Can indoor plants clean the air?
Indoor plants can completely change a room. More than a decorative asset to your household, having plants around can also lift your mood, brighten up a room and, yes, even help clean the air.
Whether you have a green thumb, or not, indoor plant life is healthy for you and your environment. Landscaping indoors is not only visually pleasing but offers a lot of health benefits. And they may just help you keep your HVAC unit and air ducts a bit cleaner, too.
Why plants are good for your health
Plants, shrubs, and trees emit oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide. Air purifying plants also help eliminate harmful toxins including formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, trichloroethylene, and xylene, to name a few. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S.A. (NASA) has performed extensive research on houseplants that remove air toxins from the home. The study discovered different plant life cleansed out different pollutants.
But there are other health benefits to houseplants, as well. They can reduce stress and boost your mood, enhance your memory, and improve your concentration and productivity up to 15 percent. Some plants offer a pleasant and relaxing scent, so you can avoid the open flame of a candle and throw away the synthetic air fresheners.
Common houseplants that improve the air
There are a lot of houseplant varieties available that are attractive and productive air cleaners that help control indoor humidity. Many can be found in your local garden center. Some include:
Easy to grow and easy to find is the Pothos, which can be kept in a sitting pot or a hanging basket. It is a hearty plant that not only brightens up a room, but also kills various toxins including formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and trichloroethylene.
Another easy-to-grow houseplant, the spider plant enjoys indirect sunlight and will live in colder climates as well as warm. Their offshoots can easily be grown into new plants. The spider plant will remove formaldehyde and xylene from your home.
The Boston fern likes it moist and humid. This common fern has elongated, sword-shaped fronds and looks great in a pedestal basket or a hanging one. The Boston fern will remove formaldehyde and xylene from your inside air.
The Ficus can grow quite large, up to 10-feet-tall, and is perfect for a corner near the window with direct sun. The Ficus enjoys drying out completely before watering weekly. This plant will remove benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from your indoor environment.
Other plants that aid in removing toxins from the air include:
- Peace Lily
- Rubber Plant
- English Ivy
- Aloe Vera
Just which indoor plants are the best air purifiers depends upon what toxins you are trying to eliminate. All the above, and more, are great for providing more oxygen while eliminating an array of toxins. Don't be afraid to mix and match plants in various rooms throughout your home.
Plants that smell good
There are some plants that we think of as outdoor plants that have one or more varieties that do well indoors while refreshing your home with their fragrant aromas. Some of these are a bit pickier when it comes to care, but well worth the extra effort. A few nice ones include:
The Jasminum polyanthum variety does well in a window with good sunlight for about four hours each day. But just because it enjoys the sun, doesn't mean it likes the heat, but prefers a cooler atmosphere. Take it outside for about six weeks in the fall to encourage new growth and buds that will bloom the following February.
While they share a name, the Scented Geranium is not the same geranium you have out in the garden. These are of the Pelargonium genus, which is available in a wide variety of scents including a variety of roses, lemons, apples, strawberries, and more. Their flowers are small but pretty. They can be kept by themselves or grown with other indoor plants and herbs.
You will need to develop that green thumb a bit to keep gardenias indoors, but it can be done. They enjoy bright light, cool temps, and a moderate amount of humidity. And they like to stay in one place. Find a spot that gets direct sun for about half the day with little variation of temperature. Daytime temps in the mid-60s with nighttime lows in the mid-50s are best.
Other fragrant plants that can be kept inside include lavender, tea rose begonias and orchids.
Plants and your HVAC
While it is true that air conditioning and heat can be harmful to indoor plants, that doesn't mean you can't keep them happy. Forced air is drying. Plants like humidity. There are things you can do allowing you to use your a/c and heat while enjoying houseplants.
On a hot day, you may enjoy cold air blowing on you, but your plants won't. Freezing temperatures cause the cells in a plant to freeze as well, blocking it from taking in water and nutrients from the soil. Make sure your plants are placed away from the air conditioning vent and in a warmer area.
You should mist the leaves of your plants daily when using the air conditioner or heat. This especially applies to thinner-leaved plants. If leaves swell or water spots turn brown or red, that is a sign they are getting too much moisture and it is time to cut back a little.
Good outdoor landscaping can do wonders for hiding HVAC units located on the ground. While they should not be placed directly in front of the fan, larger plants and bushes will not only hide the unit but also provide shade, helping to ease the workload on it.
Choose the best plants and don't overwater
To keep your family, pets, and plants happy and healthy, there are some things to consider. If you have young children and/or pets, realize some houseplants and outdoor plants can be harmful to people and pets if ingested. You should look for pet-friendly plants.
Do not overwater your plants. When you do water, stay away from the center of the plant. One way to avoid over-watering is to plant in pots with drainage holes. Water in the saucer below and let the soil and roots of the plant pull the water up from below. That way it will take in only what it needs.
Indoor plants can add beauty and health benefits to your home. And, for the benefits of cleaning your HVAC unit, call the experts at AdvantaClean to do the job quickly and efficiently.