Indoor plants are often used for home decoration. The green provides a positive vibe which makes your room quite welcoming. But, do you know that there are the best indoor plants that clean the air?
Indoor air may contain more toxins and pollution than outdoor air. That might be surprising, but it is true. A number of people believe that air which lingers outdoors is unhealthy, but the fact is the amount of indoor toxins is often greater than outdoor pollution.
A variety of factors may be polluting your indoor atmosphere, including: smoking, cleaning materials, malfunctioning appliances, electronics, building materials, and so on. Even our clothes and linens give off toxins (unless they are organic!).
Even the freshener which you use may release potentially risky chemical substances into the house.
Mattresses, gathering dust in drawers, and paint on the walls all include chemicals that can harm you after extended exposure. Glues, shampoos, and insecticides have formaldehyde toxic gas that is carcinogenic.
Also, chemical exposure is hazardous for health and must be prevented. Exposure to indoor pollutants can result in fatigue, eye irritation, sneezing, dizziness, and coughing.
And prolonged exposure can cause worse health problems, for example: heart disease, digestive issues, and respiratory illness.
NASA Clean Air Study – A Great Breakthrough!
In 1989 NASA wanted to find out how different kinds of plants can eradicate toxic elements from air. The NASA clean air study looked at a bunch of houseplants.
NASA was looking for plants to clean the air on the space station, where you can’t open a window to air things out. They found that lots of plants can purify the air. If it’s good enough for astronauts, it’s good enough for me.
The toxic elements they targeted were trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, and benzene – which can get trapped in the house and make you ill.
The study, in collaboration with the ALCA (Associated-Landscape-Contractors-of-America), found some plants which naturally assist in eliminating toxins from air.
Getting rid of pollutants in the indoor air is highly important in terms of treating businesses or homes tagged with the “sick-building syndrome.”
NASA’s results have been approved and adopted universally. The plants chosen to be tested for their effectiveness in improving quality of air are affordable and simple to maintain.
Borrowing from the list of NASA’s research, listed below are eight of the best air-purifying house plants to assist you to start your own indoor air-cleaning efforts.
Plants “breathe” in the opposite way that we do. It’s called photosynthesis, and they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen as a byproduct. Obviously, it’s more complicated than that, but you get the gist. That’s one reason we need plants. Without them, our planet would be oxygen-free (and animal-free).
While they are absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, they also take in a variety of chemicals and toxins and store them in their roots and leaves.
In addition to cleaning the air, plants make your house look nice. They create a calming effect. In fact, studies have shown that having plants in your view speeds healing and creates a relaxed atmosphere.
Taking Care of Houseplants
I have listed a few simple instructions for caring for houseplants in each of the specific plant sections below. Normally, when you buy a plant it will come with instructions, but if you got your plant from a clipping ( a great way to grow your indoor plant collection for cheap!), then you can look at the plant care instructions.
In addition to making sure your plants get the right amount of light and water, don’t worry- I have included hardy varieties that tolerate a variety of light situations – you will want to feed them a good plant food from time to time.
I use both Joyful Dirt and Earth Pods to feed my plants. While you can get different fertilizers for every kind of plant, I advise using a general feed on all plants. Unless you are growing for the gardening regional championships, your plants will do just fine with a general blend.
Joyful Dirt is a great organic indoor plant food that you shake on the soil once a month. Then water. It contains nutrients for the plant and mycorrhizae to help the plant take up water and nutrients from the soil. Joyful Dirt is child and pet friendly.
Earth Pods are also organic and even easier to use, not that sprinkling Joyful Dirt is that challenging. There are different Earth Pods for almost every type of plant from African violets to succulents, but I use the General Purpose pods on all my plants. Just push a couple of the pods into the soil of your plant and it will release nutrients with every watering for 2-4 weeks. EarthPods are pet, child, eco-friendly, and 100% sustainably made in the USA.
It’s time to explore the best air purifying plants for your home.
English Ivy – Hedera helix
Have you added a baby or pet to your family? Possibly you are getting worried about the germs which can be transmitted through feces. A good way to overcome this is simply to have English ivy, an attractive indoor plant that cleans the air.
Reputed for ingesting formaldehyde and decreasing air-borne mold by 95%, English ivy indoor plant is the ultimate air purifier as per NASA. English Ivy includes dense foliage which can successfully help in absorbing widespread indoor pollutants and chemicals.
Additionally, it has air-filtering influences which can assist you in decreasing bad chemicals, including xylene, toluene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, and carbon monoxide.
How to Care for English Ivy
There’s nothing hard about maintaining or establishing this plant. English ivy can survive in every light condition. You just have to ensure moist soil until its roots develop.
Snake Plant – Sansevieria
There are several varieties of snake plants, but they are all in the genus, Sansevieria.
This snake plant air purifier needs minimum effort to sustain its obstinate nature. Snake plant’s wide long leaves are best for cleaning up the air in the home.
This plant scored the top levels in the formaldehyde toxins eliminated in NASA’s study. Whereas most plants eliminated two toxins, snake plant was able to remove four toxins.
Another superb quality of the plant is that it releases a lot of oxygen and humidity, trapping dust and other allergens, making snake plants great for people with allergies.
How to Care for Snake Plant
Snake plants can handle full light or indirect light. Allow the soil to dry between waterings and be sure not to overwater, especially in winter. Choose a soil that drains well to help keep from drowning the roots.
Snake plant is really great for folks who don’t want to spend a lot of time caring for plants. Keep it away from drafts and in a room that is over 50F in winter.
Spider Plant – Chlorophytum comosum
Probably the best part about a spider plant is its capability to endure the neglectful care we are susceptible to providing. With indirect sunlight and water, they flourish in temperatures that are typical in most interior settings.
Another best part about this spider plant air purifier is that it can remove xylene and formaldehyde from air.
The compact size makes spider plants a superb fit for a desk at the work. But, if you give them room to grow, they can get quite large and full.
Additionally, they are non-toxic, which makes them perfect for houses with small pets or children.
How to Care for Spider Plant
Nurturing them is pretty simple and spider plants grow under almost any condition. This plant even will survive being ignored sometimes.
New spider plants can easily be grown from the “babies” of an older plant. When a mature spider plant sends out a little mini version of itself, snip it off and put it in a jar of water with the root nodes submerged. When you see new roots, it is time to transplant them into soil.
Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum wallisii
This attractive plant is going to blow your mind. They have very dark green glossy leaves which offset the natural white flowers beautifully. They can easily grow from two to four feet high and two feet wide.
Peace lilies are not true lilies, but members of the Araceae family.
While proficiently cleaning all the serious toxins from the indoor air, peace lilies also emit plenty of humidity into the air. It can help relieve respiratory problems for individuals who reside in dry environments.
Peace lilies tend to do well in dim and cool areas, which makes them ideal for bedrooms, hospitals, and offices. This is one of the best indoor plants to clean the air.
How to Care for Peace Lily
This plant needs indirect sunlight and higher humidity. You have to water it adequately and allow the top of the soil to dry between waterings. If the top of the soil is dry, then you know it is time to water.
If you live somewhere dry, like I do, it doesn’t hurt to mist it a few times a week.
Philodendrons – Philodendron
There are a variety of philodendrons to choose from. Be a little careful when choosing a philodendron as they are toxic if eaten, but they are really good at eliminating all types of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
Philodendrons are particularly effective in fighting formaldehyde. The heart-formed leaves of the philodendrons provide these plants an exceptional look; the vines additionally make philodendrons a perfect candidate for hanging pots.
Philodendrons can live for years – if they are supplied with reasonable water and sunlight. And the leaves can grow as large as 12″ long!
How to Care for Philodendron
Philodendrons are exceptionally low-maintenance plants. They grow with little maintenance and indirect light, hence they can thrive in most atmospheres.
Philodendrons are great for growing from clippings.
Bamboo Palm – Chamaedorea seifrizii
Bamboo palms are excellent for removing carbon monoxide, trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde.
Place the bamboo palms alongside lacquered furniture. This will help vaporize hazardous chemicals. Bamboo palms want indirect, shady light and perform superior in warm temperatures.
Be careful not to overwater bamboo palms or you might shorten their life expectancy. If you take good care, bamboo palms may flower and yield small berries. The berries are poisonous, so don’t eat them.
How to Care for Bamboo Palm
Make sure you do not overwater your bamboo palms. Allow the soil top to dry between waterings. This plant wants high humidity; therefore consider placing this on a jar of pebbles with added water so the water can evaporate and create a humid mini-climate.
Aloe Vera – Aloe vera
This plant assists in removing VOCs from the air and consumes carbon dioxide as well as provides ample oxygen into the air (as all plants do).
Aloe vera is a succulent, thus it is straightforward to maintain. It does not need much water. Aloe vera is popular for its therapeutic qualities – it’s great for treating minor burns and abrasions. Just crack a leaf open and apply the gel to the sunburn or scrape.
Aloe Vera eliminates formaldehyde from the air. It turns brown if contamination is severe. Moreover, it reduces the amount of benzene from chemical-based cleaners and paints.
How to Care for Aloe Vera
Aloe vera likes properly-drained soil. It needs lots of artificial or natural indirect light. It needs little watering, particularly during winter. Although non-harmful for humans, aloe vera is still risky for pets.
Ficus (Weeping Fig) – Ficus benjamina
Last but not least, ficuses are well-known houseplants and great plants for workplaces. Why are they great for the office? As they have an impressive look and are extremely good at purifying the indoor air.
The Clean-Air-Study executed by NASA discovered ficus plants to be helpful for airborne cleaning of toluene, xylene, and formaldehyde from the surrounding air.
Needless to say, ficus plants are known as air-filtering plants too. This plant likes humid, hot climates, but they grow fine in our arid, cold Montana climate, as well. Just keep them inside and even can grow as tall as 10 feet.
Some people are allergic to ficus.
How to Care for Ficus
Ficus is easy to maintain, but wear gloves to prune or maintain the plant if you are allergic.
Ficus shouldn’t be put near air conditioning, heating vents, or near drafts as they can trigger leaf loss.
This trendy Asian plant loves indirect light. You have to let the soil dry between waterings, but do not leave the plant dry for a long time.
How to Propagate Houseplants from Cuttings
For an inexpensive way to get new plants, simply grow a plant from the cutting of an existing plant. If you have a plant you love, or have your eye on a friend’s house plant, it’s easy to grow your own.
While propagating from a clipping doesn’t work with all house plants, you can successfully grow a new plant with a lot of them.
From the above descriptions of indoor plants that clean the air, the easiest to regrow are:
- English ivy
- Snake plant
- Spider plant
In general, choose healthy, vigorous shoots from which to take your cuttings. Cut just below a node (where a leaf is attached) with a sharp, clean knife. Your cutting should be 4-6 inches long.
Spider plants will send out “babies,” which you can clip and root.
Then remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting. Most plants will benefit greatly from an application of an organic rooting hormone. The rooting hormone will have directions indicating how much to apply.
Next, place your cutting in rooting material like vermiculite, perlite, or a special rooting soil. Don’t use regular, outdoor soil as it may compact too much and hold too much water, drowning the roots. You can also use compressed peat or coconut coir pellets normally used for starting seeds.
For philodendrons and spider plants, I’ve had success putting them in water until the roots form and then moving them to a pot with organic potting soil.
Be sure to keep everything clean and don’t let your plant or rooting material dry out.
Treat Yo’ Self to Indoor Plants
If you have plants around your house- they make a marvelous ambiance, decrease stress, and clean your indoor air.
No matter if you choose peace lilies, snake plants, or spider plants, you’re taking a great step to improving the quality of air in the house. The best indoor plants that clean the air mentioned above are going to enhance your health dramatically.
Having air-purifying indoor plants which clean air and eliminate toxic compounds is the best way to begin boosting the air you inhale each and every day.
Nothing is of greater significance than your family’s and your health, so select your favorite plant from this list and give it a place in your home.
We want to learn how your plant is thriving!
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