In todays world it is hard to escape from air pollutants. Whether its from the chemicals we use to clean our homes or even the furniture themselves, we are surrounded by them everyday. Many people claim to suffer what is called “Sick Building Syndrome”; caused by pollutants in the air we might not even realize are there. Luckily, studies have shown that simple house plants can actually help to combat these unpleasant effects. Plants naturally help to clean air, and are cheaper, and more pleasant, than a bulky air cleaning machine. Most plants will help, but there are some that are shown to do a particularly good job at it. Below are several air purifying house plants for your home or office.
What To Pick?
With so many choices of good air purifying house plants to pick, it can seem difficult to know which one to start with. The most important thing to keep in mind is the growing conditions in your home. If you have a lot of natural light that’s great for growing, and you’ll have a lot of options. If you don’t get much naturally light into your home you’ll be best served looking into plants that require a little less light. You can always set up artificial lights, but for many this extra work is overkill for growing a few small indoor plants.
Also keep in mind the amount of space you have. Some plant varieties can get quite large, and in a smaller apartment this may not be the best. Getting a smaller plant, or several of them, might fit your space better.
How Do Plants Purify the Air?
Before we jump into looking at the plants it’s important to know how they play a role in cleaning the air. The most obvious reason is through photosynthesis which converts carbon dioxide we exhale into breathable oxygen.
Plants, as well as soil microorganisms, have also been shown to remove cancer-causing contaminants in the air as well. A study NASA did in 1989 looked at air purifying house plants and the levels of certain toxins the air. They found that plants can actually scrub the air of certain organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene, neither of which is good for you. This research was originally done to keep the air clean on space stations, but the same principles apply to your home.
With that in mind, we’ve picked out a couple of some of the top air purifying indoor plants. While all plants will purifying your air to some degree, the ones below are generally seen as better at than other plants.
Peace lilies are a beautiful and easy to grow houseplant. They are medium size, so don’t require a huge deal of space to grow. They also grow best in indirect light, so having a slightly shady spot a few feet off from a window is ideal. Their overall light requirements are very low, which makes peace lillies one of the best plants to grow indoors in low light conditions.
One thing to keep in mind, this is a flowering plant. The plant flowers in the summer, which can slightly contribute to pollen or floral scent. This is typically not a problem as long as you’re not severally allergic to pollen, just be careful about how many you add to your home.
Peace lilies are one of our top picks for air purifying indoor plants. Needing very little light to grow makes them very versatile, and opens the door to grow in lots of different locations.
Aloe is another excellent air purifying indoor plant that not only cleans the air, but also can provide health benefits as well. The plant contains a clear liquid that contains vitamins and enzymes that have anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties. You’ll often times see it used for sunburn healing among other things.
Aloe is a full sun plant, so make sure it gets a lot of direct sunlight. Unlike the peace lilies, it doesn’t do well in the shade. Other than that though, aloe is very easy to grow. It only needs to be watered every 3-4 weeks, so it’s great for those forgetful gardeners.
The ficus in the wild grows as a tree, but in homes in makes a wonderful low maintenance plant. The ficus can grow anywhere from only a few feet, to well over 10′ depending on the conditions they’re kept in.
Ficus trees generally prefer bright, indirect light. Certain varieties are also able to live grow in medium light settings giving them a bit more location options. They are also very cold intolerant; keep them away from drafty windows or large temperature changes. This is especially true in the winter.
Boston Ferns are another wonderful plant to grow indoors with a unique look. One thing to keep in mind with these is they need to stay moist. It’s advised to check the soil daily, and water if it feels dry to the touch. You can also lightly mist them each day to keep their humidity levels in check.
The plant does best in bright, indirect light so keep that in mind when selecting its location. When taken care of properly, Boston ferns make great air purifying house plants.
An exotic addition to any home is the bamboo palm. These plants are excellent at filtering pollutants because they can become quite large, up to 12 feet tall! Don’t worry though, they can be maintained at much smaller sizes as well.
These are a bright light plant however, so make sure they get plenty of sun light. They thrive in full, bright light. Stick them in the brightest spot in your home for best results.
Spider plants are often considered one of the easiest plants to grow making them ideal for beginner gardeners. They only require moderate watering into maturity, lending to their reputation of ease of growth. Due to their shape, they also make excellent plants for a hanging basket, but can grow perfectly fine in a standard pot as well.
Spider plants enjoy moderate, indirect light. Placing them directly in the sun can actually harm the plant by burning out the leaves. Keeping them in a sunny area slightly back from the window itself is ideal.
Air Purifying House Plants
While all the above are great air purifying indoor plants, don’t feel like they are your only options. As mentioned, all plants can help purify your air, and any plant is going to be better than none.