Who doesn’t love houseplants? Something about crisp, green, growing leaves seems to brighten up any room. But did you know that houseplants can elevate mood, enhance creativity, promote wellness, and according to studies by NASA, Associated Landscape Contractors of America, and the American Society for Horticultural Science, they also purify indoor air?
Our modern day homes are rife with pollutants that can cause a host of health problems. Chemicals from furniture, floor coverings, paints, detergents, air fresheners, and household cleaners can hover inside poorly ventilated homes, as well as those with good airflow. Fortunately, there are many houseplants that will filter out harmful chemicals and clean air naturally, as well as brighten up your living space.
Most of these plants are commonly found at your local florist or home improvement store. Just pick up a favorite one or several and take care of them to enjoy the beauty and the health benefits that they offer.
1. English Ivy
This charming evergreen vine grows happily in low or indirect light conditions. The English Ivy plant is perfect for those who have pets in the home as it can reduce the amount of airborne fecal matter. It can also absorb formaldehyde which is commonly found in some household cleaning products and furniture or carpeting treatments. Studies show that keeping an English Ivy plant on your desk will help to give you better focus because it can also absorb trace amounts of benzene which is a chemical commonly found in office equipment.
2. Peace Lily
The Peace Lily is a beautiful plant and one that can improve your indoor air quality by as much as 60 percent. It helps to reduce the levels of mold spores that grow in the home by absorbing those spores through its leaves and them circulating them to the plant’s roots where they are used as food. In bathrooms, the Peace Lily can help to keep shower tiles and curtains free from mildew and the plant can absorb harmful vapors from alcohol and acetone.
3. Bamboo Palm
This sturdy palm can grow tall, between 3 to 6 feet, and is an elegant plant in any room. It’s effective at removing the formaldehyde often used in furniture, so arrange it next to chairs, couches, and end tables, in indirect light. During dryer winter months, the bamboo palm can also add a bit of welcome moisture to the air.
Ficus is a tropical looking evergreen with twisting roots and bright green, shiny leaves. It’s effective at removing pollutants from furniture and carpets, though it can be a bit temperamental to grow. Keep the leaves clear of dust and water moderately.
The sword shaped leaves of the Dracena plant can come in a variety of colors and variations, and can easily reach ceiling height when cared for properly. This plant is best for ridding the air of chemicals found in lacquers, varnishes, and gasoline. Also known as a Corn Plant, the Dracena is a dramatic, but fairly easy plant to maintain.
Mums are beautiful flowers that you can commonly find at most nurseries or floral shops. The colors alone make them a wonderful choice for a houseplant but they offer great benefits to your air quality as well. Chrysanthemums can help to filter out benzene, a chemical that is very commonly found in many household detergents as well as paints, plastics and some glue products. They prefer direct sunlight and work well as hanging plants near windows.
7. Golden Pothos
Pothos are excellent for filtering out formaldehyde and stays green, even if kept in the dark, which makes it ideal for basements and garages. A proficient grower, Pothos is great in containers and hanging pots where its trailing vines can tumble over the pot’s edge.
8. Snake Plant
A common, if not slightly offensive, nickname for this blade-like plant is mother-in-law’s-tongue. It’s awesome at filtering out chemicals found in toilet paper, tissues, and other toiletry products. It enjoys low light and humid conditions, which makes it ideal for bathrooms.
9. Spider Plant
The spider plant is a commonly found houseplant and is one that is really easy to grow. Within just two days, this plant can remove up to 90 percent of the toxins in your indoor air. The leaves grow quickly and help to absorb harmful substances like mold and other allergens so it is the perfect plant for those who have common dust allergies. It also helps to absorb small traces of formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.
10. Aloe Vera
Many people have Aloe Vera in their homes because of its healing ability. The gel inside the leaves is excellent for helping to heal burns and cuts. Aloe Vera however, is also a great plant to improve your indoor air quality. It is easy to grow (and hard to kill for those of you who do not possess a green thumb) and it helps to keep your home free from benzene which is commonly found in paint and certain chemical cleaners. Aloe Vera is a slow grower, but it can get quite large.
The recommended rule of thumb is one potted houseplant every 100 square feet, but you really can’t have too many houseplants for good air quality. Display plants in groups to maximize their filtering power and create a lovely aesthetic.
And then… breathe easy!
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