We all know that plants can enhance the appearance and even the smell of a home. However, the right kind of plants can also improve the air you breathe inside your home.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the government agency that is assigned to explore outer space. So, not surprisingly, it wanted to discover which plants filter out harmful compounds and make the air healthier to breathe. The purpose was to include the right kinds of houseplants that would provide purer and cleaner air in the International Space Station to ensure a healthy environment for astronauts.
What follows are 10 plant species that are part of the list of plants that NASA identified as those that perform the greatest improvement to breathable air. Thankfully these plants are common and can be found at your local florist or home improvement store.
1) Aloe Vera. This plant is a handy one to have around the house because of its healing ability. The leaves contain a gel that is helpful in healing burns and cuts. It also improves the quality of indoor air. It is easy to grow and maintain and just about impossible to kill and it helps to do away with benzene, which is typically found in paint and some chemical cleaners.
2) Peace Lily. NASA discovered that this plant improves the quality of indoor air by as much as 60 percent. It absorbs mold spores through its leaves and circulates them to the roots where they enter the plant as food. These plants are ideal for bathrooms where they keep shower tiles and curtains free of mildew. Moreover, the plant also absorbs harmful alcohol and acetone vapors.
3) Spider Plant. One of the most common houseplants and very easy to grow, the Spider Plant removes up to 90 percent of toxins that appear in the air of your home. The leaves grow quickly and absorb harmful particles like mold and other allergens. So it is the ideal plant for a person who suffers dust allergies. It also absorbs traces of formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.
4) English Ivy. This plant is ideal for households that have pets because it rids the home of airborne fecal matter. It also absorbs formaldehyde that is part of some household cleaning products and furniture or carpet treatments. It has been found to also improve one’s focus because it absorbs benzene, which is a chemical that is commonly found in office equipment.
5) Boston Fern. This is another very popular houseplants and helps to humidify and restore moisture in a home. It is an ideal plant for people who suffer from dry skin and other cold weather problems. It also eliminates traces of formaldehyde and look great hanging from baskets. Boston Fern must be kept in direct sunlight and its leaves should be misted with water on a regular basis.
6) Heart Leaf Philodendron. A climbing vine, this plant also removes formaldehyde and are fairly easy to maintain. However, it should be kept high so that pets and small children can’t get to it because it is very toxic and cause major problems if eaten.
(Courtesy: Judith Barnett at flickr.com)
7) Eucalyptus. Used for all kinds of ailments for centuries, this plant’s leaves include tannins, which help to raise healthy fluids in a person’s air passages when the scent is breathed in and decreases congestion issues and helps prevent colds.
8) African Violet. A beautiful purple plant, the African Violet helps to stimulate adrenaline and increases the flow of oxygen to the brain, which helps a person relax. It is best located in indirect sunlight and grows very well in artificial light.
9) Chinese Evergreen. This plant helps remove an assortment of air pollutants. Its tiny red berries help to remove toxins from the air that are typically found in chemical-based household cleaners. The longer you have the plant, the more toxins it will remove.
10) Chrysanthemum. Available at most nurseries or floral shops, this plant filters out benzene. It is best to locate it in direct sunlight and is often hung near windows.