Dust, smoke and toxic chemicals can easily pollute our homes. While you can use an air purifier, you can also grow indoor plants for clean air.
And so, if you are thinking of home redecorating by bringing nature in, air-purifying plants are your dual-purpose option.
Check out my list of greenery that’s beautiful and easy to maintain for green and black thumbs alike!
Why Grow Plants for Clean Indoor Air
Many of us are spending longer hours at home. And that means clean indoor air is all the more essential. But realistically, it will take several plants to improve indoor air quality.
However, research also shows that houseplants have a role in reducing carbon dioxide levels, improving temperature and increasing relative humidity. Aside from their air-cleansing ability, indoor houseplants generally make us feel good, too.
Low-Maintenance Indoor Plants for Clean Air
Some that are worth mentioning are the following:
- Benzene is a carcinogen that can cause headaches and dizziness. Its sources are car exhaust, cigarette smoke, furniture wax, detergent and paint.
- Trichloroethylene is another carcinogen. It typically comes from paint, carpet liquid cleansers, metal cleaners and varnish.
- Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that can cause asthma attacks, rashes, eye irritation and headache. Sources are particleboard, plywood, paper towel, nail polish and air fresheners.
- Toluene comes from vehicle emissions, tobacco smoke, paints and adhesives.
- Xylene can cause eye, nose and throat irritation. Artificial fragrances, paints and vehicle emissions are its predominant sources.
Yup, it’s worrisome to think that we encounter (and create) these every day. Good thing we got indoor plants for clean air to help.
Here are some ideas to jump-start your natural air-cleansing regimen.
1. Boston Fern
Why grow: It extracts carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the air. The lush fronds are excellent for adding greenery indoors.
How to grow: Boston fern thrives in cool and moist conditions. And so, hanging a pot of this in your bathroom is a good idea.
However, this pet-safe plant is not a fan of direct sunlight or deep shade. If you’re placing it in a bright spot, try to keep it away from windows. In a dark room, place it near a natural light source.
2. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Snake Plant)
Why grow: It significantly reduces all major VOCs, including carbon dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene. This hardy plant is ideal for beginners as it can thrive under the toughest of conditions.
How to grow: The snake plant belongs to the succulent family. And so, the only way to make it unhappy is to overwater it.
Dig your finger into the soil until it reaches your first knuckle to avoid this problem. Moist soil means no watering needed.
Also, mature snake plants have very sharp leaves that may irritate the skin. Keep the pot away from your fur baby and small children, and wear gloves when repotting.
3. Aloe Vera
Why grow: It filters harmful chemicals like carbon dioxide, benzene and formaldehyde from the air. Breaking its fleshy leaves open also produces a clear goo that heals minor burns and wounds.
How to grow: Use a potting mix with perlite or sand for better drainage. Place the aloe vera plant on a sunny spot in your kitchen or bedroom.
It does not require much watering, but its fleshy leaves hate the cold. Also, keep the plant away from pets as it is toxic when ingested.
4. Peace Lily
Why grow: It removes toxins like carbon dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene and ammonia from the air. This small floral houseplant suits a compact space or tiny home.
How-to grow: Peace lilies grow best in a moist and low-light environment, like your bathroom, bedroom or hallway. They take the guesswork out of watering as they droop when they need water.
Mist or wash their green leaves to prevent pest infestation. But make sure to wash your hands afterwards. Peace lily leaves have calcium oxalate, which is toxic, especially when eaten by kids or pets.
5. Dracaena (Corn Plant)
Why grow: It helps remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene from the air. There are over 40 varieties of Dracaena plants with stunning red, green or yellow foliage.
How to grow: Dracaena typically reaches up to 3 feet (about 1m), so you’ll need large pots for it. It prefers light misting rather than watering.
Dust its leaves regularly to unblock the pores. And keep it away from cats and dogs, too, as ingestion is mildly toxic.
6. Spider Plant
Why grow: It filters carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the air. This beautiful trailing plant is a perfect match for beginners and forgetful gardeners.
How to grow: Spider plants love indirect sunlight but hate soggy soil. So, make sure to let the soil dry out a bit before watering.
Spider plants look great on top of furniture or hanging in the corner. Over time, they grow baby spider plants that can deplete nutrients from the mother plant.
So, it’s best to cut them off. Let the shoots root in water or soil and grow new spider plants for gifting!
Tips on Choosing Indoor Plants for Clean Air
When picking out plants to grow indoors, make sure to match it with your region’s weather as well as your lifestyle. It’s a good thing, though, that we have a variety of plants for clean indoor air.
Some like sunny areas, while others love a shady spot. That way, you can match individual plant preferences with your rooms at home.
Aside from removing indoor toxins, did you know that some plants are experts in shooing bugs away? Check out this article and see how you can make your homemade bug repellent!