We live in a time of prevalent use of chemicals in many of our household products – from the use of PBB and PCBPolybrominated Biphenyl (PBB) & Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) are chemicals used as flame retardants in plastic products to prevent them from catching fire. in plastic foam and furniture to polyurethane in our mattresses, and from formaldehyde and other VOCVolatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals found in items such as paints and adhesives, that are dangerous to human health and have compounding long-term health effects, some of which are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans and animals. in the adhesive used in carpets and upholstery, to pesticides that we use to keep pests and vermins out.
As a measure to counteract these effects, commercial air cleaners and air purifiers have become very popular in recent years, as these household appliances are quite effective at removing dust, smoke, allergens and some harmful substances from the air, including VOCs. However, remember that not all air purifiers are created equal, and some are simply ineffective.
“Fresh air is after all a fundamental component of healthy living and we are not only what we eat, but what we breathe in.”
Today we will be looking at 10 indoor plants that purify air – a natural solution that is virtually cost-free and low maintenance.
The plants that are listed below are suitable for indoor growing. Apart from their aesthetic value to your interior, recent studies have also shown these plants to be good at improving the levels of your indoor air quality. In no particular order, here are the 10 plants that purify air for your home.
One of the best air-purifying plants, the Spider Plant is commonly found in the homes of many. It is easy to grow and maintain, and quickly removes up 90% of toxins over a period of 2 days.
Spider Plants effectively remove carbon monoxide, benzeneA colourless volatile liquid hydrocarbon present in coal tar and petroleum, and used in chemical synthesis. Its use as a solvent has been reduced because of its carcinogenic properties. and formaldehyde from the air. They are also good for removing mould and allergens from the air, which is ideal for those with common allergy symptoms.
English Ivy is most effective at filtering out benzene and formaldehyde, making it a suitable plant for both the home and the office.
It also cleans the air of other allergens such as mould and faecal-matter particles, which may prove beneficial for those who keep pets. English Ivy is adaptable and easy to grow.
Boston Fern is a natural humidifier, which makes it an ideal plant to grow indoors for those who suffer from dry skin problems. As such, it also helps to maintain indoor humidity levels during the dry winter season, and absorbs formaldehyde from the air. Boston Ferns are aesthetically pleasing and make good decorative plants for the home, on top of their health benefits.
Peace Lily is a name we stumble often with regards to purifying the air. This is because it has been proven to absorb the highest number of toxins from the air compared to any other plants, and eliminates harmful substances such as ammonia, benzene, xylene (you may recall seeing this on whiteboard marker pens), formaldehyde and trichloroethylenea clear, non-flammable halocarbon with a sweet smell commonly used as an industrial solvent.
Peace Lily grows well in low and bright light conditions. Ensure that the foliageplant leaves collectively of the plant is dust-free in order to maximise its air purifying abilities.
An easy to grow perennialliving for several years plant that produces red berries, the Chinese Evergreen requires repotting every 2 to 3 years and is effective at absorbing airborne toxins such as benzene, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde.
It increasingly absorbs more toxins over long periods and prolonged exposure, making it one of the best plants that purify air.
Golden Pothos grows rapidly and eliminates benzene, toluene, xylene, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.
Aside from its air purifying abilities, it is also a great looking plant that would complement your decor.
Like the Golden Pothos, Bamboo Palm also looks great indoors. It has a high transpirationthe flow of water through a plant, from the roots to the leaves, via the xylem vessels rate, and is thus effective for humidying dry air space especially during the dry winter months.
Bamboo Palm is effective at removing toxins like benzene, nitrogen oxide, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. They thrive in low to medium light conditions.
The Rubber Plant is quite easily distinguishable by its broad deep green-coloured leaves (some variants have purplish tinge) that is glossy and plasticky in feel and texture. This plant is effective at removing formaldehyde and absorbing carbon monoxide and trichloroethylene from the air. The Rubber Plant is easy to grow and may be trimmed to control its height or allowed to grow to a tall tree.
N.B. When trimmed or where it branch is broken, the point of cut produces latex, so caution should be exercised around children and pets.
A very popular plant and a member of the Lily family, Aloe Vera has medicinal properties and air purifying abilities.
In gel form, it is an excellent treatment for minor burns, cuts, insect bites and some skin problems. As a plant, it filters out formaldehyde.
You can identify a Philodendron plant from its deep green heart-shaped leaf with gaps in between. A commonly grown indoor plant, the Philodendron is often found arranged at a corner or hanging from baskets.
Philodendron is an excellent air purifier and can easily adapt to a wide range of conditions and is drought tolerant. However, special care needs to be taken where children and pets are concerned, as the plant is toxic when ingested. If you have pets and children around the home, it may be best to select one of the other plants listed above.
“There’s so much pollution in the air now that if it weren’t for our lungs there’d be no place to put it all.”
– Robert Orben, American professional comedy writer
Here is a video posted by The Latest on the 10 indoor plants listed above:
Plants that Purify Air for the Home
With the oxygen that is released during the day via photosynthesis, plants not only complement the home with a pleasant green but refreshes the breathing air at home as well.
You can place these plants in the living room, kitchen, and even in the bedroom. There is an old myth that says it is not recommended to place plants in the bedroom as the carbon dioxide released from plants during the night creates a less than healthy living environment. However, these claims are unfounded as the volume of carbon dioxide released in the normal respiratory process from a spouse or a pet in the same room far exceeds the one released by any plant.
Whatever the reasons may be, plants make a great natural solution for treating and improving the indoor air quality of your home. Fresh air is after all a fundamental component of healthy living and we are not only what we eat, but what we breathe in.
Share this article with someone you know who could benefit from some plants that purify air in the home.
N.B. See below for links to purchase these plants and books on this topic.