Plants as Air Purifiers

July 24, 2013
Ross and Witmer

You don’t need to be a scientist to rightfully assume that certain indoor toxins-acetone, chloroform, methylene, xylene-are unhealthy to breathe. While many people turn to plug-in purifiers to counteract these toxins, don’t overlook the restorative power of plants as air purifiers.

Certain houseplants absorb pollutants and harmful gases from the air, thereby cleaning the air you breathe and balancing humidity. The Associated Landscape Contractors of America has isolated 10 plants that work hard to purify the air:

  • Peace Lily: This plant is particularly good at removing toxins that can cause cancer. It’s easy to care for, too.
  • Marginata: Like the Peace Lily, Marginata also removes formaldehyde and benzene and other toxins. While this is great for humans, the plant could be poisonous to dogs.
  • Snake Plant: The Snake Plant is a powerhouse when it comes to reducing formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants from the air. And it’s tolerant of low lighting and irregular watering.
  • Chinese Evergreen: The Chinese Evergreen also thrives with less light and water. But it delivers, filtering such toxins as benzene and formaldehyde.
  • Aloe Vera:  This plant is prized for its moisturizing qualities, but it also filters gas emissions from many air-borne toxins.
  • Golden Pothos: Also known as Silver Vine, this is an attack dog in the presence of formaldehyde, benzene and xylene. But it should be kept away from your dog, cat and children, to whom it may be toxic.
  • Areca Palm: This palm grows slowly, but it may be worth the wait. Best known as a humidifier, it also removes the toxins formaldehyde and xylene.
  • English Ivy: People with asthma and allergies gravitate to English Ivy for its air cleansing abilities. In addition to benzene and formaldehyde, English Ivy also counters chemicals released by synthetic materials.
  • Boston Ferns: These act as natural humidifiers by releasing moisture, which in turn removes a variety of common air pollutants.
  • Spider Plant: The spider plant is effective at plucking poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide from the air. As such, it is best kept near the kitchen or fireplace.

Ross & Witmer is committed to helping its customers improve their indoor air quality in numerous ways, beyond using plants as air purifiers. For more practical ideas, contact us today for a consultation.

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