Many people worry about the air quality outside, but few consider their indoor air quality. Poor indoor air quality carries with it a number of different risks including sinus infections, asthma, and more serious dangers like volatile organic compounds. VOCs, as they're called, are chemicals that evaporate at room temperature. These chemicals are found in common everyday items like paints and cleaners.
Thankfully, there's an easy way to keep you and your family safe from these chemicals: add more plants to your home. Plants take in these chemicals and trap them so you don't have to worry about breathing them in. Check out these houseplants that work to improve the air quality of your home - and add a bit of greenery to your spaces.
1. Add a Philodendron
Philodendrons are beautiful plants that can actually grow to be quite large. These are sometimes called Elephant Ears due to the size and shape of their leaves. Of all types of philodendron, the Red Emerald and Lacy Tree varieties provide the best air-cleaning properties. This plant thrives in medium light but will survive in a room that's a little darker. Philodendrons can reach six feet in height, so make sure you have ample space for one to grow.
2. Try a Ficus
Ficuses are great at removing chemical vapours from the air, are resistant to insects, and have no problem thriving indoors. There are just a few things to keep in mind, however. Firstly, a ficus should not be placed near heating or cooling vents as the temperature fluctuations can kill the leaves. Second, ficus are poisonous so they are not a great choice for households with pets or small children. You can also expect a ficus to grow to about ten feet in height.
3. Plant a Boston Fern
In studies carried out on the most effective plants for air quality, the Boston fern proved the best at removing formaldehyde from the air. Formaldehyde is a chemical used to treat certain types of wood products as well as certain types of fabrics. It can also be a byproduct of some fuel-burning appliances such as gas stoves. A Boston fern will grow to about four feet high and can spread up to five feet in diameter. While it's a large plant, it thrives indoors and prefers indirect sunlight. You'll need to keep it watered every day, however.
4. Hang an English Ivy.
If you live in a smaller home and would prefer a plant that doesn't take up quite as much space as some of the others, consider an English ivy. This plant is perfectly suited for life in a small pot, and can even be trained to follow a specific shape. English ivy excels at cleaning the air in your home, and if you take proper care of it you can expect the ivy to survive for several years. English ivy is a great choice for hanging in front of the kitchen window, as it provides a sense of elegance with its dainty leaves and pale green colour.
5. Set Out a Vase of Gerbera Daisies
Gerbera daisies are fantastic at removing benzene from the air (benzene is often found in certain types of paint, auto care products, adhesives and sealants etc.). In addition, their bright and bold colours make them a perfect centrepiece for the dining room table or to place on the mantle. Gerbera daisies thrive best in warmer temperatures, so keep them away from windows if the weather is cooler.
6. Mother-in-Law's Tongue
Funny name, great plant. The Mother-in-Law's tongue is a tough succulent that can survive in almost any condition and requires barely any water at all. If you've never had houseplants and are afraid you won't be able to keep them alive, this is a great starter plant. It has no real temperature or light condition requirements, and its small size makes it a great addition to a bathroom counter or as decor for an office desk.
7. Grab a Piece of a Peace Lily
Peace lilies are beautiful, smaller plants that offset the bold green of their leaves with the pale, off-white petals at the top. These plants remove formaldehyde and carbon monoxide from the air. Better yet, they're great for beginners - if the plant needs to be watered, it will start to droop a bit. The easy-care routine makes it simple for first-time plant owners to keep these flowers alive. The downside is that they can be mildly toxic to the touch, so make sure to wash your hands after handling them and keep them away from pets.
8. Bring Home the Beach With a Bamboo Palm
Palm trees evoke a specific image of relaxation and the bamboo palm (sometimes called the reed palm) is a great choice for indoor use. It's much smaller than a full-sized palm tree, which makes it ideal for placement in a corner of your home. It needs part sun and part shade and works to clear benzene and formaldehyde from the air.
These eight houseplants serve double duty in your home. They look great and can improve your mood, but they also help keep the air you breathe cleaner. If you find yourself with the sniffles a lot, consider adding houseplants around your home - and maybe change out the air filter in your HVAC system while you're at it.