From the past few days, the only point that is scaring the entire nation is the deteriorating air quality in the country. With the air quality index in the northern states dipping below the serious level, it is not wrong to say that almost everyone in the national capital and the surrounding cities and states are breathing hazardous air. Appalling numbers around air pollution are making news every now and then.
With volumes being documented about the common causes and prevailing statistics, there has been a focus on the various remedial options and preventive measures. Right from refraining from going outside unless needed to use of respiratory masks, everyone is trying to find their own ways to fight air pollution. And one such simple and effective ways to fight indoor pollution and breathe fresh air is to keep some indoor plants.
HOW DO THE INDOOR PLANTS HELP IN CLEANSING THE SURROUNDING AIR?
Several indoor plants have been found to absorb the poisonous gaseous contaminants through their leaves and roots, through a process called phytoremediation. The soil of these potted plants serves as a rich source of microorganisms that aid in neutralizing the effect of the pollutants.
Here are a few indoor plants that you can add to your workplace and house.
1. Aloe Vera
With several benefits to its name, aloe vera is also beneficial in keeping our surroundings pollution free. It helps in removing the chemical formaldehyde, which is a common indoor air pollutant, effectively from the air.
This indoor plant is easily available and requires no special care to grow. You can water this plant once every 2 – 3 days and can keep in close, dark room. Not just air purification, there are several other benefits as well you should pick this plant for your house.
2. Chrysanthemum (Garden Mum)
Research by NASA suggests, chrysanthemum to be a real air purifying plant. It has been found to remove ammonia, formaldehyde, benzene and xylene, all of which are known to be potent air pollutants.
Popular and pretty, this plant is not only beneficial but also serves as a decorative plant. Make sure the soil is well moisturized by watering the plant every day. The flowers of the plant are known to act as air purifying parts thereby providing fresh air and fragrance.
3. Chamaedorea (Bamboo Palm)
Bamboo palm is a tall plant that is widely known for its sturdy nature. This plant has been found to be effective in removing benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. It also transpires moisture into the air, which works best during the dry months of winter.
This indoor plant requires sufficient sunlight to grow, hence it is advised that it should be placed on the windowsill of the room or in a room (living room or near the garden area) where there is access to brightness or sunlight. Once it grows tall, it adds greenery to the surrounding and also helps to cleanse the surrounding air.
4. Chlorophytum (Spider Plant)
It is one of the most commonly available indoor plants that can absorb a wide range of chemicals sprayed during the cleaning of our houses/ workplaces. It has been found to remove benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and carbon monoxide from the surrounding air. These plants are known to use formaldehyde as a source of energy and carbon for biosynthesis of new molecules, thus purifying the air.
Inexpensive, easy on maintenance and harmless to children and pets, it is a common choice for many people. You can either plant these plants in a pot or grow them in hanging baskets at your workplace or house. Water them once or twice a week and the plants are good to grow.
5. Dracaena (Female Dragon)
Available in various shapes, sizes and color, dracaena helps in removing various chemicals and toxins from the air and help you breathe fresh air indoors. The plant is found to remove gases such as benzene, trichloroethylene and xylene from the surrounding air
The plant grows gradually, however, eventually grows into a very tall plant. It may need moderate sunlight to grow. This plant might be toxic for pets (cats and dogs), so you have to be cautious if you have pets at your place.
6. Ficus (Rubber Plant)
This plant is known to eliminate toxins such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from air thereby keeping the air around you toxin-free and fresh. Rubber plant is very popular and easily available from any local nursery as well as online.
Also called as the “mini-tree”, this plant grows into a tiny full grown tree with a height of 60-120cm. It may require sunlight sometimes so place it outdoors during the spring and summers for short intervals. Also, make sure it is moistened with water during summers.
7. Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)
Subtle in looks and beneficial to the surrounding, it is amongst the common picks in indoor plants. It removes benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, trichloroethylene and xylene from the air.
Generally, it blooms in the summers, in shady and moist places. So make sure you keep the plant in sunlight quite often for the flowers to bloom and the plant to grow. This plant is known to be toxic for pets and well as kids. So keep it as an ornamental plant away from pets and kids.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
-Make sure the leaves of the indoor plants are clean and dust free, as they absorb the pollutants through their leaves and roots.
-Unlike other plants, most of these plants need not be watered very often. They are usually watered once in 3-4 weeks. However, the water requirement varies depending upon the plant. So do water the plants regularly but not too often.
-Make sure these plants are exposed to sunlight as and when needed as some plants might need brightness or light to grow properly.
-In case you have pets, make sure you do not pick certain indoor plants that can be toxic to them. Do your research before you plan to buy these plants to be on the safer side.
So, go ahead and make sure you pick these indoor plants the next time you pay a visit to the nursery and reap the countless benefits that they offer. Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!
1. Interior Landscape Plants For Indoor Air Pollution Abatement. Final Report. NASA.
2. Gawrońska H, Bakera B. Phytoremediation of particulate matter from indoor air by Chlorophytum comosum L. plants. Air Qual Atmos Health. 2015;8(3):265-272. Epub 2014 Aug 9.