We’re all aware of the rising health risks from indoor air pollution. It can be frightening and we may feel helpless to protect ourselves. I have great news. Botanists have a list of plants they consider to be the best houseplants for clean air indoors.
Having houseplants in your home is an attractive design element. We’ve long been told they can alter the energy and mood of a room, but it has also been established the best houseplants for clean air provide more than aesthetics and ambiance. We can add health and beauty to our homes by simply incorporating these six houseplants.
It’s impossible to remove all environmental hazards from our lives. It’s the truth of our modern world. Hazardous air pollutants in our homes damage our health while we’re not even aware of their presence.
Knowing what are toxins in our homes opens the door for us to remove what we can. It’s important to take responsibility for our health and do all we can to improve our living environments. So how do the best houseplants for clean air help us?
What Houseplants Do For You
Plants are like the middleman between the indoor toxins and your lungs. They take in the dangerous pollutants in the air and release clean oxygen. This process is called plant respiration which is part of photosynthesis.
It’s hard to imagine a more symbiotic relationship than this. A plant needs the carbon dioxide you breathe out and you need the oxygen it gives off. At the same time, it’s removing the toxins from the indoor air.
When you’re out in the woods or around a lot of plants, that clean fresh air you’re smelling is exactly that. People who suffer from allergies or who spend most of their time indoors, purchase expensive air purifiers to do this job for them. A cheaper way is to add the best houseplants for clean air to your home.
In the late 1980’s, NASA did a study on the relationship between indoor air quality and plants. They introduced pollutants into sealed chambers which had various houseplants in them. The plants were able to remove the toxins from the atmosphere. They used many of our common household toxins including formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. They discovered some plants did a better job than others.
By adding the best houseplants for clean air to your home, you’re both cleaning up the indoor air and beautifying your home. You know I love gardening, but when it comes to indoor plants, I’m afraid I’m not as successful. I’m going to add some of these plants we don’t already have in our home, especially those that are easier to care for.
If you live in a small space you can still add plants to your home by using something as simple as wall-mounted planters. This is a great way of growing herbs indoors as well. Plants offer us so much for so little investment. I just have to remember to water them!
I wouldn’t have thought of growing a lavender plant indoors because of the extra care it needs. Lavender’s beauty is exceeded only by its aroma. The calming effect of its transcendent smell and color is well known for calming relaxation.
Growing lavender indoors does require more care than the other choices. French lavender is the best choice for indoors. It must have plenty of light so place it in direct sunlight. Remember to keep the soil moist and rotate your pot every couple of days to allow for even light distribution on the leaves.
For the lavender to bloom, you’ll probably have to allow it some time outdoors in the summer. You’ll have to allow it to acclimate over a few days by taking it out and bringing it back in for longer and longer periods of time until it has adjusted to the temperature changes. Once it begins to bloom, you can bring it in and place it back in its sunny spot.
I have a friend, in Mississippi, who grows her lavender by her french doors. She leaves hers indoors all the time. She just opens the glass door and lets the lavender soak in the morning air and sun before she turns the air conditioner on around lunch.
Like most plants, lavender doesn’t like wet soil. I always use pebbles or rocks in the drain pan of potted plants to keep moisture available, but not allowing the plant to soak in it.
2. Areca Palm
The Areca palm is considered to be the best of the best houseplants for clean air. You’ve probably seen it in offices and church vestibules. In addition to its air purification abilities, it also helps maintain indoor humidity levels.
It likes direct sun, but the leaves can scorch so be sure it isn’t in an area which receives the hottest sun of the day. The Areca palm can do with a little dryness, but don’t let it dry out completely. It is nontoxic to people and pets. This plant can become quite large if placed in a large growing container.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is one of nature’s wonders. Aloe Vera medicinal uses include its ability to heal burns and cuts and how beneficial it is to those with digestive issues. The cool thing about aloe vera, which I had no idea of, is that it only gives off oxygen during the evening. This means when you’re ready for bed and rest, you have fresh clean air to ensure a restful night’s sleep. I think I’ll put one in the bedroom!
The Aloe Vera plant is famous for being hard to kill, another reason I like it. It’s more likely you’ll overwater than underwater the aloe. Use sandy soil or cactus mix to grow your Aloe Vera in and water sparingly.
Most Aloe growers water once every week or two, depending on the temperature and humidity indoors. Be sure it has good drainage, excess water will rot your Aloe Vera quickly. It likes sun so be sure it gets plenty without allowing the leaves to burn.
4. Snake Plant or Mother-In-Law Tongue
Like the Aloe Vera, the Snake plant gives off its oxygen at night. This means while you sleep, it provides you with fresh, clean air to help you rest. It is known to reduce headaches and relieve respiratory problems because of its efficiency in removing toxins and releasing oxygen as we sleep.
Placing your Snake plant in the bathroom gives it what it needs to flourish. It only needs a little indirect light and lots of humidity. Some people place their Snake Plant in the bedroom close to the bathroom door to allow the plant to benefit from the high humidity after showers and baths.
5. English Ivy
The English ivy can grow to cover as much space as you let it. I’ve seen them growing in offices from small pots but the plant had grown to travel the top cabinets several times around. One fascinating thing about this plant is that it’s considered vital for those who suffer from asthma and severe allergies to have it in their home and office. It helps to decrease inflammation and mucous in the respiratory tract.
English Ivy is simple to grow. It only requires a little indirect sunlight and thrives on average indoor temperatures. The soil should be kept moist, but not wet (just like most every other plant). It does like a slightly drier soil in the winter because of its growing cycles.
Be aware: the English ivy is poisonous and can be a skin irritant. Keep it up high where pets or children can’t reach it.
The choice of colors you can add to your home with the Chrysanthemum … how to decide? This amazingly attractive plant brightens any room. The bloom itself has medicinal benefits and is used in teas and tinctures. The flowers filter out benzene, a toxin found in plastics, paints, adhesives and detergents.
The Chrysanthemum requires bright sun to thrive inside. Place it where it can receive direct sun, especially in the winter. It’s best to not let your Chrysanthemum dry out. It likes to have damp soil all the time; not to sit in the water, just damp.
I find it just a good practice to place gravel of some kind in the drainage pan and set the pot on it. No matter what the water needs of the plant, this seems to work well by allowing for good drainage and access to water.
How many of the best houseplants for clean air do you already have in your home? Which will you add to your home?
Please share your growing tips and photos of these plants with us.
Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and The Pack