Did you know that indoor air is often polluted with harmful toxins? The Environmental Protection Agency ranked indoor air among the top five environmental health risks to humans. From cigarette smoke to chemicals released from burning scented candles, it’simportant to purify indoor air. Luckily, there are some cheap, easy and even NASA-approved indoor plants that work double duty to purify the air in your home.
NASA released a report calling indoor and outdoor plants “nature’s life support system.” Adding indoor plants to your home and work environment not only adds beautiful decoration and color, it also improves the quality of your health. Plants absorb toxins and chemicals in the air as they take in carbon dioxide and process it into oxygen through photosynthesis. The more plants, the cleaner the air!
Stagnant air allows chemicals and toxins to build up to unhealthy levels over time. Living and working in indoor environments without plants and fresh air flow can lead to health problems like allergies, chest infections and chronic headaches. In more serious cases, inhaling toxins like formaldehyde can lead to cancer and fertility-related issues. Given that most humans spend up to 90% of their time indoors, it’s important to make sure indoor air is safe and healthy to breathe.
Need another reason to add detoxifying indoor plants to your home? Recent research suggests that the presence of indoor plants can actually make you smarter. Add these 10 household plants for cleaner, safer indoor air and according to Scientific American, you might also get a boost to your attention span.
1.) Boston Fern
Boston ferns are the MVPs of removing formaldehyde from indoor air. They also detoxify the air of benzene and xylene, chemicals found in exhaust fumes that either drift in from open windows or migrate from the garage.
Boston ferns do best in a cool environment, with high humidity and indirect sunlight. You might want to buy a humidifier for the winter months to make sure this plant keeps thriving indoors.
Buy: Boston Fern in 4″ Pot $5.95
2.) Peace Lily
Peace lilies are one of few plants that will actually bloom indoors. This tropical plant neutralizes toxic gases like benzene, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. It’s capable of improving indoor air quality by as much as 60%. Try keeping one in your bathroom to help prevent mildew from building up on tiles and shower curtains.
Warning! The leaves of this plant can be poisonous to pets and children. Make sure you elevate them if you have any furry friends or small children roaming around.
Buy: Peace Lily Air Purifying Plant $12
3.) Rubber Plant
If you’re looking for a tree-like plant that requires little sunlight, get yourself a rubber plant. These plants will grow faster in direct sunlight, but can tolerate low light levels without wilting away. Rubber plants have dark green, glossy leaves and can grow very tall. Try adding one to the corner of your bedroom or office to liven up the room.
Buy: Rubber Tree Floor Plant with Bamboo Basket $59.99
4.) Spider Plant
Spider plants are a very popular indoor plant because they’re so easy to take care of. If you’re just beginning to care for plants or are known to be forgetful, low-maintenance plants like this one are a good place to start. Spider plants like bright, indirect sunlight. They remove formaldehyde and xylene from the air.
You might also see your spider plant sprouting flowers or “mini spider plants” from time to time.
Buy: 20″ Spider Plant in Hanging Basket $67.25
5.) Ficus Lyrata
The ficus lyrata is a beautiful indoor tree also known as the fiddle-leaf fig. This plant is known to be a little fickle to care for, because it prefers warm and humid conditions. You’ll need good sunlight and a humidifier to help this plant thrive indoors. Bright to medium light and a temperature between 65 to 75F is optimal for the ficus.
Buy: Ficus Lyrata in 12″ Pot $49-159.99
6.) Aloe Vera
This plant is an overachiever. If you’re only interested in investing in one plant to purify your indoor air, get an aloe plant! They’re easy to grow, purify the air and can be used medicinally!
The gel inside the aloe leaves are full of vitamins, minerals and amino acids with antibacterial properties. Aside from clearing the air from formaldehyde, the leaves can be used to treat cuts, burns and rashes like psoriasis.
Buy: Set of 3 Aloe Vera Plants $29.99
7.) Bamboo Palm
Bamboo palms can grow to be over 12 feet tall if they’re given a lot of direct sunlight. If you’re not interested in having such a tall house plant, you can place your bamboo palm in lower light to control the growth.
These plants can survive in both direct and indirect sunlight. The taller you let this plant grow, the more it can purify the air. Tall, mature bamboo palms are able to purify indoor air from toxins more than any other house plant.
Buy: Bamboo Palm $49-120
8.) Snake Plant
Here’s another plant perfect for anyone lacking a green thumb. The snake plant is known to be virtually impossible to kill. Even if you tried, it’d be hard to get rid of this resilient plant also known as “the mother in-law tongue.”
While the air and soil should be slightly dry to keep this plant in best conditions, it will survive in many temperatures and can handle different levels of light.
Buy: Tabletop Snake Plant $39.99
This plant tackles chemicals like xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. These chemicals are most often found in common building materials like lacquers, varnishes and sealers.
It can grow up to 15 feet tall and makes a beautiful addition to any room. Place it in moderate sunlight and keep the soil moist but never soggy!
Buy: Dracaena Shelfie Plant $29.99
10.) English Ivy
English ivy is a versatile hanging plant that can grow to cascade from even the highest ceilings. It’s a beautiful plant that likes moist soil and moderate temperatures around 55 to 70F degrees.
The best part is that with one single ivy plant you can eventually fill an entire room. To start a new plant, cut a piece from a mature ivy and keep it in a vase with water for about two weeks before repotting on its own.
Buy: English Ivy in 6 inch Grower Pot $16.54
Looking for more ways to go green? Check out the Top 5 Ways to Make Your Daily Life More Environmentally Friendly