10 Best Air Purifying Indoor Plants For Your Home
Do you want to breathe easy amidst all the air pollution? Bring home some indoor plants to beautify and raise the quality of air inside your home.
By Sherine Paul-Solomon
Plants give us oxygen for the lungs and for the soul. ~Linda Solegato
Nature is always soothing to our nerves. However, in our ever-changing fast-paced world, most of us probably don’t get the luxury of spending more than an hour or two outdoors. So why not bring nature into your own homes by including some plants with your décor. Not only will it brighten up your space, but it also comes with numerous benefits. Here’s looking at some indoor plants that can be easily maintained, will thrive in Indian weather and add an aesthetic elegance to your room.
Benefits of indoor plants
A healthy environment is crucial for your well-being. And indoor plants contribute to this enormously. Plants work as natural humidifiers both indoors and outdoors. To prove that the main benefit of plants is to purify air, in the late 80s, NASA conducted a Clean Air Study.
The study explored to find which indoor plants removed ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene from the environment. These chemicals are all related to symptoms like dizziness, eye irritation and headaches. NASA came up with a list of air purifying indoor plants and also recommended that every home should have a plant per 100 square feet or 10 square metres. Studies have linked time spent with nature to lowered anxiety and stress levels, lower blood pressure, lower risk of depression and lead to better concentration.
Even in colour psychology, ‘green’ is associated with nature, calmness, renewal and growth. You would have noticed even spas using plants as part of their décor to create a calm, zen-like atmosphere. Plants have numerous benefits including removing toxins from the air, act as natural humidifiers, help you breathe easier by producing more clean oxygen, reduces stress, improves mental health by creating a positive environment, catches and digests mold spores and adds beauty to indoor spaces and your home.
Even if you have minimal space, don’t let that deter you as all you need is a little imagination to create your own little urban jungle at home. Most indoor plants are easy to maintain and require minimal effort. With the environment of the room in your control choose your plants wisely as there are a plethora of options. Proper watering habits, potting soil, light and plant food will guarantee you success with almost any house plant.
Here are some simple rules to follow while picking an indoor plant.
1. Space – Choose a plant-based on the available space. If it’s a smaller room or apartment opt for something like a peace lily, pothos or aloe vera. Whereas if you have a bigger space it is ideal for plants which need more space like palms or monstera swiss cheese plant.
2. Light – If light is a problem in your home, don’t fret as you can still grow plants that don’t require a lot of natural light. Plants like the snake plant, pothos, heart-leaf philodendron, dieffenbachia, Chinese evergreen, arrowhead vine and cast-iron plant are good options.
If you are looking for a flowering option, the peace lily is the perfect match as it thrives in low-light conditions. If you have bright sunlight streaming into your home you can opt for plants like spider plant, jade plant, fiddle-leaf-fig, croton or rubber plant.
3. Air purifiers - Some plants release more oxygen than others and are called as ‘oxygen bomb’ plants as they clear the air in your home and absorb dust and chemicals. These are ideal indoor plants. Plants like the Weeping Fig and Bamboo Palm are more beneficial than others.
4. Pick a healthy plant - In the excitement of buying a new plant don’t forget to choose a healthy one if you wish for it to survive more than a few weeks. Signs to look out for include strong healthy leaves, a firm stem and no insects or pests on the plant.
5. Easy maintenance - Sometimes low maintenance is the key to keeping your plants alive as they prefer neglect to over care. This is ideal for busy people who would like a touch of green in their home. Plants that fall into this category include the Dragon tree, parlor plant, ZZ Plant, cast iron plant, corn plant, sansevieria or mother-in-laws tongue, lucky bamboo plant, spider plant and peace lilies.
6. Watering - Overwatering is a common mistake made among plant parents. You will know when it is time to water the plant by probing the soil, if there is some moisture, don't water your plant. If your plant is wilting, has yellow leaves or the edges are turning brown they are also signs of over or under-watering. Also, make sure that your pots have drain holes.
7. Children And Pets– Some plants can prove to be toxic for children and pets. Make sure that you research what plants are ideal to have at home if you have children or animals. Place the plant out of reach of the toddler and animal by placing it at a higher level or hanging it. This will also prevent incidents like itching in case a plant scratches your child.
8. Inspiration – Don’t feel shy to ask your friend or neighbour a name of a plant if you like it. This will help you pick a perfect plant for your space. You can also look for inspiration at your local nursery, Pinterest, gardening books or Instagram and Facebook pages. A lot of nurseries will also be able to guide you on what plant would be most suitable for your home.
9. Decorative planters –Add your own unique style by dressing up your green wonders with different styles of planters based on your décor.
10 best house plants and why they are good for you
Now that you have learned the ropes on how to pick your plant, here are ten of the best indoor plants you should add to your home.
Sanseveria also commonly known as mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plants is one of the easiest indoor plants to maintain. The plant has many modified forms where it can be tall and narrow, medium height or dwarf sizes with variegations and markings. Sanseveria is low maintenance, is in a prime spot on NASA’s list of top air purifiers and requires minimal watering. It is one of the few houseplants that convert carbon dioxide into oxygen at night. The increase in air quality will lead to better sleep patterns and is particularly good if you are prone to allergies. An ideal spot for this plant would be in your bedroom but it will work in any other room as well.
Get it from Amazon for ₹ 1,149+
Commonly known as money plant in the Indian subcontinent this plant is a low care house plant that can thrive without sunlight. One of the most beneficial house plants, the money plant does well in both the shade and sunlight and with moist or dry soil. For best results place your pot in a place where it receives indirect sunlight and water only when the soil is dry. According to the NASA study pothos is one of the plants that removes all VOCs and toxins from the surrounding air. Pothos also increases humidity in your home – humid air helps protect us the common cold and influenza as viruses don’t transmit easily in moist air. Another great feature of the money plant is that you can train the plant to grow in the way you desire, either as a climber or a downward trailing plant.
Get it from Amazon for ₹249+
Philodendron derives its names from the Greek words philo meaning love and affection and dendron meaning tree. One of the easiest house plants to grow they boost morale, induces productivity, concentration and creativity. They also help reduce stress, fatigue, sore throats and colds. Yet another plant that improves indoor air quality by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity and producing more oxygen. In the right conditions, the philodendron heart-shaped leaves can trail over 10 feet if placed on a high shelf. You can also let it climb up a moss stick or tree branch to get a swirling effect. Well-drained soil, moderate watering and bright indirect light are the criteria to grow a perfect plant. To unclog the pores and dust particles on the leaves wipe the leaves with a wet cloth on top and underneath once a week.
Get it from Amazon for ₹295+
4. Aloe vera
This easy-to-grow sun-loving succulent helps clear chemicals that are a by-product of chemical-based cleaners, paints, etc. It is a smart choice for a sunny window. Beyond the basic property of purifying the air, the gel inside an aloe plant helps heal cuts and burns. Known as the plant of immortality in early Egypt this plant has been used for more than 6000 years. Make sure you plant in soil that drains easily, add sand and tiny gravel to your mix, as is the rule of thumb with indoor plants make sure you don’t pour too much water on your plant.
Get it from Amazon for ₹249+
The peace lily is not only beautiful but effective as it helps remove mold spores from the air. Care for peace lilies is simple, place the plant in the shade and make sure than you don’t overwater the plant. A long-time favourite among plant enthusiasts, NASA research proved that the peace lily was the top indoor plant to purify the air. This tropical plant breaks down and neutralizes toxic gases. Peace lilies are prized plants for their pleasing bush appearance with shiny leaves, beautiful white flowers, ease of growth and ability to purify the air. Once the flower fades, cut the stalk from the base of the plant with a blade at an angle.
Get it from Amazon for ₹325+
Dracena is a rank holder on NASA’s list of best plant air purifiers list. Used extensively as an indoor plant with its air-cleaning properties. The Song of India is the most vibrant, radiant and popular among dracaenas. As soon as you place it in your home or office, this plant will go to work on purifying the air. Their proven capabilities of removing a considerable amount of toxins from the atmosphere make it a plant of star qualities. If you spot a yellow or brown leaf that indicates that you are overwatering your plant. Well-drained soil, moderate watering and bright light are crucial to having a healthy Song of India plant at home. Avoid placing your plant at hot sunny windows and direct afternoon sun, low light is also not optimal for this plant.
Get it from Amazon for ₹399+
7. Areca Palm
Areca palms help you maintain healthy lungs as they absorb harmful indoor pollutants and provide clean and fresh air. It also helps to improve the nervous system in children. This plant is ideal for larger rooms; the palm brings a tropical feel to your room with its exotic-looking leaves. The palm also doubles up as a natural humidifier. This plant is ideal for a bedroom and will help alleviate symptoms for a person who suffers from sinus at night. Make sure your palm gets bright filtered light to thrive.
Get it from Amazon for ₹499+
The Spider Plant is the best indoor plant choice for a bedroom. An ideal spot for your plant will be on a windowsill or table where there is sufficient indirect light. Watering should be moderate, if you over water the plant it tends to rot due to the very wet soil. When planting your spider plant, make sure the soil is porous with added sand, humus and coco pith. Spider plants purify the air, making for a restful sleep. The plant produces plenty of plantlets or ‘pups’ that can be stockpiled for additional air purification.
Get it from Amazon for ₹299+
Syngonium is a beautiful house plant and air purifier. A fast-growing tropical plant, it flourishes in a moist, shady place with a good amount of watering and aeration in well-drained soil. Syngonium thrive indoors and are ideal for the Indian climate. Avoid accidental contact with the plant as it can cause skin inflammations. Make sure the plant is out of reach of children at home.
Get it from Amazon for ₹565+
10. English Ivy
If allergies plague you, the English Ivy is your go-to plant. Studies have shown that the plant helps reduce airborne molds while also alleviating asthmatic symptoms. This is an air-purifying power player that you will definitely love to have in your bedroom. Avoid keeping it within reach if you have kids or pets at home as the leaves are toxic if ingested. A perfect setting for ivy is to let it trail down high wall shelves or stands. Ivy does better if the soil is slightly on the drier side. Make sure your container has a drain hole as ivy will not do well in over-watered containers. Ivy leaves benefit from periodic washing. To wash your plant simply place it under running water and let it get clean. Ivy requires sufficient light else it will become sickly and prone to pests.
Get it from Amazon for ₹399+
Maintaining indoor plants isn’t difficult as long as you provide the plant exactly what it needs. So what are you waiting for? Head to your nearest nursery and get those green thumbs working to brighten and purify your home.
About the author:
Written by Sherine Paul-Solomon on 02 December 2019.
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