Plants to Boost Your Indoor Air Quality

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indoor air quality and plants

Our homes should be havens of rest and relaxation, not ground zero for respiratory illnesses and allergies. Many people have found out the hard way that indoor air pollution is one of the biggest health concerns in the U.S., and the Environmental Protection Agency confirms that contamination can be much worse indoors than it is outside. Ambient Edge has products that can purify your indoor air, including filters and air cleaners. However, you can also take a green approach. Consider nature’s best air purification system: houseplants. Spread a few plants throughout your home to freshen the air and filter out common toxins.

5 Natural Air Cleaners

A handful of nasty chemicals show up in multiple household products and furnishings. Benzene comes into the home via adhesives, cleaning solutions and petroleum-based products. Formaldehyde is in floor coverings, urea formaldehyde foam insulation and pressed-wood furniture. Toluene and xylene are found in nail polish, adhesives, lacquers and wood stains. These chemicals can lead to headaches, dizziness, throat irritation and other symptoms. NASA has studied plants to identify the ones that are best suited to filter these toxins out of the air. Here are a few to get you started.

  • English ivy (Hedera helix): This traditional plant is shown to filter benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, xylene and other chemicals. Keep your English ivy indoors in a hanging basket in bright light.
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’): The peace lily acts as a surprisingly excellent filter. Tuck this little beauty into a dark corner; it doesn’t do well in hot temperatures or direct sunlight. If it starts to wilt, the soil is probably too dry.
  • Broadleaf lady palm (Rhapis excelsa): Lady palms are slow growers, but they thrive in either low light or indirect bright light. Keep the soil moist.
  • Red-edged dracaena or dragon tree (Dracaena marginata): The red edges on the leaves of this tree add a little zip of color. With proper care, it can grow more than 6 feet tall. Keep the soil on the dry side and place it in bright filtered light.
  • Pot mum or florist’s mum (Chrysanthemum morifolium): Mums are a nice colorful addition to any room. Place it in bright sunlight and water daily to keep the soil moist. To extend the bloom time as long as possible, pinch off dying flowers at the stem.

Protect Your Health

Today’s homes are built to be ultra energy efficient, which is great for cutting utility costs in southern Nevada and northern Arizona, but that efficiency allows little fresh air inside for ventilation. To learn more about indoor air quality, check out our air purification page. The Ambient Edge team of comfort specialists will help you make sense of the options and choose the best combination of natural and technological solutions for your family.

Image via Flickr by Simon Schlegl