Air Filtering Plants

image_pdfimage_print

How clean is your air?

Chemicals from building materials, furniture, and even air fresheners can make indoor air toxic, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.  But just getting some greenery can help.

Houseplants are awesome indoor air cleaners, but some of them are more effective than others at filtering out pollutants and toxic chemicals in the air, according to a NASA study. 

What’s in our air?

Ammonia

Found in window cleaners, floor waxes, smelling salts and fertilizers. 

 

Benzene

Used to make plastics, resins, synthetic fibers, rubber lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides.  Found in tobacco smoke, vehicle exhausts, glue, paint and furniture wax. 

Formaldehyde

Found in paper bags, waxed papers, facial tissues, paper towels, table napkins, particle board, plywood panelling, and synthetic fabrics. 

Trichloroethylene

Found in printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes, adhesives, and paint remover/stripper. 

Xylene

Found in printing, rubber, leather and paint industries, tobacco smoke and vehicle exhausts.

What are the effects on Humans?

Like most chemicals, the adverse effects you may encounter depend upon the amount and how you are exposed to the chemical, how long, and the form of the chemicals.  The most common symptoms are:  dizziness, headaches, and nose-throat-mouth irritation.  More severe symptoms are associated to higher doses of these chemicals. 

Phytoremediation

How do plants detoxify the air?

An indoor plant’s ability to remove these harmful compounds from the air is an example of phytoremediation, which is the use of any plant — indoors or out — to mitigate pollution in air, soil or water.
Indoor plants remove pollutants from the air by absorbing these gases through their leaves and roots. The microorganisms that live in the soil of potted plants also play an instrumental role in neutralizing VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and other pollutants.

For more information on how PHYTOREMEDIATION works, click the image to go to the website describing the process.

Plants that detoxify the air

The chemicals shown below, above the plant are the chemicals the plant detoxifies.  You can match the chemical to the chemical described at the top of this page under the subject heading “What’s in our air?” 









Peace Lily (spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loas’)

Of all the flowering house plants, Peace Lily care is probably the easiest.  In fact, it tolerates average indoor conditions better than many house palnts.  It’s good for you too.  This one of the best plants for improving air quality indoors.  It has one of the top removal rates of toxins. 

Toxicity: Mildly toxic to dogs and cats causing nausea and vomiting.  Most animals, once having chewed on the leaves will leave it alone knowing it doesn’t make them feel well.


Chrysanthemum (chrysanthemum morifolium)

Well known as a decorative flower, the Chrysantemum morifolium is an amazing plant, which has not only beautiful flowers, but is also very good at filtering a variety of polluting compounds from the air.  

Toxicity:  Poisonous to many animals and should be kept at a safe distance from cats and dogs.  Although poisonous, the symptoms are not fatal. 


Red Edged Dracena (dracena marginata)

This red-edged, spiky plant is one of the most effective at removing pollutants indoors.  It may be slow-growing, but it can reach up to 8 feet.  It likes moderate sunlight and light waterings. 

Toxicity: Mildly toxic to dogs and cats causing nausea and vomiting.  Most animals, once having chewed on the leaves will leave it alone knowing it doesn’t make them feel well.










Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria Trifasciata Laurentii)

Also know as the snake plant.  The NASA clean air study found the S. trifasciata has air purifying qualities, removing 4 of the 5 main toxins  It is one of the few plants that remove carbon dioxide at night. 

Toxicity:  Moderately toxic to cats and dogs. 


English Ivy (Hedera helix)

Hedera helix, commonly known as English ivy, is a vigorous, aggressive, fast-growing, woody evergreen perennial that is primarily grown as a climbing vine or trailing ground cover.

English ivy is a classically elegant choice that is also excellent for removing some harmful chemicals found in the home. 

Toxicity: Mildly toxic to dogs and cats causing nausea and vomiting.  Most animals, once having chewed on the leaves will leave it alone knowing it doesn’t make them feel well.


Cornstalk Dracena (dracaene fragrans ‘massangeana’)

What’s great about growing a corn plant as well as how attractive they look is they’re fairly easy to care for and maintain.

The dracaena fragrans was a plant used in the NASA’s clean air study which proved to remove a considerable amount of toxins from the environment.

Toxicity: Mildly toxic to dogs and cats causing nausea and vomiting.  Most animals, once having chewed on the leaves will leave it alone knowing it doesn’t make them feel well.












Barberton Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)

A stunning flowering plant whose bright blooms can be red, yellow, pink or orange. When grown outdoors it’s “easy” but as a houseplant it becomes “difficult”. The main problem is that it needs sun to repeat flower, but sunshine or bright light shining through windows produces a lot of heat which Gerbera’s struggle with.

This bright, flowering plant is effective at removing toxins from your home air. 

Toxicity:  Non-toxic


Broadleaf Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)

The broadleaf lady palm tree is a popular indoor plant species which looks elegant standing in offices, hotels, living rooms and conservatories.

This hardy little plant is perfect for indoor growing and does well in the typical household environment. It has even been shown to make an active difference in removing hazards from indoor air.

Toxicity: Non-toxic


Flamingo Lily (Anthurium andraeanum )

Anthurium plant is among the best-known tropical flowers. Bright light will make these beauties bloom. They aren’t just a pretty face.  Their large, dark leaves suck up toxins so they’re a thoughtful present for a workplace (especially around copiers, printers or adhesives).

Toxicity:  Anthurium leaves are poisonous. They contain calcium oxalate crystals that cause severe burning in the mouth. Keep the plant away from pets who may play with or chew on its foliage. It’s also a good idea to wear gloves when handling this plant to avoid skin irritation.








Devils Ivy (Epipremnum aureum)

The plant has a multitude of common names including golden pothos.  Devil’s ivy’s growing needs, indoors or out, are basic and it’s relatively pest- and disease-free, so even black-thumbed gardeners should find success with it. In fact, the plant thrives on neglect.

Epipremnum aureum is a powerful air purifying plant that will clean the air in your house very effectively.

Toxicty: Mildly toxic to dogs and cats causing nausea and vomiting.  Most animals, once having chewed on the leaves will leave it alone knowing it doesn’t make them feel well.


Weeping Fig (Fiscus benjamina)

The weeping figs natural habitat is within rain forests. A nice bright spot is their preference and somewhere with enough space for height and width growth. Once situated they do not like to be moved. 

The F. benjamina is particularly good at filtering toxins from the air and increase oxygen levels.

Toxicity:  Poisonous to many animals and should be kept at a safe distance from cats and dogs.  Although poisonous, the symptoms are not fatal unless a moderate consumption in ratio to the animals size is ingestedl. 


Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)

A shade loving palm particularly suited to growing in pots either indoors or on patios and verandas. Named ‘Bamboo Palm’ due to its multi-stemmed growth habit, resembling that of bamboo. A great air-purifying plant for indoor spaces and offices

Toxicity: Non-toxic

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.






Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Spider plants are incredibly easy to grow in bright indirect light.  Even if you tend to neglect houseplants, you’ll have a hard time killing this resilient plant. With lots of rich foliage and tiny white flowers, the spider plant battles toxins in the air.

Also known as airplane plants, spider plants are also easy to regrow. Just cut off one of the “spiderettes” and place it in a pot.   

Toxicity: As an added bonus, this plant is also considered a safe houseplant if you have pets in the house.


Kimberly Queen Fern (Nephrolepis obliterata)

These shade- loving plants are ideal for indoors or out!

Bold and beautiful, Kimberly queen fern (also called sword fern because the fronds are straight and narrow) is easy to grow.

They are perfect for adding tropical texture to shaded decks, patios, and other outdoor living areas.

These plants act as humidifiers and can help to restore moisture in the air so they are perfect for those who suffer from dry skin and other cold weather problems. They can also help to eliminate toxins form the air. 

Toxicity: Non-toxic


Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

The Boston fern is the most popular of all ferns grown indoors and has been found to be one of the easiest to care for and maintain.

Although outdoors this plant prefers partial shade or full shade, inside it grows best in bright filtered light

These plants act as humidifiers and can help to restore moisture in the air so they are perfect for those who suffer from dry skin and other cold weather problems. They can also help to eliminate toxins from the air. 

 

Toxicity:  Non-toxic.




Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix robelenii)

A very slow grower. It adapts well to low-light offices and controlled temperature environments.

Like most palms, the Dwarf Date Palm is one of the best for removing indoor air pollutants.

Toxicity:  Non-toxic

Adding air purifying plants to your home is such a simple change yet it can have a huge impact to your health and well-being.

Copyright 2018

by Donna Lussier 2018