Making oxygen is what plants do. It’s a side effect of photosynthesis, their means of feeding themselves. Houses create more fuel for indoor plants than they convert into oxygen. However, many plants can still dramatically improve the quality of indoor air. Houseplants clean and refresh the air by absorbing many household pollutants in addition to adding to the oxygen levels. We are not suggesting that you turn the family room into the Amazonian rainforest in order to do this. As few as fifteen houseplants can suffice to reduce indoor contaminants. This will often dramatically improve the air quality in an average-sized home.
All houseplants are not created equal in this capacity. The ones that clearly outpace the rest are often hardier species with tropical origins. There are many ivy varieties that lend a hand too. There’s almost certainly a type of air-redeeming houseplant to fit any home decor. Here are some of the best:
- The areca palmis a powerhouse for air redemption. Place this hardy, amenable and elegant palm in direct sunlight and it will release quality moisture into your home’s air while removing indoor air pollutants. It’s a home decorator’s best friend.
- Other palms are also helpful. Most do best in direct sunlight. The scrubby little rhapis palm isn’t the most decorative flora, but it will ward off insects and filter air with the best of them. The bamboo palmis another easily tended, moisture-producing dynamo that is helpful during the winter when heating can drain moisture from the environment. It’s also excellent at neutralizing a common airborne hazard, benzene.
- The long-suffering rubber plantis good for those of us with purple thumbs. It’s tough to kill and a great formaldehyde-eater.
- No, the Janet Craig is not a new plant-based diet. It’s better known as the dracaena, a tough agave that is the mortal foe of TCE, a common and toxic household pollutant.
- One of the best houseplants for air improvement is the noble peace lily. It’s a champion transpirer. It also assimilates and neutralizes many pollutants.
Some other decorative plants that are also great pollution-fighting partners include English ivy and Boston fern. They aren’t as rugged and need more tending, but they lend such a nice air to the room that they’ve long been house favorites.
Plants not only decorate our homes, they are vital environmental allies. They give a lot and ask little in return.