With many people working from home during the current COVID-19 pandemic, indoor plants are an important contributor to overall health and well-being. Studies have shown that by adding some nature in the form of plants, to the home, office or indoor space, there are many positive benefits for human health.
While the impacts of outdoor air pollution on human health are well known, many people think that retreating indoors is a safe alternative. However, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this may not be the case. Air pollution indoors may be between two and five times greater than outdoors. This is because closed windows and poor ventilation in the home can raise the carbon dioxide levels which can cause drowsiness and headaches. There are also the volatile organic compounds from paints, furniture, and carpets as well as the fumes from cooking and heating that can cause air pollution and poor air quality inside the home.
However, all is not lost. In the 1980s, scientists at NASA discovered that plants remove chemicals such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air, making the air cleaner, fresher and healthier for humans to breathe. A medium-sized plant (anything above about 20cm) in a room is all that is required to make significant reductions to the purification of toxic chemicals in the air.
Here are three indoor plants that are perfect to create a non-toxic home.
1. Areca palms (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
Once an endangered species, Areca palms are a sun-loving plant that are particularly suited for larger spaces. They are also a super-performer when it comes to eliminating toxins, as they are known to purify the air of benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene. The other great thing about Areca palms is that they are non-toxic to both dogs and cats which makes them perfect for animal lovers. Areca palms do require a little bit of special care. For example, they need a bright space, but no direct sunlight. They also need plenty of water, but will not survive if their roots become water-logged. With a little bit of special care and attention, the Areca palm is a great option for clean air inside the home.
2. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
Also known as Mauna Loa or white sails, peace lilies are an easy and undemanding plant to look after. Their attractive leaves and white flowers make the perfect addition to any room especially areas without direct sunlight. It is easy to keep them happy with water once a week and a slow-release fertilizer in spring to promote growth and the beautiful white flowers. If you have pets, keep the peace lilies in an out of reach place as they are a mild irritant to pets. The other great thing about peace lilies is that they remove a wide range of toxins, including benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene.
3. Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
Chrysanthemums are best known for their beautiful and colorful flowers. However, they are also one of the best known air purifiers around. They do require specific care to thrive, such as good air flow, bright (indirect) sunlight and watering with warm water, with special attention to avoiding water-log. Also remember to keep them out of reach of pets as they are a mild irritant to cats and dogs. However, the effort is well worth it, because they remove ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene while also being an attractive feature for your home.
Whichever plant you choose to create a healthy and toxic free-home, enjoy the experience of creating an indoor space that promotes health and well-being for you and your family.
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