Back in the 1980s, a series of studies by NASA found that plants have the potential to purify the air. However, enormous amounts of plants would be needed to rid an average home of mold spores, bacteria, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other pollutants. Still, by reducing levels of CO2 and increasing relative humidity, houseplants can provide health benefits, including the reduction of irritation to eyes, ears, nose, and throat, as well as helping to lower stress. Here’s a selection of the best air-purifying indoor plants for your home, and these low-maintenance selections are among the toughest you can find.
With over 40 different species in the Dracaena family, finding a perfect one for your home or office would be easy. Pet owners, on the other hand, could skip this one, as these plants are highly toxic to our four-legged friends when eaten. Dracaenas grow to three feet tall so, chances are you’re going to have to repot it at least once. Instead of watering, they respond best to misting.
Native to southeast Asia and parts of Australia, ficus is a popular indoor plant that can grow up to 10 feet. Also known as the weeping fig, this hardy, low-maintenance plant thrives in bright indirect light, and moderate watering—don’t water it until the soil has dried. In temperatures above freezing, you can take this houseplant outside to bring more style to your veranda or patio.
Not only is it easy to care for, but Aloe has several health benefits. The plant’s leaves contain a clear fluid full of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and other compounds with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory wound-healing properties. Many homeowners choose to keep these in the kitchen window for a quick burn relief remedy. Just break off a leaf and let the salve ooze out on the burned spot.
Spider plants are probably among the easiest air-purifying indoor plants to grow, which makes them a great choice for beginners, students, and forgetful owners. In bright indirect sunlight, spider plant will sprout flowers that eventually grow into baby spider plants, hence the name. You can grow these babies in their own pots while still attached to the mother plant, and snip them once they take root.
These gentle ferns work best for your indoor environment from a cool location with indirect light and high humidity. While they are relatively easy to grow, they need to stay moist. They need to have their soil checked daily, and require at least one good soak each month.
If you’re not sure whether Boston fern is a plant for you, don’t hesitate to ask people who specialize in right indoor plant arrangements, as well as maintenance and replacement of hired indoor plants. This option is perfect for busy people and businesses who want to spruce up their interior with professionally selected and maintained plants.
Much smaller than most of the plants on this list, peace lilies are ideal for tiny homes and studios. They thrive in shady spots, while you should keep the soil moist without overwatering. Easy enough to grow, peace lilies will blossom for the greater part of summer. Keep in mind though that such an excessive flowering will contribute to some pollen and floral scents to the air.
Every fall, garden stores are bristling with these popular and inexpensive indoor plants with beautiful blooms. Garden mum is a perennial plant ideal for homeowners who like to interact with their plants since they will occasionally require some deadheading. Actually, activities related to plant maintenance such as watering, clipping, pruning, and repotting have been associated with reducing stress levels. Similar to dracaenas, these plants are toxic to pets, so keep them out of reach.
Why It Pays to Repot Your Plants
If your plant came with a dull generic pot or has outgrown its previous one, you should repot it into an emission-free clay pot using organic soil. To increase your plant’s chance for survival in the new container, water it thoroughly in the original pot before repotting and make sure to snip away any roots protruding thought the drainage hole, as they might trap the plant in the container.
The Future of Air-Purifying Plants
Even though plants can’t entirely replace adequate ventilation and healthy indoor air quality, scientists are experimenting with a plant that could even the odds. Tested in a glass chamber against chloroform and benzene, a genetically modified pathos ivy dropped the concentration of chloroform by 82% in three days, and benzene by 75% in eight days.
Judging by posts to Instagram and Pinterest, interior foliage is trending again. However, there’s more to those sansevierias and ferns than meets the eye. For many eco-conscious homeowners, the beauty of these plants is only half the reason, as even a small indoor garden can improve the air quality in your home.
If one thing is true about Lillian Connors, her mind is utterly curious. That’s why she can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of green living/home improvement projects and spread the word about them. She cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. You can check her out on Twitter and LinkedIn.