It’s dry here in Colorado, especially in the winter with the windows closed and the heater on constantly. By simply adding plants to each room you can help combat the dryness and clean the air.
Through NASA studies, scientists have identified 50 houseplants that remove many pollutants and gases and help clean the air inside homes and offices. Among the many benefits indoor plants provide are: they eliminate significant amounts of benzene and formaldehyde, they help absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, they contribute to internal humidity and they help collect dust (which I’m all about–add some plants, dust less!) They can also help cut down on allergies, headaches and actually make you happy!…..Not to mention they’re pretty and help any room look better. The following plants include choices that are either inexpensive, easy to grow, easy to maintain or resistant to pests or in some cases, all of the above-all of them help purify the air indoors. Here’s a quick rundown……The tips below are specifically for growing indoors.
- Areca Palm (Butterfly Palm)-This beautiful palm is a low-maintenance plant. It brings a tropical touch into your home, does best in direct sunlight and is non-toxic. Great if you have pets or children since it’s not toxic. *It’s normal for the tips of the leaves to turn brown-do not clip these brown tips because it can stop the growth of that branch.
- Peace Lily– This evergreen plant does not need excessive light or water to survive. It has large, broad leaves that help collect dust (wipe it off periodically) and is relatively inexpensive. It does well in light-to-moderate shade, requires regular watering (don’t let the soil to dry out, but don’t water so much that it’s sitting in water which can create root rot). This plant consistently shows up on lists for “great houseplants”. This is toxic to humans and animals if ingested.
- Boston Fern– A relatively tough fern with long graceful fronds. It’s an inexpensive plant to buy, grows in medium-to-bright filtered light and does best with frequent misting and watering, but it can be tolerant of dry conditions. This plant is non-toxic AND a single Boston fern can remove 1,800 micrograms of formaldehyde from the air in about an hour.
- Spider Plant– An inexpensive, easy to grow, non-toxic plant that prefers bright light but does well in semi-shade to partial-direct sun. It requires more water in the summer with occasional misting. This is an excellent plant for people who have pets and children in their homes and it’s one of the cheapest.
- English Ivy– Another inexpensive, easy to grow plant that can be poisonous if eaten and can cause skin irritations so it’s best to wear gloves when working with it. It can be grown as a hanging plant or climbing, does best in indirect, medium sunlight to low sunlight, and likes evenly moist soil.
- Golden Pothos– Easy to grow, inexpensive and rated one of the best houseplants for removing all indoor air toxins. Best in indirect, medium sunlight but also tolerant of very low light. All parts of the plant are poisonous and can cause severe irritation of the lips, tongue and throat if eaten or chewed by pets or children—but it’s NOT considered poisonous because you physically can’t eat enough to poison you.
- “Janet Craig” Dracaena– Highly tolerant of “neglect” and dimly lit environments. It has wide leaves that love to collect dust and can tolerate considerable dryness. Best in indirect, medium sunlight. This can be poisonous if eaten or chewed on by dogs.
- Rubber Plant– Easy to grow, often on sale, tolerant of dim lights and cool temperatures. Prefers anything from bright sunlight to indirect, to medium sunlight. Has large leaves that like to collect dust and is not toxic.
For any plant you already have or want to bring in to your home you should always check to see if it’s poisonous, especially to children and pets. (Most of the same plants that are toxic to kids and animals aren’t toxic to adults. But that doesn’t mean you should eat them. Duh.)
For a more extensive list of plants that help filter the air you can go to www.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_air_fighting_plants
FYI…Dr. B.C. Wolverton worked with NASA on this study. He has a book called “How to Grow Fresh Air-50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office“….I saw it on amazon for around $12.00.