar of water. I have seen it paired with a Beta fish for a wonderful living display. I love the tropical look of it. I have an entire post about caring for Peace Lily to help you get the most out of them.
Peace Lily topped NASA’s list for removing all three of the most common VOCs – formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. I can also combat toluene and xylene.
English Ivy also cleans many of the same toxins from the air. I keep these outside during the summer months and bring them in for winter. They keep healthier for me that way, they do love lots of light. I am working on some topiaries using ivy and I will share soon and I have a post coming up on how to divide one to give it new life.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter cactus all do a stellar job of cleaning the air while putting out beautiful blooms during the darkest months of the year. They are easy to propagate and come in a large variety of bloom colors!
Want to know the difference between Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus, CLICK HERE!
One last plant family for indoors that works wonders is Palms. The best air purifier is the Dwarf date palm, but the others such as Lady Palm, Areca Palm and Bamboo Palm work well too, I have been less successful with growing palms in my home so I don’t have any photos. But maybe you will do better and can enjoy their benefits too.
Fiddle Leaf fig is a popular one but they can also tend to be finicky if moved, they are a variety of Ficus, which is notorious for being fussy about getting moved around.
Do you wish to brighten a dreary winter day.
Try some African Violets…they will blossom through the winter given proper care.
they are affordable and come in so many colors. Here are just a few I found online
You can also find them many times in grocery stores. I have a few from our local Save Mart.
I wrote this from the perspective of your home but house plants are also very beneficial in a workplace or office building.
I wish you happier, healthier breathing!
See this report for even more benefits: 15 Fabulous Benefits of Houseplants