11 Apr 15 Houseplants That Improve Air Quality
Our Top Picks For Houseplants That Can Purify The Air In Your Home
You may love plants in your home as an ornamental component because plants enrich the warmth and character of a room. Architects, designers, and builders who build healthy homes know the attraction of bringing “the outside in.” They always try to develop spaces to bring that natural feature into your home.
Did you know that plants do much more than refine the aesthetic charm of your indoor environs? There are some air purifying house plants that can also improve the air quality in your home. We have some suggestions that will reengineer the air inside your home into pristine, oxygenized air so you and your family can experience healthy home surroundings.
Did you know that the air inside your home is between two to five times more polluted than the air outside, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? As a matter of fact, fireplaces, burning candles, unclean ductwork, and/or molds can make interior air quality up to one hundred times more unhealthy than outdoors.
In the late 1960s, an environmental scientist working at NASA, named Dr. B.C. Wolverton, oversaw research about the capability of plants to decimate toxins. In 1973, while still at NASA, Wolverton identified 107 VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) inside the Skylab Space Station.
The VOCs entered the Skylabs air during assembly when building materials normally discharge low levels of chemicals into the air through a procedure known as off-gassing. VOCs blanket enclosed spaces, and because they are notorious irritants (in addition to being possible carcinogens) they can make you sick.
Dr. Valoud Niri, a chemistry professor at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Oswego, led a team of researchers which resulted in a 2016 paper. This paper discussed the best air-purifying houseplants that remove VOCs from the air. VOCs are found in commonplace household items like carpeting, cleaning supplies, any materials that were commercially dry cleaned, furniture, printers, paint, and other things that we all use routinely in our residences.
Plants use carbon dioxide the way we use oxygen. When you have plants in your home, they take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, thereby serving as Mother Nature’s air purifier.
How many plants do you need to purify a room?
The more plants, the better. To reap the benefits, have at least two plants per 100 square feet. Keep in mind that plants with large leaves (think palms) purifying air quicker. Wolverton, the man behind the NASA study, also recommends ferns and ivy because they take up the most surface area.
Here are some of the best houseplants to improve air quality inside your home. They will become partners to take care of your health.
Aloe vera is a succulent, which means that the plant holds water in its leaves. Those fleshy leaves contain the gel that is often used in health care products to treat burns and skin abrasions. It removes benzene and formaldehyde from the air making it one of the best houseplants for air quality. Those toxins are found in detergents, flooring finishes, laminate flooring, and varnishes.
Care tip: Place an aloe vera plant in a window where it can get direct sunlight. LED grow lights can simulate sunlight in the absence of direct sun. Succulents have very shallow roots. Avoid over watering the plant because that can rot the roots. It’s always better to under water a succulent.
Brighten up your kitchen or living room with a chrysanthemum. These fetching blossoms help to filter out a horde of toxins including ammonia and benzene, which are often found in plastics and glue.
Care tip: This plant loves sunlight, so place it near a sunbathed window.
Known as the Snake Plant, Sansevieria is also a succulent. It is effective at removing benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, trichloroethylene, and xylene from the air. It is unusual as it releases oxygen at night. Accordingly, it may enhance your quality of sleep. If you have sleeping problems, you might consider putting a snake plant in your bedroom, especially on the nightstand next to your bed. It can also be helpful for people who have breathing afflictions, as it is one of the best houseplants for air quality.
Care tip: Snake plants tolerate low light. They can also go for extended periods without water. As we have already mentioned, it is always better to err on the side of under watering a succulent as over watering can lead to fungal diseases or rotting.
This tropical plant has proved to be a successful cleanser of formaldehyde and benzene, found in detergents and cosmetics.
Care tip: The Chinese evergreen enjoys low light and humid conditions, so it will thrive in your bathroom. If you choose to keep the plant somewhere else, remember to mist the leaves occasionally to prevent browning.
The quintessential fern. Originally used during the Victorian Era to decorate inside as well as on wrap around porches. The Boston fern rids your home of pollutants such as formaldehyde found in plywood and particle board and produced by paints, varnishes, floor finishes, and cigarette smoking as well. These ferns break down pollutants through their roots.
Care tip: Like all ferns, the Boston fern enjoys high humidity and consistently moist soil.
Spider plants are easy to grow. You’ll find them in solid green or variegated varieties with green and white leaves. Spider plants produce new plants that grow off of long stems that extend from the mother plant. Those baby plants can grow in water or soil.
Spider plants can absorb as much as 90 percent of the carbon monoxide and formaldehyde toxins that many household products release. They also absorb more than 90 percent of xylene emitted from rubber and plastic products. The spider plant is one of the best house plants for animal lovers because it is not toxic to animals while purifying the air.
Care tip: Spider plants adapt to most growing conditions. The most popular and practical way to grow them is in hanging baskets. Give them bright light during the day and water when soil is dry.
Also called flamingo flower for its glossy, heart-shaped leaves and tropical looking flowers, anthuriums add a touch of romance to any room. Their large dark leaves suck up ammonia, toluene, gasolene fumes, and xylene, so they can make a great impact in the workplace, especially when placed around copiers and printers.
Care tip: This plant blooms on and off all year. To get them to flower continuously place in a filtered light location and fertilize once in the spring.
Jade plant is another succulent plant that serves as one of the best houseplants for air quality. It is easy to recognize because of its dark green leaves that are narrow at the base. Jade absorbs toluene that comes from cars, gasoline, heating oil, kerosene, lacquers, and paints.
Care tip: Jade is a succulent that needs bright light and soil that drains well. It is easy to grow and you can keep it in the same pot for many years because it doesn’t mind being root bound. Jade will survive for weeks without water, so it’s ideal for people who don’t want high maintenance plants.
A hardy, low-maintenance houseplant is one of the most popular, thanks to its striking look. A natural humidifier, it has been recommended by NASA as one of the best for cleansing the air. Perfect for brightening a desk or windowsill.
Care tip: Easy to care for, a rubber plant can grow well on low levels of light. It’s worth knowing that it’s toxic to dogs and cats, so be extra careful if you have one close to your pets.
Beautiful as a ground cover or a houseplant, English Ivy is a classically elegant choice that is also excellent for removing harmful chemicals found in the home. It can grow in full shade or full sun, can be trained into shapes, and with proper care is likely to survive for several years.
Care tip: English Ivy plants prefer an evenly moist environment. Water the plants freely during growth. Keep English Ivy house plants moist in the winter. Spraying English Ivy with water weekly will help prevent spider mites from infesting the plants.
The Gerber Daisy is also know as a Barbeton Daisy. As well as injecting a cheerful burst of red, yellow, orange, or pink, the Barbeton daisy is an effective cleanser of the toxins formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene found in a range of household materials from paints to synthetic fibers.
Care tip: Place the plant in a room with plenty of natural light and keep the soil moist but well drained.
If you have a neglected corner in your home that could use a little makeover, the bamboo palm is the perfect plant to add life to it. A well-cared for bamboo palm can grow up to six feet indoors and will absorb benzene and formaldehyde to leave you with nothing but clean air to breathe.
Care tip: While it’s a tropical plant, the Bamboo Palm does well in low light conditions and only wants to be watered when the soil is looking dry.
This cute little potted tree has lively green leaves and an unusual braided trunk. This little tree can remove toxins especially from synthetic cleaning products. It is also used by Feng Shui experts to reduce stress and anxiety and even helps prevent arguments and sleeping disorders.
Care tip: This tree will thrive in medium to light indirect light, turning it every time you water it for even growth and leaf development. It prefers deep but infrequent watering.
NASA touts this plant for significantly reducing three VOCs (TCE, formaldehyde, and benzene) The peace lily is not only a great natural air purifier, it’s also pretty to look at.
Care tip: This plant loves humid conditions and doesn’t mind little or no sunlight which makes it a great choice to decorate your bathroom. A Peace Lily is a thirsty plant and will immediately start to drink when they need a drink. Best to water them a few times a week with distilled or rainwater as they are sensitive to chemicals in tap water. If you must use tap water let it stand overnight.
Weeping Fig – Ficus Plant
Also know as a Benjamin Ficus or Weeping Fig. While this plant is poisonous to pets, it is one of the most effective air cleansers as it can absorb high levels of formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.
Care tip: They are fairly fussy plants. Keep your weeping fig in bright indirect light away from drafts. Only water when the soil is slightly dry.
Plants are true superheroes. They provide us with fresh oxygen, brighten up any room, and even filter harmful chemical pollutants out of the air to make our lives healthier. Adding greenery to your home is a fantastic way of doing something for your physical and mental health, but you should still make sure to open your windows on a regular basis to let fresh air in, dust and vacuum regularly, and use products labeled “No VOC” or “Low VOC” to maximize the air quality in your home. The best news is that it doesn’t matter how small your home is, even a few tiny succulents can absorb airborne pollutants, reduce your stress level, and transform your space.