If your thumb is not green and you're more of a 'fake plant' type of person, never fear! Many of the coolest and most beneficial house plants require very little attention once established. With a little knowledge of what your plant wants, you can naturally clean the stale air in your home.
Check out the following list, 10 of my personal favorites. I own and care for all of these plants, so let me know if you have any questions!
1.) Boston Fern: Often named the "most efficient filtering plant" for its time-tested ability to expel mold and toxins from indoor air, this beautiful fern cleans out formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, xylene and trichloroethylene.
How to: Boston Ferns love humidity. Keep the soil moist and mist the leaves every once in a while. Position in a bright location (out of direct sunlight) and transplant when root bound.
2.) Peace Lily: Number one on many lists, the easy-to-care-for lily is known to reduce harmful indoor toxins that may cause cancer. It helps in removing benzene and formaldehyde present in the house.
How to: This plant can grow in many spots where other plants have failed. Too much sun and the leaves will actually get burnt brown spots. Peace lilies will tell you when they need to be watered, so wait for the leaves to droop and water thoroughly.
How to: They need partial sun, warm temperature and well-drained soil, so water no more than once a week, tops. (To avoid spotting on the leaves, I water by simply placing a few ice cubes under the leaves to melt. They don't like having their leaves damp.)
4.) Aloe: Not only is aloe a great home remedy to have around for burns, but it removes nasty formaldehyde from your air! The bathroom is a great place for aloe to work it's magic.
How to: As a succulent, they prefer well-drained soil. They may go dormant in winter, requiring even less water than usual. Larger aloes prefer full sun while smaller varieties prefer a bit of shade.
5.) Spider Plant: This elegant plant is great at removing poisonous gases as well as other impurities like formaldehyde and xylene. Try one in the kitchen or near the fireplace, as these are the places where carbon monoxide accumulates most.
How to: Thrives in many varying sun conditions and doesn't require much attention. A healthy spider plant will sprout babies that can be easily pinched off and rooted in water. The spider plant grows rapidly, but likes to be a bit root bound.
|Spider Plant (only about 1 year old in this photo!)|
|Baby Spider Plants rooting in water|
6.) English Ivy: A great choice for people with asthma and allergic conditions, this plant has the amazing ability to remove benzene and formaldehyde and to off-gas various chemicals released by synthetic materials. WebMD noted that 60% of airborne mold in the room vanished just 6 hours after English ivy was brought in, as well as 58% if airborne feces! (Ew.)
How to: Keep in partial shade to bright light and water when dry. Be sure the roots are well-drained and mist leaves occasionally.
7.) Chinese Evergreen: An excellent air-purifier plant, Chinese evergreens filter out airborne toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde. Beautiful variegated leaves and a compact shape make this an attractive house plant.
How to: This is a great "starter plant" for those who lack green thumbs. A hearty and durable plant, it grows even better with less water and minimum light.
8.) Hoya or Hindu Rope Plant: A natural air purifier, the hoya is efficient at removing carbon dioxide. One of the more exotic plants I own, the rare, star-shaped, aromatic waxy flowers are unbelievable.
How to: Hoyas prefer bright light, well-drained soil and a temperature range between 55 and 75. Mine has done best in African Violet soil. Trailing vines may be trimmed and propagated to keep the plant full.
|Hindu Rope Plant or Hoya|
9.) Money Plant or Chinese Jade Plant: In the Chinese culture, Money Trees are said to bring luck, but they also bring fresh, purified air! The wide, flat leaves make this plant more efficient.
How to: Keep this plant in bright, filtered light. In the growing season, the plant’s soil should be damp, but during winter when the plant is slightly dormant, you can let the soil dry out more between watering. The leaves are critical to air cleansing and pruning encourages lots of them.
|Baby Money Tree|
10.) Janet Craig Dracaena: Janet Craig sucks toxins such as benzene, xylene, trichloroethylene, toluene, and formaldehyde from the air you breathe.
How to: Dracaenas love moist, warm soil in indirect bright sunlight. The Janet Craig I have has survived much neglect, small college windows, a pestering cat and 3 moves. It's over 20 years old and 8 feet tall with lush green leaves, so I'd say it's a pretty hardy plant!
|Janet Craig Dracaena|
As a rule of thumb for the most possible benefit, allow one 10-12" potted houseplant per 100 square feet of living area. The more vigorous the plant, the more air it can filter. When it comes down to it, any plant is better than no plant, so if you're not sure whether or not a potential plant is going to clean your air, just rest assured that it works a lot better than the fake ones. :)
If you ever need a little boost with your indoor air, maybe the flu is going around or you've recently painted, Purify essential oil is meant to do just that. It's made up of six essential oils that have been shown to deodorize the air, disinfectant and remove harmful airborne micro-organisms. Simply diffuse it into your home and breathe easy!
Good luck with your indoor air this winter! :)