In today’s scenario, pollution is a grave and major issue bugging the whole human race and precisely, affecting every living thing on the planet Earth. Pollution has been defined widely as “The excess discharge of any substance into the environment which affects adversity quality of environment, causing damage to humans, plants and animals.”
Pollution being a major concern all over the globe, there are various measures taken by mostly all the countries of the world to control it in whatsoever possible way. We have to honestly accept that we are responsible for multiplying pollution at each level because of the massive change in our lifestyle. Talking about the country like the one I live in, i.e. India, we have changed our lifestyle with passage of time and have blindly adopted western culture without giving a thought to the consequences and the adverse affects it might cause while copycatting them. We miss out with this major understanding that the population of our country is denser in comparison to other countries and we do not have enough green patches to bring pollution under control.
How Pollution Disturbed Our Equilibrium
Due to urbanization, population explosion and dearth of space, spacious and large houses have gradually transformed into apartments and big offices have been converted into cuboids. Earlier, in spite of houses being large and spacious, it had to accommodate few people i.e. few people resided in these houses. But over a period of time they got transformed into apartments where the numbers of residents have increased manifold. For the needs and requirement of human beings, trees were mercilessly cut in the past and open fields were used for the construction of the residential and commercial complexes.
In the beginning, it charmed the people at all the levels but soon people realized their follies when the situation started worsening and went beyond control.
Due to compact houses, non-existence of greenery nearby, well-carpeted offices, lack of sunlight, etc., it was realized that such living condition was giving rise to issues pertaining to the health of the people residing in them.
Non-exposure to sunlight, closed spaces and carpets that helps mold and fungi to develop were woeful for health. It was found that this was one of the major reasons that gave rise to asthma, several other breathing problems, bronchitis, respiratory diseases, skin diseases, and various allergies.
After several observations, tests and investigations, the root cause was found out and people felt sorry for the lifestyle they unconsciously adopted by just taking into consideration the brighter side of it and not understanding its consequences or short comings.
Several studies show that the – health experts warn about indoor air pollution hazards, that the indoor pollutants are higher than outdoor environment. According to ‘Dr Vivek Nangia’, (the HOD &director of pulmonology, Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, New Delhi) stated that “Air pollution is an invisible killer.” Similarly, the survey done by the ‘United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’ says that American spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, where the concentration of indoor pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoors. Owing to the pollution from paints, varnish, mosquito sprays, adhesives, air fresheners, and heavy upholstery. Therefore, essentially, we need to take more care of air pollution at home.
How are We Trying to Improve?
Now that when people have realized their mistake, they are keen on bringing good changes in their lifestyle. Once again, people are focusing their attention on improving their lifestyle by removing unwanted carpets, cleaning carpets at regular intervals and planting plants.
According to India Green Building Council (IGBC) – Green Interiors Rating System standards for individual use states that ‘Encourage usage of indoor plants to enhance indoor air quality, thereby improving the health and wellbeing of occupants’ (Indoor Environment – IE Credit 6). which explain that plants are extremely beneficial for human existence and human survival because they exhale oxygen, oxygen – the most essential aspect of human life.
Due to the general awareness regarding environment, a majority of people these days have transformed their balcony into a balcony garden. The living room and entire interior space of the house is being utilized wisely by planting indoor plants. Terrace gardening is being profusely used by the building management to plant greens to save life and planet. Greenery is a treat to our eyes and it absorbs the pollution in the form of carbon dioxide that exists in the atmosphere. Plants are considered pious in our Indian tradition and culture as it emits positive energy…Yet, we have a long way to go! More people should come forward and increase green spaces on our planet.
10 Best Air Quality Plants that Improves Air Quality of Home
Our concern towards our planet Earth inspires us for this article. In this article we shall discuss in detail about the 10 plants which can help improve the air quality and say goodbye to the crucial air pollution.
It is necessary to mention here that all the plants discussed in this article under are indoor plants which can be planted inside the house, on window sills or in balconies. These plants particularly being indoor plants, most of them can survive without sunlight whereas there are few which require partial sunlight as mentioned below in the details of each plant.
You are the best person to choose the places of your choice and add aesthetic sense to plant these evergreen plants. These indoor plants grow throughout the year. Maintaining these plants is a trouble-free task, hence it is easy for people who have green thumb and also for those who have less knowledge and understanding regarding planting plants.
The first thing you need to do is, buy beautiful pots of your choice and place them at the places of your choice. These days, markets are flooded with mud, cement, terracotta, porcelain, ceramic, brass pots in abundance. You can choose the pots of your choice, taking into consideration the desired height and also your budget.
01. Snake Plant
Snake plant is advisable to keep indoors. It is a hardy indoor plant you can grow just about anywhere. Whereas most other plants release carbon dioxide at night, snake plant continues to produce oxygen even at night. Hence, it is considered to be an ideal bed room plant. It helps to curb air pollutants by filtering the air of formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene present indoors. It is good for health as per NASA research.
Snake plant is a green coloured plant with sword-shaped wide fleshy leaves tipped with a yellow hue. It does not require much caring. These plants can be neglected for weeks at a time; yet, they look fresh. It should not be watered regularly because it is succulent in nature and does not absorb much water. Essentially you have to keep the soil moist and it is perfectly fine if you water it every alternate day or whenever you find the soil dry.
Snake Plants are often known as Mother-in-law’s-tongue and they are easily available in any nearby nursery. It is a decorative plant and can be placed both indoors and outdoors; but as we are particularly discussing about air purifying plants for our home, snake plant air purifier works for both indoors as well as outdoors and fetches the benefit of both. It is propagated by its roots. It grows up to a maximum height of 70cm and can be pruned and located as per your requirement. You can decorate this plant in your bedroom, living room or bathroom.
02. Areca Palm Plant
Areca Palm is well known by the name Golden Cane Palm. This is one of the most widely used indoor plants for interiors. It is also known as a living room plant. The leaves of this plant are green throughout the year. It is an air purifying plant and lives for decades. It releases oxygen throughout 24 hours and absorbs carbon dioxide. It is best for health, especially for patients with respiratory problems.
You can plant it in a big size pot as it has a tremendous growth and can grow up to a height of 6 – 7 feet. They can be well maintained by regular trimming. The soil should be aerated. The key factor for its proper growth is the right amount of light. Thus, see to it that it receives sunlight for few hours regularly, else keep it outside for a couple of days every two months. This will ensure its healthy growth. It is propagated by seeds and by roots.
03. Aloe Vera Plant
Aloe Vera is a medicinal herbal plant. It is one of the oldest plants known to provide many amazing benefits for skin, health, weight loss. It consists of gel which contains most of the bioactive compounds. It can be used raw for burns, skin and hair care. It is a plant of the succulent group with broad thick green leaves pointed at the tip. You can plant aloe vera on a kitchen window sill where it can see sunlight.
Aloe Vera is one of the best air purifying plant and it wards off harmful chemicals of detergent, varnish, and paint. Aloe Vera contains various powerful antioxidant compounds. Some of these compounds can help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. It is also widely used in oils, cosmetics and Ayurveda medicine. Aloe Vera is easy to plant and it grows generously, up to maximum 3 feet height. It gives out oxygen at night, thus good for home dwellers. You can grow multiple pots from one single pot.
04. Money Plant
Money Plant is the best plant to grow indoor as well as outdoor. It grows both in soil and water. Its flexibility and adaptability thus marks it amongst most popular plant. You can grow it anywhere. You can plant it in pot or in bottle, as you wish! Many people use decorative coloured bottles to plant the money plant. It is people’s favourite plant because it is believed that it brings prosperity, thus, people generously plant it in their homes and offices.
Money plant survives in different weather and environmental conditions and is a good air purifier. It absorbs the harmful chemicals and gases that are emitted by different cleaning solutions, detergents, paints, etc. and emits oxygen even in the absence of sunlight.
Money plant is low maintenance and ornamental plant. It has heart-shaped leaves that are green in colour with a tinge of gold. It is a climber and it spreads out fast. It is said that just like its name and the look of its leaves, the money plant contributes in increasing the finances of the house. Anyway, whether it is responsible for improving finances cannot be proven scientifically, it is a matter of faith. But it is certain that it is best for health prosperity being one of the plants to combat indoor air pollutants. In indoor conditions, it spreads and grows up to the height of 3 to 6 feet.
05. Spider Plant
Spider Plant is safe for you and your pets. It is a non-toxic plant and it is one of the best indoor plants. Spider plants are known for their air-purifying ability, though a large amount of plants is required to truly reap the benefits. They are easy to grow and propagate. Spider plant does not like to be too dry or too wet. Spider plant do not appreciate direct sunlight. Thus, keep plants in bright to moderate indirect sunlight. Apart from providing proper water and sunlight, no extra care is required.
You can have multiple pots by single pot just by planting the tiny spiderettes that grows in the plants. The spider plant acts as an air purifier that absorbs the available toxins from the environment. It has green leaves with a white ridge and it is green throughout the year. The maximum growth of the plant in height is 60cms. You can prune them up to desired height.
06. Rubber Plant
Rubber Plant is one of the best indoor plants. It spices up the corners with maroon big glossy leaves. It is easy to care houseplant. When it comes to rubber plant care, like any other plant the correct balance of water and light is crucial. You can control the amount of light and water it gets, which is important because they shouldn’t have too much of either. As the plant gets older, the absorption of air pollutants is high and purifies the air at a great stretch.
Rubber plant absorb exhaled carbon dioxide and convert it into breathable oxygen. They thrive well in shaded corners. It grows up to 100 feet in soil but in pot, you can prune them at the height of 6-7 feet which you find okay for your in-house location.
07. English Ivy Plant
English Ivy plant is an evergreen climbing ornamental vine which is safe for indoors. English Ivy plant is a versatile houseplant that can be grown in different conditions. It is greyish green in colour and looks beautiful. It purifies the air by its high absorption of air pollutants and molds and fungi.
Due to its beautiful look, it is also used as a decorative plant to flaunt on windows and grills, providing dual benefits to the grower. It is propagated by rooting stem or tip cuttings and it prefers water in moderation for survival. In pots, it can grow up to 8 feet and it spreads horizontally and it can be used to cover ugly parts of interior. It is poisonous for pets and children and it is advisable to keep them away from English Ivy plant.
08. Tulsi Plant
Tulsi Plant is an herb that has a lot of importance in Indian culture and tradition and is considered to be a very sacred plant for Hindus, especially. It has a spiritual significance! Undoubtedly one of the favourite herbs of Ayurveda because of its medicinal value, it is profusely used in the curing some types of allergies, cough, and respiratory problems. Tulsi decoction is advised in cold. It is found mostly in Hindus home and you can even plant it in your balcony garden.
Tulsi plant helps in purifying the air of your home thereby improving the air quality. It even keeps insects and mosquitoes at bay. It can grow up to a height of 4 feet. It propagates easily through its seeds. It absorbs water hence it should be watered daily. It releases oxygen at night so it is good for indoors. It has a sweet and unique fragrance that keeps the surrounding soothing.
09. Chinese Evergreen Plant
Chinese Evergreen plant is evergreen as its name. It is easy to maintain Chinese Evergreen plant. It grows in low lit and humid places too. It tends to tolerate low light conditions very well. This variety of indoor plant is usually used as table top plants. However, the larger varieties are low, wide floor plants with a rounded form.
Chinese evergreen plant is one of the durable indoor plants and it grows up to the height of 1 to 3 feet. It is a perfect air cleanser and fights against the harmful gases emitted by chemicals and cleaning materials.
10. Peace Lily Plant
Peace lily plant is also known as Cobra Plant. It is an elegant plant with low maintenance. It has pointed dark green oval leaves and is a sturdy plant with white flower flowers in them. It grows up to a maximum height of 4 feet. It is an air purifier and grows easily in indoors. Peace lily gives you a peaceful indoor environment by fighting against the air impurities.
Research conducted by ‘Dr B.C. Wolverton’ (an American scientist) well-known for being the principal investigator of NASA Clean Air Study where the plants were tested in order to find out their ability to purify air. He said that Peace Lily is one of the top indoor plants for cleaning air. This tropical plant breaks down and neutralizes toxic gases like benzene, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide.
The air purifier plants that have been mentioned here are approved from NASA research and they reiterate to plant them to have better air quality and best life quality. All these plants are perennial so you don’t have to worry about changing or replacing them in different seasons. Prune them timely; feed them with organic manure at regular intervals.
Though it might be beyond our realization, but majority of people spend the bulk of their time indoors, be it home or office or any work place. Hence, it is very important to ensure that wherever we are, the air we breathe in has to be of good quality; good enough to keep us healthy! In the year 1989, NASA conducted a Clean Air Study with an effort to find the most effective common indoor plants for filtering harmful toxins and pollutants from the air. And, their results have stood by time! We hope, the above given information proves of great help to you in selecting the best indoor plants for your homes and work places.
Thus, start maintaining an indoor garden. This will not only inculcate an enjoyable hobby within you but will save the environment to a certain extent.
Start decorating your homes with these plants and stay healthy! They say, Good health is equivalent to wealth!
Illa verma – Ila Varma is a freelancer blogger with a vast experience in content writing, branding, fictional stories and poetry. She has collaborated with various brands as a content creator and is a certified content writer.
Coming from a small town, she has carved a niche of her own. Apart from writing, she is involved with an NGO Bhojan Bank, which provides one-time free meal to homeless people. She enjoys listening to music and is an avid traveller.
Prior to her writing career, she has worked with India Infoline, Kotak Sec. and ShareKhan.