While flowers and plants can be and usually are used for decorative purposes, if you remember your biology classes, you will remember that plants are also responsible for converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. Therefore, some people, who spend most of their time inside, may prefer to “refresh” the air inside their home by employing them to detoxify the air while still looking fancy and decorating the interior.
There are specific plants that have been proven to do this job better than others, and there is a good number of them to choose from. This article will name some of them and explain which ones you should choose for your particular case.
A study was done by NASA (yes, the space-faring organization you may have heard about) has found that there is a huge number of toxins in the air that can be filtered by the plants themselves. Some of them are:
- benzene (found in washing detergents, oils, gasoline, varnishes)
- formaldehyde (found in towels, both paper, and facial tissues, grocery bags)
- ammonia (found in all sorts of cleaning products)
- carbon monoxide (fumes from vehicles and stoves)
The bad news is that no matter which plants you choose, it is hard to expect that you will get the sheer number of plants required to do the job. It is stated that you need more than 90 plants in your home for the purification to be full. However, even one plant is better than zero, so you might as well get a few. If nothing else, they will look good. What you should be aware of is that larger leaves usually mean more air filtration, so depending on your setup you may want to choose larger or smaller plants.
Rubber trees are amongst the best air filtration plants out there. Besides producing oxygen and filtering toxins, rubber trees are even able to remove mold and bacteria from the air as well. This is done to protect the soil of the plant, but it helps you as well. They are not overly dependant on care and are said to be somewhat tolerant to underwatering. Just give it a lot of light, and it will serve you well.
If you are looking for something that is simple to grow, spider plants may be what you are looking for. And no, they will not attract spiders – they are called that because of their plants which dangle down like spiders on a web. It is considered one of the most adaptable houseplants and is a favorite for a lot of people who are not looking for anything which requires serious care. Spider plants are perfectly fine in indirect sunlight while still being able to remove toxins such as formaldehyde from your surroundings.
Also known as mums, these plants are one of the most beautiful and therefore popular choices in many households. What you may not have known is that they also rate very highly on the scale of air purification – toxins and ammonia get easily purified by chrysanthemums.
The difference between mums and other plants is that they only bloom for a short while – around six weeks and the flowers are necessary for air purification. Therefore, you will want to either replace them often or fertilize the pot when new growth starts to appear.
Devil’s ivy is also one of the easier plants to take care of. It can grow in basically anything, including hanging baskets, regular pots or even water. Water it only when dry – the plant will take care of the rest. It is said to remove toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde. Therefore, if you are shooting for something that does more for you than you do for it, your choice is pretty clear.
The Boston fern is also one of the easier plants to grow. It requires humility and indirect sunlight, so position them near your windows or balconies. They will thrive with minimal care, and keep your home toxin-free.
Who said money does not grow on trees? Well, it does not, but this does not mean there isn’t a money plant... Unfortunately, it does not give money. However, it’s almost invaluable since it is one of the best pollutant removers according to NASA. It removes several pollutants from the air, such as formaldehyde, toluene, and benzene.
Despite this, the money plant is perhaps the most demanding of all to take care of. It requires sunlight and very little water, but it has to be kept away and out of reach from any pets and small children. It is toxic when ingested, so perhaps pass on this one if you have a pet-heavy household or particularly active and curious children.
Besides being one of the go-to treatment plants when burns are concerned, aloe vera also serves as an air purification plant as it dissolves formaldehyde and benzene.
Aloe vera does not need a lot of water, so place it in direct sunlight. Just keep it out of the way if you do not wish to get frequently pricked. It is a perfect plant to start out with if you haven’t developed green fingers yet.
As opposed to aloe vera which does not require a lot of care, bamboo palms do have some requirements in order to ensure they live up to their potential. This includes brightness without being directly affected by sunlight, soil moisture but not overly wet and air circulation. This air circulation will come in handy when it starts releasing moisture in the air.
They are also non-toxic, so they are relatively safe to keep around your pets, all while eliminating formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide and other chemicals from the air.
Different ivy plants need different types of care. We already mentioned the Devil’s ivy, which is really self-sufficient, but the English ivy is a different story. While it grows really well inside, it also needs quite a lot of light. They require a lot of water during the growth period, but you should not overdo it with watering during the winter.
Another issue is the plant’s toxicity. When eaten, it is known to cause problems with pets, other animals, and it can even cause dermatitis in people who have sensitive skin. Be sure to keep it in a safe place should you choose to get English ivies as your plant of choice.
One of the most beautiful plants you can get for air purification purposes, these perennials are found in tropical forests of Asia. They have very colorful patterns which are sure to bring color to any room you put them in. They do, however, have a price behind this – they need to be watered relatively often, but need the soil to be completely dry before another watering. They like being misted and need to be re-potted every couple of seasons. Keep them out of dogs’ reach, as they are toxic to them.
If you want cleaner air, basically any plant will do, as they all work on the same principle. However, due to differences between them, it is only natural that some will be better in cleaning up some toxins whereas others will do better with others. In regards to how much you need to take care of them, some plants are easier to take care of than others. Some may need more sunlight and will, therefore, be more appropriate to place somewhere where there is plenty of sunshine, whereas others will require frequent watering or even misting.
Be sure to keep an eye out for what you like based on the plants’ looks and needs. Keep in mind that some plants are also unsuitable for households with pets or small children since they can be toxic when ingested or even to touch.
By taking all of these factors into consideration we believe that you will surely be able to find the plant for you. Or maybe more than one – the good thing about plant collecting is that it can easily grow into a hobby, and then you may choose to expand your potted collection into a full-blown garden.