How To Clean Indoor Air: Use These Air Purifying House Plants
There are many reasons having plants in your house is good for you. One of the most important is they can literally clean the air. This is especially important in newer energy efficient homes that don’t have the natural drafts that older homes do.
Most of us know that plants absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, but they are also very effective at absorbing contaminants like benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. Research has shown that plant filtered rooms have fifty to sixty less airborne microbes such as bacteria and mold spores.
There are other benefits to having plants in your home. They can maintain healthy humidity levels by increasing the amount of water vapour in the air. Dry air can cause respiratory problems, dry itchy skin and static electricity. There is evidence that the common cold is more frequent when humidity is low.
Plants also produce negative ions. There is some science behind the idea that negative ions can reduce or remove particles such as mold spores and allergens. Negative ions can increase psychological health and overall well being. Think about how you feel when walking beside a pounding surf or waterfall, both places are known to be full of negative ions.
Studies have also shown plants produce feelings of calmness and tranquility. It is even reported that patients will recover faster if they have plants around them. Consider taking a gift of a plant instead of cut flowers to an ill person. Plants may not be as flashy as cut flowers, but will help the patient heal and after they are well will continue to be beneficial.
If you think taking care of houseplants is just another household chore, you’re wrong. A study at the University of Nevada showed that caring for plants actually improved participants self reported level of health and well being.
The best reason of all to have plants in your home is that they are beautiful. Below are some of the best air cleaning plant as identified by a study done by NASA.
The Areca Palm
The areca palm, also known as the butterfly palm, is a slow grower but indoors can reach a height of six to eight feet. They need frequent watering but do not saturate or let it sit in water as it needs good drainage. Fertilize every four months with an all purpose fertilizer. You can propagate by simple division. The areca palm has been rated among one of the best for removing toxins from the air. It is tall, graceful and beautiful.
The Money Plant
The money plant is also known as devil’s ivy or golden pathos. It is very easy to grow and can be trained up a small structure or just let it trail. It can take low light conditions and should be protected from direct sunlight. Water lightly once a week and fertilize once a month. It is very easy to propagate, simply snip a three or four inch piece below a bud and put it in a glass of water and once roots form simply plant it. It has lovely green leaves with splashes of yellow and does the job of filtering out formaldehyde and other chemicals
Mother-in-laws-tongue is also known as snake plant can grow to a height of three to four feet. It will grow well in any light conditions, full shade to full sun. It hates being over watered and can easily develop root rot. Water only about once a month and don’t fertilize it at all. If your thumb is black instead of green, this is the plant for you as it thrives on neglect. It will do wonders, for your homes air quality as it converts co2 into o2 at night. To propagate simply divide and replant.
The Spider Plant
Spider plants are very popular and one of the easiest of the trailing plants to grow. It has lovely variegated leaves and will grow long stems that trail down with little baby plants (known as plantlets) attached. To propagate simply snip one of the plantlets off and plant them directly into potting soil. It will also develop pretty tiny white flowers from time to time. Spider plants will thrive in almost any lighting conditions, but protect it from harsh direct sun. Water it about once a week and fertilize about once a month. NASA tests have shown the spider plant is a workhorse in cleaning your homes air.
Elephant Ear Philodendron
This lovely plant is very hardy and low maintenance. It will grow in medium to low lighting conditions and will even thrive in artificial light. Avoid direct sunlight and place it five to eight feet away from windows. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. They love humidity so they are ideal plants for your bathroom or kitchen. They don’t generally require fertilizer, but if yours is slow growing and pale, a light feeding occasionally is OK. They are very efficient at removing formaldehyde which, in new homes, can be quite high as it is used in the manufacture of building material, carpets and furniture. Please note; all philodendrons are poisonous.
In spite of being one of the most popular houseplants, weeping figs can be a challenge to care for. This plant does not like change, so find the right place for it and leave it there. It is slow growing but can reach up to ten feet indoors, so choose the spot carefully. There are miniature types available that grow up to three feet. It likes bright indirect light and hates drafts so avoid places near doors or vents. Water weekly in the summer and as needed in the winter to keep the soil evenly moist. Do not let it sit in water or it may develop root rot. If conditions are dry it appreciates a light weekly misting. It will naturally drop a few leaves in the fall. Don’t react to this by over watering. If you are a black thumb, avoid this plant, but if you are willing to put in the time, this plant will beautify your home and is a great all round air cleaner.
The rubber plant gets its’ name from its' sticky sap that hardens into rubber. It is easy to care for and one of the most common houseplants. It has thick glossy leaves that are variegated colors of deep green, yellow and burgundy. To keep the leaves glossy gently wipe them with a damp cloth once a month or so. It likes medium to low light so will grow in where many other plants won’t. Water weekly and allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering. If the lower leaves turn yellow and fall off this could be a sign of over watering. Fertilize once a month during the spring and summer. Please note this plant is poisonous.