By: Maggie Young
All those beautiful plants you have set up in vases and pots in your home not only prep your space for the photo op you know is bound to happen, but they also help to purify the air. Some plants do this better than others, however, so we decided to break down the most effective plants that promote the ultimate wellness-first lifestyle. Keep reading to find out which plants you should be stocking up on.
You don’t need anything fancy to clean out the air as plants do the trick just by inhabiting a space. “We know that plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen,” says Nancy Nidiffer, a plant specialist at Suburban Lawn and Garden. “Through this process, the plants filter out and absorb the toxins and breathe out fresh, clean air.” Plants absorb the toxic gases through their roots and leaves. In addition, the soil in the potted plants neutralize the toxins, so the entire plant system helps decrease the compound concentration in the air.
According to a study by NASA, common toxins in the air include benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. Benzene is found in gasoline, inks, oils, paints, plastics and rubber aka a lot of household items. Trichloroethylene is used in a lot of printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives. Formaldehyde is found in foam insulation, particle board, pressed wood objects, carpet backing and some cleaning agents. As you can see, it’s easy for these toxins to be present in the air that you breathe indoors. These compounds create what is called “off gas” in the air. Luckily, plants have been found to absorb concentrations of these various organic compounds from the air. This is important because exposure to the toxins mentioned can contribute to acute health conditions.
According to Nidiffer, palms, ferns, sanseveria (snake plant), agleonema (Chinese evergreen), spider plant and peace lily are the best plants for indoor air purification.
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Nidiffer recommends placing the plants wherever you spend the most time, which for most people is the bedroom. This way, you can benefit from the detoxifying aspects in that space. Another factor to consider is how much sunlight your plants need. If a plant needs indirect light, placing it in a corner spot works well. If it needs direct light, a window sill will do the trick. As long as your plant is healthy and getting enough water and light, it will benefit you tenfold in return with clean air.
To learn specifics about water and light care for your plant, visit your local plant nursery to learn from an in-house specialist regarding specific instructions.