Why splurge on expensive air-purifying devices when houseplants could do the trick? The jury may still be out on the science, but if it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for us. OK, your home might not be exactly the same as a space station but, worst case, at least it’ll look pretty! Here are some of the best air-purifying indoor plants.
Aloe vera may be best known for the anti-inflammatory properties and beauty benefits of the soothing gel found in its leaves, but it turns out that this succulent also works wonders as an air-purifier. It can reduce the presence of benzene and formaldehyde found in wallpapers, air fresheners, nail polish, detergents and manufactured woods (yup, your built-in condo furniture could be out to get you). Try placing an aloe vera in your bedroom to benefit from its air-purifying nightly emission of oxygen and absorption of carbon dioxide. Insomnia be gone!
Price: From B10-50
Care tips: These guys thrive in a sunny area, and since aloe plants are succulents, they’re very low-maintenance—meaning they can go a very long time without water. Watering two-to-three days per week is more than enough, but keep in mind to not overwater!
With tall thin leaves that can majestically shoot up to two meters in height, this eye-catching, pointed-tip succulent not only adds a stylish touch to your home but is also an excellent air purifier. Like aloe vera, snake plants are ideal for the bedroom as they produce oxygen at night, helping you to breathe easier as you sleep. According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, snake plants can remove over 100 air pollutants, including carbon monoxide, benzene, chloroform, xylene and formaldehyde—the latter of which can be emitted from computers and photocopiers, making this a great office plant, too.
Care tips: Although snake plants love direct sunlight, they can thrive in just about any conditions, be it indirect or low sunlight. You should water your plant when the soil is very dry, but be mindful to not overwater, as the roots are likely to rot in moist soil.
Pothos or Devil’s Ivy
Credit: Luisella Planeta Leoni via Pixabay
Attractive, cascading heart-shaped leaves and low-maintenance—not only is this plant ideal for home decor, it is also very efficient when it comes to removing indoor air pollutants. Place it in your bathroom to help eliminate the smell of ammonia around the toilet, which can be caused by urine (men of the house: learn to aim!), drain traps and sink pipes; in your garage to remove benzene and toluene in gas fuels; or just anywhere in your home to help absorb formaldehyde.
Care tips: Pothos is generally a fuss-free plant—it can thrive in water, pots or hanging baskets. While it can survive in low light places like bathrooms, it actually prefers bright but indirect light. Like snake plants, it likes to have its soil completely dry before its next drink, otherwise the roots will rot. Brown edged leaves indicate a lack of water, while black spots point to overly moist soil. Just note that pothos contains calcium oxolate crystals, which are poisonous if ingested, so remember to keep it out of reach of pets and children!
Fiddle-Leaf Fig Trees
These photogenic trees are a popular home decor item thanks to their majestic height and large, sculptural leaves, but they certainly have more to offer than striking visual appeal. Through the process of metabolic breakdown, the broad leaves can help get rid of toxins and allergens in the air that can cause health problems like colds, coughs, sore throats, headaches and fatigue. Another benefit of the fiddle-leaf fig is that it helps control humidity, which is essential in eliminating dust and airborne pollutants such as mold spores, as well as common viruses that thrive in dry environments. These beauties also pump out high levels of oxygen, thus keeping your room constantly refreshed.
Care tips: This is a tropical plant that loves bright and indirect light—direct sunlight can burn the leaves. Water at least once a week thoroughly from top to bottom, allowing the water to slowly trickle down past the roots into the soil and out the drainage hole. Remember to always empty the dish beneath after watering, otherwise the roots will rot.
Credit: Mokkie via Wikimedia Commons
This attractive tropical plant is not only said to bring luck, but its beautiful patterned foliage also has the ability to effectively cleanse the air of formaldehyde, benzene and other toxins found in detergents, candles, varnishes and cosmetics. Although it’s a slow-growing plant, Chinese evergreen becomes more effective at removing indoor air pollutants and toxins as it grows. This plant is ideal for living rooms and bedrooms, as it also produces high levels of oxygen to refresh the air.
Care tips: This is a very low-maintenance plant that can thrive in pretty much any conditions. While it grows well in low light, it also enjoys bright spots and can even survive under fluorescent lighting. Water it once every one to two weeks to keep the soil moist. Like pothos, Chinese evergreens contain calcium oxolate crystals, so be mindful to keep them away from your children and pets.
Give your leafy friends a makeover with these minimal ceramic pots
Shop: Thai Modern Part Studio
Order online at www.fb.com/thaimodernpart
Shop: Malee Chubai
Thonburi Market Sanam Luang 2, 195/1 Klong Thawi Wattana Rd., 089-172-7671. Open daily 10am-5pm www.fb.com/maleechubaishop
MC-07 ceramic pot
Shop: Mr. Clay Ceramics
B/F, Home Pro, Rama 3 Rd., 084-099-8888. Open daily 10am-8pm www.mrclayceramics.com
Bao U-Shape with stand
Shop: Garden Atlas
95/14 Nanglinchee Rd., 097-246-547. Open Mon-Fri 11am-4pm; Sat-Sun 10am-4pm www.fb.com/gardenatlas