Who doesn’t love houseplants? Something about crisp, green, growing leaves seems to brighten up any room. But did you know that houseplants can elevate mood, enhance creativity, promote wellness, and, according to studies by NASA, Associated Landscape Contractors of America, and the American Society for Horticultural Science, they also purify indoor air?
Our modern-day homes are rife with pollutants that can cause a host of health problems. Chemicals from furniture, floor coverings, paints, detergents, air fresheners, and household cleaners can hover inside poorly ventilated homes, as well as those with good airflow. Fortunately, many houseplants will filter these chemicals and clean air naturally, as well as brighten up your living space.
Below is a list of the best houseplants for cleaning the toxins out of the air in your home:
1. English Ivy
This charming evergreen vine grows happily in low or indirect light conditions. The leaves are poisonous, so keep them away from pets and kids. Fortunately, English Ivy enjoys containers and hanging baskets. They also brighten up shelves and dark corners beautifully. Studies have shown that English Ivy is effective at removing benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, as well as other allergens such as mold and airborne fecal matter. Hang one near your pet’s letterbox, or in the bathroom.
2. Peace Lily
The beautiful broad green leaves and cupped white blooms of the peace lily are a favorite in the NASA study for removing the three most common pollutants: formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. Peace lilies will thrive and flower in bright light. They can handle low light conditions, though they may not produce blooms. Keep the foliage and flowers clear of dust to maximize their detoxifying power. The plant is poisonous as well, so keep it out of reach of kids and pets.
3. Bamboo Palm
This sturdy palm can grow tall, between 3 to 6 feet, and is an elegant plant in any room. It’s effective at removing the formaldehyde often used in furniture, so arrange it next to chairs, couches, and end tables, in indirect light. During dryer winter months, the bamboo palm can also add a bit of welcome moisture to the air.
Ficus is a tropical-looking evergreen with twisting roots and bright green, shiny leaves. It’s effective at removing pollutants from furniture and carpets, though it can be a bit temperamental to grow. Keep the leaves clear of dust and water moderately.
The sword-shaped leaves of the Dracena plant can come in a variety of colors and variations, and can easily reach ceiling height when cared for properly. This plant is best for ridding the air of chemicals found in lacquers, varnishes, and gasoline. Also known as a Corn Plant, the Dracena is a dramatic, but fairly easy plant to maintain.
You’re probably already familiar with these colorful flowers. Mums are popular in bouquets, but as a potted plant, they are excellent at filtering out chemicals found in glues, paints, detergents, and plastics. Chrysanthemums love bright light and add a gorgeous pop of color to any room.
7. Golden Pothos
Pothos are excellent for filtering out formaldehyde and stays green, even if kept in the dark, which makes them ideal for basements and garages. A proficient grower, Pothos is great in containers and hanging pots where its trailing vines can tumble over the pot’s edge.
8. Snake Plant
A common, if not slightly offensive nickname for this blade-like plant is mother-in-law’s-tongue. It’s awesome at filtering out chemicals found in toilet paper, tissues, and other toiletry products. It enjoys low light and humid conditions, which makes it ideal for bathrooms.
9. Spider Plant
Often considered a gift plant, since the Spider Plant produces runners with ‘babies’ that can easily be transplanted. Spider Plants filter out chemicals emitted from leather and rubber. This resilient plant takes very little maintenance and can get by happily without water. It will tell you it’s thirsty when the green of the long, skinny, striped leaves fade. A little water will perk it right back up!
Aloe is an excellent low-maintenance plant for sunny locations. It’s great at removing chemicals from paints and chemical cleaning products, and the gel inside the succulent spiked leaves can be used to relieve cuts and burns. Aloe is a slow grower, but it can get quite large.
The recommended rule of thumb is one potted houseplant every 100 square feet, but you really can’t have too many houseplants for good air quality. Here’s a list of even more air-cleaning plants. Display plants in groups to maximize their filtering power and create a lovely aesthetic. And then…breathe easy!
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