Adding indoor plants to your space can be a delightful way to enhance air quality, as well as provide aesthetic and psychological benefits. Some plants are particularly known for their air-purifying abilities, thanks to a NASA study conducted in the late 1980s that investigated ways to clean the air in space stations. Here are a few top choices:
- Snake Plant (Sansevieria): Extremely hardy and requiring minimal light, snake plants are known for their ability to filter out formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene from the air.
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum): Easy to grow and maintain, spider plants are effective at removing pollutants like xylene and formaldehyde. They are also non-toxic, making them safe for pets.
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum): With its beautiful white flowers, the peace lily is great at filtering out harmful benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, ammonia, and xylene. It prefers shady areas and also helps in increasing humidity.
- Aloe Vera: Besides its medicinal properties, aloe vera is good for purifying the air of formaldehyde and benzene. It’s easy to grow and loves sunlit areas.
- Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata): This plant is particularly good at removing formaldehyde and xylene. It thrives in cool locations with high humidity and indirect light.
- Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica): Rubber plants are effective at removing formaldehyde from the air. They require less light and can tolerate cooler temperatures, making them ideal for indoor environments.
- English Ivy (Hedera helix): This adaptable plant helps reduce airborne fecal particles and filters out formaldehyde. It’s ideal for hanging baskets and prefers moist soil.
- Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii): It’s effective at filtering out benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde. This plant loves bright, but not direct sunlight, and adds a tropical feel to the décor.
- Philodendron: Known for its heart-shaped leaves, it’s particularly good at absorbing formaldehyde. Philodendrons are easy to care for but should be kept away from pets as they can be toxic.
- Dracaena: With its long, wide leaves, dracaenas can improve indoor air quality by removing pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.
Tips for Keeping Indoor Plants:
- Proper Lighting: Ensure each plant gets the right amount of light; some prefer low light while others thrive in bright conditions.
- Watering: Overwatering can be as harmful as under-watering. Know the water needs of each plant.
- Humidity and Temperature: Most indoor plants prefer humidity and temperature levels that are comfortable for people.
- Toxicity to Pets: If you have pets, check for the toxicity of plants before bringing them into your home.
While plants can improve air quality to some extent, it’s important to note that they are not a substitute for proper ventilation and air filtration systems, especially in areas with high pollution levels. But as part of a holistic approach, they can certainly contribute to a healthier and more pleasant indoor environment.