A few years ago I was talking to my sister about plants. It might sound like a strange topic of discussion, but it is something everyone should think about. She has a beautiful home that is filled with detailed decor, lovely furniture, and plastic plants. I asked her why she chooses to decorate with fake plants instead of living ones. With a shrug she said, “Why would I want a real plant when the fake ones look the same but require no work?” She asked an important question and one that cannot be ignored. While plastic plants may (sometimes) look better and lack the maintenance of watering, weeding, and care, they can often release chemicals found in plastics. Ironically, living plants combat these same chemicals so the air is safer to breathe. I don’t think people recognize all the toxins within the walls of their homes. Even while using green cleaners, there are still pollutants hiding in your furniture, bedding, flooring, and walls. Here are twelve plants you can safely add to your home and additionally enjoy the healthy benefits they offer.
This is my favorite plant, and might be the reason it is first on this list. The Aloe plant has a unique cactus look and is small enough to fit comfortably in a kitchen window. You might know it by the gel you rub on your sunburns called Aloe Vera, but it does more than just heal burns and cuts. It clears the air of chemicals often found in cleaning products, such as benzene and formaldehyde.
2. Bamboo Palm
This is one of the best plants around for cleaning the air of formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. This plant looks great as an accent piece in a living room or bedroom. It sucks the chemicals right out of furniture, carpet, and glues, making it a safe and clean place to relax.
It is amazing where formaldehyde can be found, and this shrub helps tackle away this toxic chemical hiding in plywood and even the insulation in your walls. The Azalea has gorgeous flowers and survives well in colder temperatures. Place it on a porch, in a well-lit basement, or a sunny garage for it to grow best.
4. Snake Plant
While deciding on which plants to put in which room, this one loves the environment of typical bathrooms. The steam and lack of light will help it continually grow. The bathroom is filled with items containing formaldehyde. The Snake Plant will clean the air from chemicals found in toilet paper, cleaning products, deodorants, and other personal items.
5. Chinese Evergreen
This beautiful plant is like a built-in filter. Not only is caring for it incredibly easy, but it works hard to filter the air of pollutants while removing toxins. I would love to have a couple of these neatly placed in the highest traffic areas of my home; it helps the air flow as it cleans it.
6. Spider Plant
This plant was made for people like me; I wasn’t blessed with a green thumb. The long thin spidery leaves and white flowers are strong enough to withstand neglect occasionally. This plant takes benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and even carbon monoxide out of the air so it is healthier to breathe.
7. Gerber Daisy
This beautiful little flower is a favorite for many, but beyond its stunning colors is the ability to ward off benzene and trichloroethylene. Place it in the sunniest room in your house and enjoy deep breaths of fresh air.
This beautiful flower would complement a brightly lit kitchen or as the centerpiece on a dining room table. The greenery and blooms both work together to filter out that nasty benzene that is a common ingredient in glues, plastics, and dishwasher detergents.
9. English Ivy
Every home looks stunning with a dash of Ivy, but the benefits of English Ivy are…well…really unique. A study concluded that this little plant has the skills to reduce airborne particles containing fecal matter. It might sound gross, but I wouldn’t want that floating around in my house. Changing diapers and using the bathroom releases fecal particles, so I would keep a plant close by these rooms to ensure the air is clean.
10. Golden Pothos
If you need a plant to hang from the ceiling, along a stairwell, or even inside the garage, this is the one. As a fast growing vine, it battles away the popular formaldehyde found in many products right inside your car or garage.
11. Weeping Fig
This stunning plant looks great in any room. It takes a little work to keep it growing healthily, but the rewards are worth the effort. Often the carpets, fabrics, and furniture in your home contain small amounts of chemicals that are emitted into the air every day. The Weeping Fig battles away benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde so you can relax on your furniture and floors without a single worry.
12. Warneck Dracaena
This indoor plant can grow to be 12 feet with proper care and love. Varnishes, stains, and oils found in furniture and woods release pollutants that the Warneck Dracanena attacks like a champ. If you suffer from constant headaches and migraines, this plant might relieve chemical-induced headaches.
Not only are the healthy benefits hard to pass up, but plants create an energy that can be very therapeutic. I love walking into my home and seeing nature inside my doors. It helps me stay positive during the winter months and makes my home feel cleaner. Yes I am terrible at watering them, and sometimes the weeds are noticeable, but man do I love the feeling of breathing clean air. Like my constantly beating heart, I often forget about all the hard work my plants do during the day and night for me. The beautiful green and bright seasonal flowers are a reminder of the clean air I get to breathe from simply having plants in my home.
Image Courtesy of Veggiefrog (Flickr)