11 Indoor Plants That Can Help You Tackle Indoor Air Pollution
The Clean Air Study of 1989 was conducted by NASA in association with Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA). The mission statement of the project was to find a cost-effective way to purify the air on the International Space Station.
At the end of this project, NASA released a list of plants that have air purifying capabilities. The study found that these plants were able to purify the air by removing up to 90% of the air pollutants present.
The study found that certain plants can remove the following air pollutants from the air;
And use the same to enhance their own growth and other plant functions.
These same compounds can be found in any normal household and are the main causes of harmful indoor air pollution.
What Causes indoor air pollution?
We all take extra precautions before stepping out because of air pollution, but we often forget that indoor air pollution is almost ten times more harmful.
Indoor air pollution can be caused by many factors; both natural and synthetic. For example, the weather in your city can propagate pollution, as well as the synthetic materials in your house, which can increase the presence of air pollutants in your home, etc.
The most common causes of indoor air pollution are;
- Stagnant Air: this is the main cause of indoor air pollution. Stagnant air occurs when there is no ventilation or air circulation in certain enclosed spaces. This means stagnant air doesn’t get out and fresh air can’t get in. Therefore, neither can the air pollutants.
- Synthetic Material: another major cause of indoor air pollution are synthetic materials. The glues and resins used in modern furniture and cabinets contribute to almost 90% of the air pollutants present in a room. There are many other materials that are used in construction and renovations that emit Volatile Organic Compounds into the air. Especially asbestos, which is extensively used in construction. They also fester from paints, varnish solutions, moth repellents, air fresheners, etc.
- Dust and Dander: Dust is another major cause of indoor air pollution. Keeping your surroundings dust-free is extremely important because not only does dust contribute to air pollution, it is also the cause for many other allergies and infections. Dust is considered a PM2.5 air pollutant.
- Humidity: There is not much you can do if the city you live in has high humidity levels. But the humidity is also a very large contributory factor to indoor air pollution. Because of the moisture in the air, air pollutants find it easier to permeate into closed spaces.
Indoor air pollution has serious consequences. In more severe manifestations, indoor air pollution can lead to long term health conditions like cancer, asthma, many cardiovascular diseases. Indoor air pollution can also cause chronic recurring headaches, sore throats, eye infections, etc.
In almost all of these cases, buying an air purifier is the best solution. However, there are many other things you can do in your home to tackle your indoor air pollution problem. For example, opening your windows every once in a while.
Along with these measures, there are some plants that can help you tackle your indoor air pollution problems as well. Let us take a look.
Natural Air Purifiers
Here is a list of plants approved by NASA that have air purifying capabilities.
- Peace LilyThe Peace Lily plant is a simple plant to grow. It is not high maintenance and does not require intensive care and attention.The plant flowers throughout the summer. Ideally, the plant should be kept away from direct sunlight and its soil must be kept moist at all times. Be sure not to overwater the plant to this end!Peace Lilies are flowering plants and therefore they contribute a certain pollen content to the air. So if you have an intolerance to pollen, this may not be the best option for you.The Peace Lily is best for getting rid of the following air pollutants from the air around you; ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene.
- Flamingo LilyAnother variant of the Lily family that has air purifying capabilities is the Flamingo Lily. The Flamingo Lily is an elegant indoor plant that can be a lot more than decorative!This plant, being an indoor plant, needs to be kept away from direct sunlight and the soil it is planted in needs to be kept moist at all times.The Flamingo Lily adds pollen content to your air aswell. So be sure you don’t have more than one in a room and if you have a high intolerance to pollen avoid these altogether.Flamingo Lilies help in ridding the air from the following air pollutants; formaldehyde, toluene, xylene, and ammonia.
- ChrysanthemumsChrysanthemums are one of the highly-rated flowering plants that have air purifying capabilities.This inexpensive indoor plant needs to be kept away from direct sunlight while it is blooming. But can be, typically, kept outside in the sun after its blooming season is over.Being a flowering plant, the Chrysanthemums also add pollen content to the air. So be sure not to have too many in the same place.Chrysanthemums are known to remove formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, and ammonia from the air.
- Baberton DaisyBaberton Daisy is a great colorful addition to your home. The Baberton Daisy flowers throughout the year and every bloom last between 4 to 6 weeks.This is a strictly indoor plant and does not need direct sunlight to grow. However, they can be planted directly into the ground as long as the sunlight is not direct.The Baberton Daisy is known to filter formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene.
- Boston FernThe Boston Fern thrives in cool, humid environments. The Boston Fern is best kept away from direct sunlight.Needing little to no attention, the Boston Fern grows quickly. The soil the fern is planted in needs to remain moist at all times.The Boston Fern is known to have properties that help in the purification of formaldehyde and xylene from the air.
- Kimberly Queen FernAnother contender from the fern family for air purification qualities is the Kimberly Queen Fern. In comparison to the Boston Fern, the Kimberly Queen Fern grows much faster and taller.Like most plants from the fern family, the Kimberly Queen Fern also needs to be kept away from direct sunlight and in environments that are highly humid. This plant also needs to be kept extremely moist at all times.The Kimberly Queen Fern is best for removing formaldehyde and xylene from the air.
Source: Peekskill Nursery
- English IvyIf space is not a concern for you, ivies are great options for your home. These trailing plants are best kept in high places or with sufficient support to climb.The English Ivy requires sufficient sunlight and moist soil to grow best. This ivy grows quite fast.The English Ivy is known for its air purification qualities and removes benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and trichloroethylene.
- Devil’s IvyAnother plant from the ivy family that has air purification qualities is the Devil’s Ivy. The Devil’s Ivy is a trailing plant that requires constant watering.Devil’s Ivy needs some direct sunlight and needs to be kept moist at all times. The ivy grows quickly and needs to be kept in a high resting place or with enough support climbing.Best for filtering formaldehyde, benzene and xylene.
Source: Smart Garden Guide
- Spider PlantThe Spider plant is a specifically indoor plant. It grows in plantlets that look like spiders and hence the name.Spider plant thrives under direct and filtered sunlight. The spider plant needs to be watered regularly, but the soil must be dried between watering.The air pollutants that the Spider Plant purifies are; formaldehyde and xylene.
- Chinese EvergreenChinese Evergreen is the most low-maintenance plant out there. It thrives in any environment you put it in and only needs minimal lighting.Just make sure the soil dries between waterings and you are good to go.The Chinese Evergreen removes air pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene quite easily from the air.
- Rubber PlantThe best plant for air purification is the rubber plant. The rubber plant is an evergreen plant that needs attention every once in a while.It requires bright, preferably filtered sunlight to thrive and is best for keeping indoors.The Rubber plant is the best for air purification purposes as it removes all of the following air pollutants from the air; carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, xylene, trichloroethylene, benzene, and more.
Teaming your air purifier with a bunch of indoor plants can go a long way towards cleaning the air inside your home. Clean air is a basic necessity for healthy living and the lack of which can affect people of all ages with equal severity.