¬†¬†¬†¬† I have good news and bad news.¬† First, the bad news.¬† Apparently, there are studies showing that Americans spend, on average, 90% of their time indoors.¬† I regard this as a shame because the outdoors offers us so much–direct contact with the sights, sounds, and smells of nature, and, for the most part, fresher air than we find indoors.
¬†¬†¬†¬† Now for the good news.¬† We can create fresher air in our indoor environment by choosing the right plants for our home and office.¬† Certain plants, many of which are relatively easy to grow, act as excellent filters, helping to remove common pollutants from¬†our indoor air.¬†¬†¬†¬†
¬†¬†¬†¬† Hundreds of poisonous chemicals can be released into our home¬†and office from furniture, carpets, and building material.¬†¬†Ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and many other airborne toxins are¬†often trapped inside, thanks to closed ventilation systems.¬† Allergic reactions and respiratory problems are an all-too-frequent result.¬†
¬†¬†¬†¬† But how do you know which plants will make your indoor air cleaner?¬† The book¬† How to Grow Fresh Air makes it easy.¬† Shared with me by my friend Jeanne, this practical, yet beautiful book¬†lists 50 plants that are champs when it comes to cleaning indoor air.¬† The plants that made it into the book are also relatively easy to care for.¬† And author B. C. Wolverton¬†includes basic instructions¬†for growing and maintaining each¬†plant.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
¬†¬†¬†¬† In addition to freshening the air in which you spend much of your time, deploying the ‘right’ plants in your home or office¬†will also add beauty to your surroundings, making the space a more pleasant place to be.
¬†¬†¬†¬† Here are¬†some details about just a few of the¬†plants described in Wolverton’s book:¬†
Boston fern:¬† This is one of the best plants for removing air pollutants, especially formaldehyde.¬†¬†The Boston fern has a high transpiration rate, which means that as the plant¬†rapidly takes up water from the soil,¬†the roots are also pulling¬†the (toxin-laden) air in.¬†¬†Microbes in the soil break down these gases into¬†food and energy for the plant.¬† Ferns love to be misted and should be¬†fed weekly with a weak liquid fertilizer.¬†
Bamboo palm:¬† Like many other palms, the bamboo palm is an excellent choice for cleaning indoor air.¬† With its clusters of small, slender canes and its graceful fans, the bamboo palm is great for removing many toxins.¬† The bamboo palm also pumps moisture into the air, a big plus during dry winter months.¬† The plant needs plenty of water during periods of active growth, and it is quite resistant to insect infestation.
Red emerald philodendron:¬†¬†A vining plant, the red emerald is one of the best in the philodendron family for removing chemical vapors.¬† And like all philodendrons, it is easy to grow and maintain.¬† This hybrid with striking burgundy-red leaves¬†should be misted often.