3 Air-Purifying House Plants

Years ago in Vancouver, BC, I stumbled into a mystical-looking floral shop with a jaw-dropping display of plants of all different colors, textures, shapes and sizes. The sheer beauty and creativity of the wall blew me away and being the eager, ambitious young woman that I am I marched straight up to the counter with a hundred questions — the most important was, “how can I do THIS?!”.

The florist was kind enough to educate me on the plants and their benefits and assured me that there was more to them than just how pretty they looked. Since then, I have been a stalwart champion of house plants. This is not to say I am a particularly gifted gardner but I do believe that they are important to keep in your home.

Indoor air pollutants are a sad but true reality. Carcinogens like formaldehyde and benzene are released into the air we breathe from simple objects such as the glues in our furniture, paint, insulation and even the household products we use everyday. Not only are they are toxic to us, but also to our pets and the environment. Remarkably, there are a handful of house plants that significantly reduce the amount of airborne toxins found in our homes — it is so legit that NASA even did a study on the effects of certain plants in 1989 as a part of the Clean Air Study which researched how they could best keep the air clean in space stations, IS THAT NOT SO COOL?!  It is. Go Google it.

So whether you are green-thumbed or not, here are some indoor house plants that pack a serious punch.

English Ivy – English Ivy is intense. It grows aggressively, filters the air like a beast and since it is toxic to humans and animals it’s best to place it out of reach. Even though english ivy needs regular moisture, it’s pretty laid back and can adjust to drier climates (i.e. your house) and only needs 4 hours of direct sunlight a day.

Dracaena – There is a variety of dracaenas that definitely would not do you wrong but if you are going to go for gold do yourself a favor and snag the red-edged Dracaena for big air filtering madness. Dracaena is even more low-key than english ivy, requiring little humidity, watering and maintenance. Give it bright to moderate sunlight and plenty of love.

Peace Lily – Peace Lily is the plant that everybody loves to hate. She’s beautiful, talented and easy to get along with. Seriously.  Another low-maintenance plant, the peace lily requires moderate sunlight (although, it will bloom more with more light and less in low light), occasional watering when the soil gets dry (check once a week) and only needs a little TLC when the wide leaves start to accumulate dust.


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Green living and lifestyle writer. Blogger at The Basic Goods. People person.

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