Now that spring has arrived, we’re looking forward at SafeAir to seeing our backyards and gardens transform into green, red, yellow and oranges as the earth wakes up – but in our homes all winter we’ve had some extra help with our indoor air quality by growing plants that will improve your indoor air quality. While we all learn as kids that trees help scrub outdoor air clean, our indoor plants also help to reduce the number of harmful airborne chemicals. The good news is that plants that will improve your indoor air quality can be found at nearly any hardware store or nursery – read on for eight of our favourites.
Find out which plants will improve your indoor air quality
Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)
This common household plant is also known as the Snake Plant – its long, stiff, bicoloured leaves make it an attractive addition to your home. The best part is they’re one of the hardest houseplants to kill, needing only a little watering and indirect, steady light. First cultivated in China as a treasured houseplant with a connection to the Eight Gods, sansevieria was one of several plants chosen by NASA to study the effects of houseplants on indoor air quality. Their findings indicated that sansevieria was able to help lower levels of formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene in the air.
Aloe Vera (Aloe vera or A. barbadensis)
We’re all familiar with aloe vera after a long day out in the sun – the soothing, cooling gel that comes from its leaves have been known for centuries as anti-inflammatory, wound healing, and anti-bacterial. Aloe vera can grow to heights of 3ft, and, since they likely originated somewhere in Africa before being taken around the world, they prefer a hot and sunny home with well-drained soil and infrequent watering. Another NASA graduate, aloe vera are plants that will improve your indoor air quality by keeping your home clear of benzene, a toxic component found in many household paints and chemical cleaners.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
Of all the plants that will improve your indoor air quality, the spider plant is the one you most likely got from a friend – they propagate itself by sending out small plantlets on their hanging stems. Spider plants do well in bright light and enjoy a lot of water in the summer months – but don’t let them catch a chill! Your spider plant does a great job at targeting formaldehyde and xylene in the air – so great that NASA found it removed 95% percent of toxic chemicals it was exposed to within 24 hours.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)
This favourite houseplant is loved for its big, long lasting white flowers that arrive in the spring and its large glossy leaves. Native to Central and South America, the peace lily is happy to grow in the shadier areas of your home where the may find a bit more humidity, like a north-facing bathroom. The bathroom is actually the perfect place for these plants that will improve your indoor air quality because they targets mold and mildew spores by absorbing them through the leaves; they also has been found to absorb alcohol and acetone vapors.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata v. Bostoniensis)
The boston fern is another plant that prefers shadier, more humid parts of your home – if you think about their natural home on the forest floor it makes sense! These houseplants can get large and bushy and prefer to live in a room with indirect light. The Boston Fern likes to be moist and can actually help keep moisture in the air, which may be helpful in the dryer winter months. But brown thumbs beware – this is one you’ll have to water frequently! For your indoor air quality, the Boston Fern helps to eliminate formaldehyde and xylene
Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifritzii)
Another tropical plant, bamboo palms are easy to find and easy to grow in your home or in your office. They thrive in bright light or full sun, and in the wild might grow to 12 feet high! If you want plants that will improve your indoor air quality while helping you feel like you’re on vacation, the bamboo palm is a good bet to add a peaceful, tropical vibe to any environment. The relaxation you may feel after getting one might just be because it’s busy removing benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from your indoor air, so sit back and relax….
There are many different species of ficus trees sold as houseplants – the weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) and ficus Macleilandii “Alii” are two common varieties. Regardless of the type you have, they’re likely to be plants that love bright, indirect light, grow fairly tall, and are hardy and low maintenance. Ficus trees originally come from southeast Asia and excels at reducing levels of benzene, trichloroethylene, and benzene from your home.
Dracaena (Dracaena spp.)
No, this one isn’t from the new season of Game of Thrones – it’s another popular houseplant with more than 40 different impressive varieties. Their long leaves can be solid or variegated, and come coloured in greens, creams, whites, and red. Pet owners beware – while they are plants that will improve your indoor air quality, they are toxic to cats and dogs. Dracaena is known is remove xylene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene from your indoor air.
We spend more than 90% of our time indoors, so having a safe level of indoor air quality matters! Some of the pollutants that plants that will improve your indoor air quality remove may appear during renovations or repainting, but they can also arrive with new furnishings, cleaning products, and synthetic building materials.
If you have any concerns about your indoor air quality, it’s better to be on the safe side and have a professional run a thorough test to ensure your home has no serious problems – but in the meantime, it won’t hurt to get plants that will improve your indoor air quality and enjoy their beauty and air cleaning abilities.