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You Can Use Plants to Purify Air According to Science and Feng Shui.
Whether or not you believe in Feng shui (ancient Chinese art of harmonizing your home with the surrounding environment), it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you can use plants to purify your home air. That’s for sure.
Because of the presence of common VOCs (volatile organic compounds), other household chemicals, and pollutants, our indoor air can be much more polluted than the outside air.
As a matter of fact, some plants can be pretty darn effective in providing clean air for you and your family.
Not to mention that you can enjoy their esthetic qualities. Don’t forget that they also release oxygen into your home air while absorbing carbon dioxide. And some of them can also serve as efficient air humidifiers. All the more reason to take a look at the amazing properties of plant air purificators.
When we look for scientific support regarding using plants as air purification units, we should turn our attention to the famous NASA clean air study, conducted more than thirty years ago.
They did this study together with the ALCA (Associated Landscape Contractors of America). This article is partly based on their findings related to using certain plants to remove toxins from the home air. Their study was focused on removing formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and ammonia.
Doctor Wolverton was one of the scientists that NASA brought on board in order to determine the effects of plants on air quality. Thus, the effectiveness of air purification is measured with Dr. Wolverton’s ranking (0-10 for clearing effectiveness of chemicals and transpiration rate.
What the results of this study suggest? They indeed confirm the natural ability of plants to filter out toxic agents from the air. We recommend checking the full list of plants and the corresponding toxicants they are able to absorb on the Wikipedia page here.
In the following we will present some ideas about some air purifying plants that are at the same time well known feng shui plants:
This plant of Latin name Chamaedorea sefritzii is also known by the name “Reed Palm”. It thrives in shady indoor spaces. It tops the list of plants which are best for filtering out trichloroethylene and benzene, which is commonly found in inks, glue, paint, plastics and detergent. They’re also great for placing near furniture which may be off-gassing formaldehyde and are said to act as a natural humidifier.
Keep it in a shady place, without any direct light coming to it, as it thrives in humid air and not overly watered soil.
Snake plant is a popular feng shui plant. The popular name of this plant is mother-in-law’s tongue. It is considered excellent to filter out formaldehyde and nitric oxide. These two harmful chemicals are commonly found in tissues, toilet paper, and other products for personal care.
Snake plant likes humid and steamy spaces. It is ideal for bathrooms where it can help remove air pollutants.
Spider plant is also known as airplane plant (Latin name: Chlorophytum comosum). It is one of the most adaptable house plants, and at the same time very resilient and very easy to grow.
Spider plant can be used to remove formaldehyde and other toxins from the air. Its lush foliage can also help with filtering out carbon monoxide, benzene, and xylene.
Peace lily is not a true lily at all. This flowering plant is the member of the Araceae family. It is often referred to as clean-all of plants. Very easy to care about, this shade preferring plant has great purification abilities. It will thrive in bathrooms where it will help you remove toxicants and mold spores. Peace lilies are great at removing trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and other toxic gases.
This is another flowering plant of bright color with more than 30 varieties. Because of its beautiful red, yellow, purple, orange, and pink shades, it is very popular across the United States. What’s also important, it will help you remove carbon dioxide from your home air and replace it with oxygen thereby improving sleep. It will also remove trichloroethylene, a typical byproducts of cleaners and other chemical products. Typically used in laundry or bedroom.
Aloe Vera is a fantastic medicinal plant. Used since ancient times under the name “the plant of immortality”, Aloe Vera has very potent air cleaning capabilities. In addition to healing burns and cuts with the jellylike consistency of its flesh, Aloe is a great choice for a sunny area close to a large window of your home. It is known to clear the air from benzene and formaldehyde.
Devils Ivy is another nice looking plant from the NASA list of powerful plant that help purify the air pollution from formaldehyde and other harmful substances. The Latin name of this plant is Epipremnum pinatum. This fast growing vine has beautiful leaves in the form of heart. Excellent location for this plant is anywhere where it can hang or climb with its long tendrils.
These relatives of dahlias and sunflowers come from the Compositae family. No wonder then that they love open and sunny areas. Put them close to the window, and they will brighten and bring life to your home or office, but also they are great at filtering out benzene.
This beautiful plant has a lovely range of colors. As an added bonus, it will protect your home air from xylene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. If your living space is contaminated with a lot of varnish, you might consider growing this plant. It is not an easy task though, as it requires a lot of care and attention. The Dracanea can be kept at home, office and even large facilities, such as malls and shopping areas.
The Weeping Fig belongs to the Ficus family (Latin name: F. Benjamina). This slow growing tree-like plant can be a good addition to your living room, as it can help clean the air from pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. Please note that if you have cats or dogs, this plant is poisonous to them. It also requires extra care, that is, getting the indoor conditions, such as watering and light, right.
Not only does this winter flowering plant look great, but it also helps clean formaldehyde from the air. It has many beautiful and colorful blooms that brighten your home and improve your mood just by looking it. Keep it in shaded areas, for example, basements, or you can even keep it in containers.
This plant is great for formaldehyde, but it can also be used to reduce the indoor mold spores. Mold is especially problematic as it can be invisible and is often present in our air and food. So you might be ingesting it without even realizing. For people suffering from mold allergies English Ivy might be a good natural option to reduce the mold spores concentration and keep the house allergy free.
Please be aware that the leaves (and berries) of English Ivy is poisonous for humans and pets.
The Warneck Dracaena can thrive inside your house even at positions without much sunlight. The cultivated Warneck variety of this plant is also called limelight because of the specific lime-like color of its leaves.
The Dracaena is considered excellent for removing benzene from your home air. The main sources of benzene according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) (check here: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/benzene/basics/facts.asp) are tobacco smoke, industrial emissions, glues, waxes, paints, detergents, and gas stations, but indoor spaces contain higher concentrations of benzene.
This plant is considered to have 6 out of 10 in effectiveness of air purification and 8 out of 10 for transpiration rate
Chinese Evergreen is another air purification plant that will help remove toxic chemicals (benzene and formaldehyde) from the air. It is quite easy to grow even in poor light conditions. You will find it grow in places where no other plants would survive.
If you are an allergy sufferer, plants shouldn’t be considered the only option. If you have serious medical conditions, or, say, chemical sensitivities, a good, quality Air Purifier is your best shot.
Use your air cleaner in conjunction with plants. In any case, consider getting at least some of the plants we talks about in this article. They can make your living and working space more beautiful and play a practical role in protecting your environment.
Chamaedorea: Photograph Courtesy Of Forest and Kim Starr https://www.flickr.com/photos/starr-environmental/
Gerbera Daisy: Photograph Courtesy Of liz west https://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/
Red-edged Dracaena: Photograph Courtesy Of Matt https://www.flickr.com/photos/polomex/
Ficus benjamina: Photograph Courtesy Of Dinesh Valke https://www.flickr.com/photos/dinesh_valke/
Chinese Evergreen: Photograph Courtesy Of P. L. Tandon https://www.flickr.com/photos/13070711@N03/
Sunny breeze is a member of sunnyray's editorial staff.