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9 Air-Purifying Plants And How To Care For Them

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One of the side effects of living or working in a modern, energy efficient residence can be reduced air flow which allows for the buildup of indoor air pollution which can lead to health issues such as asthma. As a matter of fact, your carpet, modern furnishings and even artificial building materials could be carrying more chemicals and pollutants than expected which comprise of up to 90% of indoor pollution.

Plants as Air Purifiers

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) found out that there are houseplants that can take up harmful toxins from the air in 1998, particularly in enclosed spaces with diminished air flow. This research has been the footing for more current studies concerning indoor plants and their air-cleansing capabilities. Plants may have less power than actual air purifiers but they are therapeutic, cost-effective and more natural. Plants have been known to
  • Decrease fatigue and stress
  • Boost memory and concentration
  • Increase productivity and improve mood.
NASA advocates for 2 or 3 plants in pots that are 8-10 inches for every 100 square feet of indoor space. Certain plants remove particular chemicals more efficiently than others. Some of the household chemicals we may come into contact with from materials and objects include:
  • Synthetic materials like rubber, fiber, and plastic
  • Cleaning solutions
  • Ovens
  • Glues
  • Carpets
When you include an assortment of plants in a room you will benefit the most. Safety concerns when buying indoor plants If you have pets such as dogs and cats you may want to re-think buying air-purifying plants because a good number of these plants might be toxic to them. You can enquire from the staff about allergy-safe and pet-safe options at your local greenhouse. Alternatively, you can look up plants that are toxic to animals on the page for ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants. More plants can also influence humidity and stimulate mold growth but you can prohibit this by allowing the water to drain into a tray or a pan, using sub-irrigation planters and regularly removing excess water. To remove mold, cover the top of the soil with aquarium gravel or Spanish moss.

Easy Plants to care for

If you want to give your green thumb a shot first then you should consider the following plants because even though they don’t need daily care a majority of them will do well if they are fertilized once a month.
  1. Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums Also known as ‘mums’ these are the highest ranked for air purification and have been shown to eliminate ammonia among other common toxins. Make sure you get a fresh pot because this flower blooms only for about 6 weeks. You can fertilize the pot in the spring again when new growth appears but it will not be purifying air without the flowers and if you do not feel like waiting you can get a new pot. Care for it by checking the moisture of the soil every other day and ensuring it is damp. Chrysanthemums are, however toxic to both dogs and cats. They eliminate ammonia, benzene, xylene and formaldehyde.
  1. Areca Palms

Areca Palms Originating from Madagascar, this plant grows outdoors much more easily, but if you set aside a space that is lit with a bright filtered light for it, the arching leaves will make a lovely addition to your space. It requires lots of water during growth, but in the winter it needs less. The Areca Palm is non-toxic to cats and dogs and it eliminates xylene, trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, benzene and more.
  1. Golden Pothos / Devil’s Ivy

Golden Pothos / Devil’s Ivy This plant is as indestructible as they come as it can survive in various conditions and can grow as tall as 8 feet. It is also seen as one of the most effective indoor plant air purifiers in the removal of common toxins. Make sure you water it when the soil is dry and trim the tendrils when the plant becomes too big. Ensure it is out of cats and dogs’ reach. It eliminates carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene, xylene, formaldehyde and many more toxins.
  1. Dracaenas

Dracaneas This large collection of houseplants has various colors, sizes and shapes ranging from the rainbow plant which comes in a bright purple color or the tall corn plant which has fascinating markings. Ensure the soil remains damp and not soggy because excess water can be fatal for this plant. If your dog or cat eats this plant they may get dilated pupils, salivate more or vomit. Dracaenas eliminate trichloroethylene, benzene, toluene, xylene or formaldehyde.
  1. Spider plants or air plants

air plants These grow quickly and look amazing in hanging baskets, especially in your working area. At times they even give rise to beautiful white blossoms. They have more than 200 species and most of them can survive being forgotten for a bit by their owners. Just make sure they get water 2 or 3 times a week. Spider plants are safe for animals or children who like to play with swinging things. It eliminates xylene and formaldehyde.

Extra-care plants

If you want to get a plant you will spend more time with then the following are your best bet because they need extra care like repotting or misting and they need fertilizer monthly.
  1. Peace lilies

Peace lilies These were discovered by NASA to be among the top 3 plants that remove common household toxins ammonia included. To care for them the soil needs to be slightly moist plus the lighting has to be ample to enhance boosting of the flowers. It is toxic to children, dogs and cats and so it is best as an ornamental plant seeing as it can cause skin irritation, swelling and burning in adults. It eliminates ammonia, xylene, trichloroethylene, benzene, formaldehyde and many others.
  1. Chinese Evergreen

Chinese Evergreen These plants are very colorful and patterned and can remove lots of common toxins, but they need extra attention. Water it moderately and allow the compost to be almost dry before you water the plant. They need repotting every few years, a little regular misting and high humidity. This plant is toxic to dogs and eliminates trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, benzene and more.
  1. Rubber Plants

Rubber Plants These evergreen plants have roots that grow upwards often becoming intertwined on the plant’s trunk forming fascinating shapes. Rubber plants love a bright and filtered light and they need a little attention every now and then. They need to be moderately watered so the soil remains moist, particularly in the winter. Wipe the leaves down and prune them so they remain pretty. They are toxic to both dogs and cats and they eliminate trichloroethylene, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide etc.
  1. Bamboo Palms

Bamboo Palms These plants are strong and have a height and elegance to them. They like a bright light that isn’t direct. They transpire an adequate amount of moisture into the air and thus are great for dry winter months. Care for them by keeping the soil moist and putting them where there is free air circulation. Occasionally mist them to prevent spider mites. They are pet-friendly and eliminate chloroform, xylene, carbon monoxide, benzene, formaldehyde among more.
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