There’s no denying it, West Coast Gardeners, many of us spend a lot of time, effort and sleepless nights (well, at least tossing and turning for a few uncomfortable minutes) worrying about how our choices affect our health. Should we eat gluten free? Should I switch from pilates to yoga? What brand of natural bathtub cleaner should I choose? The stress is palpable.
But did you know that BC was rated the healthiest province in Canada, and third healthiest in the entire world? (Beaten by Sweden and Switzerland). All of us West Coast Gardeners north of the border should be quite proud to be a part of that statistic.
But while we’re trying to make our homes a healthier place to be, have we considered the air quality? Do you know what the level of benzene, trichloroethylene or formaldehyde is in your living room? (Nope, me neither. I can’t even pronounce that!)
Everyday items such as paint, house cleaners, leather, rubber or dry cleaning can give off these byproducts which then build up in your home without you realizing. (Excuse me while I go open a window!) Believe it or not, the answer lies in space...
Creating the Right Atmosphere
NASA is the star of this problem (pun intended) and their “Clean Air Study” has shown that all it takes to clean up your air is to add houseplants! No, NASA hasn’t gone into the home decor business, it’s really all about the clean air. (Have you seen the decor on the space station? You don’t want them picking out your next couch.)
Plants absorb particulates from the air while they are busy converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, like a filter. On top of that, micro-organisms found in the potting soil of growing plants also have a cleaning effect, removing benzene from your air! In order to be effective its suggested that you have at least one plant per 100 square feet of space in your home. Time to start potting!!
Stellar Choices for Clean Air
Not just any house plant will do, however. There are some houseplant species that are great at cleaning your home’s air and others that won’t do the trick. Luckily, we’ve got the top seven plants for you to choose from right here. Now all you need to do in order to add these air purifying plants to your home is clear some space and planet out! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
Our Top 7 Plants for Air Purification in Your Home
Also known as Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, this easy to grow plant will help out with cleaning chores (at least air cleaning, it won’t do a thing about your laundry) of most chemicals and micro-organisms in your home. Famous for being able to thrive with neglect, the Snake Plant needs watering only when the soil has become super dry. Keep it away from pets.
This beautiful plant removes six different types of chemicals from your air including ammonia and formaldehyde. It’s also fantastic for your psychological health with it’s calming and elegant white blooms. Peace Lilies like warmer temperatures and bright light. Keep it out of reach of kids and pets, however, as it is toxic if ingested.
ChrysanthemumsNot usually considered a houseplant, the Chrysanthemum also helps you deal with all six types of chemicals that may be present in your home. Keep your Chrysanthemum near an open window or door with good air circulation and bright levels of sunlight. Again, the leaves and blooms are toxic to pets so be careful where it’s located.
Another green and leafy botanical for your home that clears out everything except ammonia. The trick to the Bamboo Palm is to let it dry out between waterings, as it is especially sensitive to soggy roots. As well, this beauty is non-toxic for pets (probably don’t give them a steady diet of it, however) so you can place it anywhere in the home.
Often placed in bathrooms due to it’s low light requirements, this versatile hanging plant will keep you breathing clear as it filters most chemicals, except ammonia, from your space. They love humidity so spritzing them with water a couple times a week will keep them healthy and help prevent pests like spider mites. Another toxic plant for pets, this one is most often hung in the home and easy to keep out of their reach.
A nice splash of colour in this foliage rich plant, the Dracaena filters all but ammonia, and can really brighten up a room. Speaking of bright, this beautiful palm needs bright (but indirect) light to grow well. Not pet friendly, but I’m sure there’s a table or shelf this plant can call home.
We all love a Gerbera! Bright, big and colourful, and now with air cleaning power! One of the best plants to help remove benzene, it also filters out other chemicals with the exception of ammonia. You really can’t give your Gerbera enough light, as they thrive on bright sunshine all day long. Best news? You don’t have to worry if your dog turns it into a snack as it’s non-toxic!Not only will adding more houseplants to your home keep your air quality high grade, but it also plays a role in psychological health during those dreary winter months when we’re stuck indoors more of the time. And if anyone asks why your cart is full of plants, just blame NASA!