Houseplants to the rescue – If you’re gasping for fresh air in your home or office, these indoor superheroes can save the day.
In our modern lives we spend the majority of our time indoors, whether it’s at home, in the office or other enclosed spaces. However, little do we realize that the air inside our homes can be significantly more polluted than the air outside. From volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by furniture and household products to airborne toxins released by cooking and cleaning, these pollutants can negatively impact our health and well-being. Thankfully, nature has provided us with a beautiful and effective solution: houseplants. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, certain houseplants can purify indoor air by filtering out toxins and improving overall air quality. In this article we will explore some of these air-cleaning champions and their benefits.
Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)
For those of you who prefer a touch of elegance while fighting air pollution, let us introduce you to the graceful peace lily. With its charming white blooms resembling a ballerina’s tutu, this plant is a natural-born performer. It excels at purifying the air by absorbing toxins like benzene, trichloroethylene and even that pesky formaldehyde lurking in your home. So, sit back, relax, and let the peace lily dance its way to cleaner air.
Growing notes: Low to medium indirect light, keep soil evenly moist but not soggy; mist leaves for humidity; propagate through division for more plants.
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
First up on our list is the quirky spider plant, named after its uncanny ability to weave webs of purification around your living space. With its long, arching leaves and white-striped greenery, it’s like having a miniature Tarzan swinging from your ceiling. And boy, does this plant pack a punch. It has been shown to remove nasty chemicals like formaldehyde and xylene from the air, making it the perfect sidekick for any room.
Growing notes: Bright, indirect light, evenly moist soil; propagate spiderettes for more plants.
Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)
If you’re looking for an air-purifying companion with a bold personality, the rubber plant is your go-to buddy. With its large, shiny leaves that look like they’ve been freshly polished, this plant is a showstopper. But don’t be fooled by its beauty; it means business when it comes to battling harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene and xylene. Plus, rumor has it, this plant is great at keeping your home trendy, so you can say goodbye to dull décor.
Growing notes: Bright, indirect light; water when the top inch of soil is dry; well-draining soil; avoid over watering; wipe leaves to remove dust; prune to maintain desired shape; propagate through stem cuttings for more plants.
Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis)
Ever wondered why aloe vera is a staple in skincare products? Well, this mighty succulent not only soothes our skin but also combats airborne villains like formaldehyde and benzene. It’s like having a superhero capable of fighting pollution while simultaneously healing your sunburns. Just make sure you don’t mistake it for an oversized cactus during your morning grogginess; that could be a prickly situation.
Growing notes: Bright, indirect light; water deeply but allow soil to dry out between waterings; well-draining soil; avoid over watering; propagate through offsets for more plants.
Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
With its delicate, feathery fronds cascading from its center, a Boston fern is like having a pet plant that adorns your living space. But don’t underestimate its looks; this green warrior excels at removing toxins such as formaldehyde and xylene. Plus, it thrives in humid environments, making it perfect for those steamy bathroom battles against airborne pollutants. It’s a win-win situation.
Growing notes: Indirect light or bright, filtered light; keep soil evenly moist, never allow it to dry out completely; provide high humidity by misting leaves or using a humidifier; avoid drafts and cold temperatures; feed with a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season; propagate through division or spores for more plants.
English ivy (Hedera helix)
Say hello to the suave English ivy, the sophisticated gentleman of air-purifying plants. With its elegant vines cascading down from shelves and trellises, it adds a touch of class to any space. But don’t let its refined appearance fool you; it’s a pro at eliminating formaldehyde, benzene and xylene from the air. Just make sure it doesn’t start reciting Shakespearean soliloquies when you’re not looking.
Growing notes: Thrives in bright, indirect light; water when the top inch of soil is dry, but avoid over watering; provide moderate to high humidity through misting or placing a tray of water nearby; trim regularly to control growth and promote bushiness; keep away from drafts and temperature extremes; propagate through stem cuttings in water or soil for more plants.
Money plant (Epipremnum aureum)
Who says cleaning the air can’t bring you wealth and prosperity? Enter the money plant, also known as devil’s ivy, with its heart-shaped leaves and reputation for attracting good fortune. This plant not only brings positive vibes but also tackles airborne pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde and xylene. Just be sure to resist the temptation to hire it as your personal financial adviser.
Growing notes: Thrives in a wide range of lighting conditions from low to bright, indirect light; water when the top inch of soil is dry, but avoid over watering; well-draining soil; tolerates average room humidity; trim regularly to control growth and promote bushiness; can tolerate some neglect; propagate through stem cuttings in water or soil for more plants.
Philodendron (Philodendron spp.)
If you’re looking for a houseplant that embraces a laid-back attitude while purifying the air, the philodendron is for you. With its large, glossy leaves and trailing vines, it exudes a tropical charm that transports you to an island paradise. And while you’re daydreaming of sipping cocktails on the beach, this easy-going plant is busy eliminating formaldehyde, toluene and xylene from the air. Talk about multitasking.
Growing notes: Thrives in bright, indirect light but can tolerate lower light conditions; water when the top inch of soil is dry, allowing slight drying between waterings; well-draining soil; average room humidity is sufficient but appreciates higher humidity; trim to control size and promote bushiness; avoid over watering to prevent root rot; propagate through stem cuttings in water or soil for more plants.
Snake plant (Sansevieria)
Don’t be alarmed by its slithery name; the snake plant is a fantastic addition to your air-purifying squad. With its long, upright leaves that resemble a snake charmer’s flute, this plant has a unique charm. It’s a master at filtering out toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene. Plus, its low-maintenance nature will make you wonder if it’s secretly plotting a stand-up comedy career.
Growing notes: Thrives in low to bright indirect light; water sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings; well-draining soil; tolerant of various humidity levels; avoid over watering, as it is prone to root rot; low-maintenance and can tolerate neglect; propagate through division or leaf cuttings for more plants.
ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
Last but not least, we have the resilient ZZ plant, a true survivor in the world of air purification. With its glossy, dark green leaves that seem to say, “I’ve got this,” it can handle low-light conditions and neglect like a champion. Not only does it thrive in challenging environments, but it also fights pollutants like benzene, toluene and xylene, proving that even underdogs can be air-purifying superheroes.
Growing notes: Thrives in low to bright indirect light; allow the soil to dry out between waterings, as it is drought-tolerant; well-draining soil; tolerates average room humidity; avoid over watering, as it is susceptible to root rot; can tolerate low light conditions and neglect; propagate through division or leaf cuttings in soil for more plants.