The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

In-door potted plants promote healthy air quality

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It has long been known that house plants assist in purifying air and improving in-door air quality.

But which one's are best at the job?  Below is a list of in-door pot plants that NASA studies show to be ideal for assisting in keeping your office or home air quality up to scratch.

They're all easy-to-grow and easy-to-care for; and I've shown some of the toxins they reduce:

●   Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii, reed palm).  It absorbs benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene (TCE). Grows well in medium light or bright, indirect light. Keep away from direct sunlight. Keep the soil uniformly moist between watering, and water when soil is half dry.

●   English Ivy (Hedera helix).  Sucks up benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, octane, and terpene.  It is the most effective plant against benzene according to NASA. Be careful as its leaves are poisonous. The English Ivy is suitable for patients with asthma and allergic conditions. Easy to grow in bright sunlight, the plant can remove off-gassing various chemicals released by synthetic materials.

●   Rubber Plant (Ficus robusta).  Adsorbs benzene, formaldehyde, TCE, octane, and terpene. It grows well in semi-full sunlight. Avoid direct light and keep the soil moist between watering. The roots are lateral so repotting is necessary. Wear gloves when pruning, as the milky sap may irritate the skin.

●   Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis, sword fern). Controls for formaldehyde, and xylene. This classic indoor plant is best displayed as a hanging plant. It prefers bright, indirect sunlight. Keep the soil barely moist and mist frequently with warm water. Keep spider mites and whitefly away with a soapy spray.

●   Mass cane (Dracaena massangeana) It adsorbs benzene, formaldehyde, TCE (the most effective plant against formaldehyde, according to NASA). A hardy plant, with medium-green and yellow leaves that needs little care. Direct sunlight is best. The soil has to be dry between watering. It can also grow in a bowl of water.

●   Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum, devil¡¦s ivy or moneyplant) A good plant to control formaldehyde, benzene and xylene. Be careful as the leaves are toxic to children and smaller pets. With evergreen leaves and progressive stems, it is a hardy plant that is easy to grow and care for.

●   Purple heart (Tradescantia pallida).  It reduces benzene, TCE, toluene, and terpene. It is suitable as a hanging ornament. Very shade tolerant, its succulent stems needs some watering.

●   Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum, Chlorophytum elatum).  It sucks up formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide. A beautiful house plant with long grassy leaves, the spider plant grows rapidly.

●   Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata, mother-in-law¡¥s tongue) .  It adsorbs formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and trichloroethylene (TCE). This evergreen plant needs irregular watering and less lighting. It blooms too!

●   Broadleaf Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa).  It reduces formaldehyde, toulene, xylene and ammonia. The soil must not be dry between watering. Keep in direct sun or medium light.

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