Poisonous compounds released by furniture, carpets and building material pollute the indoor air you breathe. The best antidote –especially in buildings with closed ventilation systems — is none other than common houseplants.
B.C. Wolverton, Ph.D., NASA’s renowned researcher, found houseplants are the best filters of common indoor pollutants such as ammonia, formaldehyde and benzene.
If your green thumb is itching and ready to get back into the soil, think about growing indoor plants. Potting up a few can get your hands a little dirty while brightening the winter doldrums and cleaning stale air.
What should you grow?
Most plants clean the air to some extent, but some perform better than others. Indoor plants are generally easy to grow, but you should check with your local garden center to confirm which ones would be best plants for the growing conditions in your home or office.
Factors to consider when selecting indoor plants include:
- Personal aesthetics – e.g., do you prefer flowering plants?
- Their mature size – will a 3-ft.-wide plant fit in your corner?
- Sunlight needs – do you have sunny windows or mostly dark rooms?
- Toxicity for pets and children – toxic plants are a no-go.
- Maintenance requirements – do you like to putter with them or does your lifestyle require quick, low maintenance?
Five top-rated pollution-absorbing plants that offer diverse shapes and textures as well as interesting foliage and flowers:
#1 – Boston fern – Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”
Foliage plant highest rated for removing pollutants. Requires frequent misting and watering to prevent brown leaves and leaf drop. Excellent as a hanging plant.
#2 – Florist’s mum – Chrysanthemum morifolium
Flowers provide brilliant color. Highly rated for removing chemical vapors. Insect resistant. Blooms 6-8 weeks. Use for seasonal color
#3 – Gerbera daisy – Gerbera jamesonia
Flowering plant available in many colors. Blooms all winter when kept on a cool window sill. Extremely effective for removing toxins from air. Resistant to insects, but requires some care.
#4 – Dwarf date palm – Phoenix roebelenii
Foliage plant. High overall rating for removing toxins, ease of maintenance and resistance to insects. While a slow grower, it can reach 5 to 6 ft. and fronds will grow 3 ft. wide. Adapts well to indoor light and controlled temps indoors.
#5 – Dracaena “Janet Craig” – Dracaena deremensis “Janet Craig”
Foliage plant in the agave family. The “Compacta” variety is a smaller plant that grows 1 to 3 ft. Best dracaena for removing toxins; low maintenance; insect resistant.