Green is associated with healing, with life, with tranquility and it certainly is the pervasive color in our natural world.  No wonder one of America’s founding father’s, George Washington, chose it as his favorite color!

 

 

Eating your greens is an important practice for good health but did you know those “greens” in some very common houseplants can do some pretty magical stuff besides adding to your decor scheme? A NASA study says so. The study finds that there are many varieties that are especially good at purifying our indoor air. Frequent exposure to indoor air pollutants can increase our allergen load and exposure to toxicity. Not good.

 

WHAT CAUSES INDOOR AIR POLLUTION?

It is hard to believe that inside our homes, the air could be considered polluted. We typically assume that to be within the city limits of some of the smoggiest cities, but, it’s true. It can happen in our very own homes. Here is how it happens:

  • Many products that we use every day and materials we use to furnish our homes can contribute in a negative way to the air we breathe inside our homes.
  • Both formaldehyde and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) are found in them. PCB, banned from production in the U.S. in 1970, persists in such things as sealants, paints and wood floor finishes.
  • Asbestos, another source of indoor air pollution that has been banned, also still lingers in older homes, insulation materials, textured paints, and floor tiles.
  • Formaldehyde is widely used in the building industry for materials and most commonly found in pressed wood products that are used for things like subflooring, shelving, cabinets and furniture, but it is also common in permanent-press fabrics, adhesives and paints.

 

TWO COMMON PLANTS TO CLEAN INDOOR AIR

Yes, it all sounds rather ominous, but we can relax a bit as nature has provided a way to help clear the air. Two plants especially good at filtering these common indoor air pollutants and that are also especially easy to find are the Aloe Vera plant and English Ivy. Pick one or two (or three) up in your area and give them a home. Here’s some information on each and just how to keep them happy and thriving:

1.  Aloe Vera

Clean the Indoor Air Your Breathe In One Easy Step: Houseplants that Help (via TheHealthMinded.com) #health

The clear gel of the aloe plant has a number of healing properties you may be familiar with.  Tearing off a leaf of the plants and simply cracking it open to expose the clear gel can sooth sunburns and other burns and cuts.  Although I have never tried this, some drink the gel to help with digestive issues and to help detoxify the body.

But, here’s the really neat part: just sitting there in your home, it can help monitor the air quality as well. The plant can help clear the air of pollutants found in chemical cleaning products.  And, it get’s better: when the amount of harmful chemicals in the air becomes excessive, the plants’ leaves will display brown spots. Nature’s own alarm of sorts.

HOW TO GROW ONE

Here are some tips on growing the Aloe Vera plant and keeping it healthy:

  • Place your Aloe Vera plant near a window that gets lots of sun.
  • Aloe Vera is a succulent and therefore stores a large quantity of water within its leaves and root system. During the winter months, the plant will become somewhat dormant and require very little moisture. Thus, watering during this period should be minimal. Allow the soil to become completely dry before giving the plant a cup or two of water.
  • During the summer months, the soil should be completely soaked, but then be allowed to dry again before re-watering.
  • Aloes have a shallow, spreading root system.  If you need to repot the plant, choose a wide planter, rather than a deep one and one with a drainage hole, or provide a 1-2 inch layer of gravel in the bottom of the pot to ensure adequate drainage. Use a good commercial potting mix with extra perlite, granite grit, or coarse sand added. You may also use a packaged ‘cacti mix’ soil.
  • Fertilize yearly, in the spring with half strength, bloom type fertilizer (10-40-10).
  • Aloe Vera plants are propagated by removing the offsets which are produced around the base of mature plants when they are a couple inches tall (or larger). They can also be grown from seed.

2.  English Ivy

Clean the Indoor Air Your Breathe In One Easy Step: Houseplants that Help (via TheHealthMinded.com) #health

NASA scientists listed the English Ivy plant as the number one best air-filtering houseplant.  It is great at absorbing formaldehyde in your home.  English Ivy is a great plant for your office space as well as it is also good at absorbing benzene, a toxin emitted by some paper products and office equipment and one that can break concentration by disrupting the central nervous system.

HOW TO GROW ONE

English Ivy is easy to grow, but here are some tips on growing this plant and keeping it healthy:

  • English Ivy does best in bright, but not direct sunlight.
  • This plant prefers moist, humid conditions, but not soaking. Don’t let soil dry out and keep evenly moist.
  • Ivy prefers cooler nights, often below 60ΒΊF. During hot summer days, mist frequently.
  • Keep the soil loose and well-drained.
  • During the growing season, feed with controlled-release fertilizer or biweekly with weak liquid fertilizer.

 

MORE AIR FILTERING PLANTS

If these two plants aren’t your thing though, English Ivy and Aloe Vera have good company.  There are many other plants that can help detoxify your indoor air environment, too.  Some of the others are as follows:

  • Boston Fern
  • Spider Plant
  • Peace Lilly
  • Dwarf Date Palm
  • Kimberly Queen Fern
All of these plants are easily found as well and perhaps even at your local grocery store.

Check out this helpful chart with results from the NASA study for a complete list of air filtering plants and what specific pollutants they are best at clearing out.

So, do you have houseplants at your house? If not, would you consider adding a few after reading this?

 

FOR EVEN MORE ON THE TOPIC . . .

  • Plants can detox your environment. But, try these little habits to detox yourself, too.
  • If you like the color green like me and George, try to eat greens every day . . .  or almost. Here are 6 to try and lots of ways to make them taste great, too!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/arijitalbum/4336278181/”>arijitg</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/klm_digital_snaps/557371944/”>klmontgomery</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

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COMMENTS

I love aloe Vera plants… they have such great healing products. .. I didn't know about English ivy.. I really like those plants too. It's great they have purification properties xox β™‘

I'm all over this list. I have no plants in my house, and since I'm looking to redecorate and clear the air, these are perfect! I promise, this is my last share for the day. Pinning, stumbling and tweeting. <3

Such an easy thing to do – buy a low maintenance plant and clean your air and it looks nice! I love all your sharing and commenting. That is what makes blogging so fun – hearing from others. Please do not stop adding in!

I enjoyed reading about the plants that will clean the air indoors. I knew about the aloe plant and burns but got a good education on the other plants. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

Cheers,
Kathy Shea Mormino
The Chicken Chick
http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

This is fascinating, Lori. I almost don't want to know what indoor pollutants I'm surrounded by (scary) but it's great that there's a simple solution like this. So interesting to know exactly which plants are best to have around!

It is amazing to me Mother Nature has provided a tool to help correct a possibly bad situation! Thanks for coming by Helen!

I love my indoor plants- it makes me feel healthier just looking at them! I have TONS of aloe growing outside- it grows like wildfire! I will dig a little up and bring inside- thanks for the tip!

Yes, you touched upon how they make you feel, too. They can really add a lot to a space. Thanks for making that point!

These are very good tips! I don't know if I can have a plant just hanging around my house since my kitten is obnoxious and will probably try to get to it any chance he gets, especially when we're not in the home! Have a great one and take care -Iva

That is a consideration, for sure! I can only suggest to put it somewhere your cat can not get to, but they have a way of leaping just about everywhere! Thanks so much for stopping by.

Ya know, I never thought about plants to clean the air. As a runner who struggles with asthma, I am definitely going to look into some of these plants and hope my black-thumb doesn't kill them.

Glad Jill Conyers' #FitnessFriday linkup led me back here.

Ha! Good luck and review those growing tips. The two I featured are really easy to grow and pretty forgiving! So glad you took the time to comment.

These are excellent tips and plants brighten the room too. I simply love it. #wowlinkup

Thanks so much! Happy you found the information useful.

This is awesome! I was given an aloe vera plant but it hasn't been growing much. I keep it at work! I'd love to have more plants in my home that will help filter the air! #wowlinkup

It really is such an easy tool and an inexpensive one as well. Hope the growing tips help you with your aloe. You spend a lot of time at work so it is great to have them there as well.

That was a really interesting read! I like aloe but haven't had it in the house for a while. #wowlinkup

Maybe next time you see one, give it a home! You won't be sorry. So glad you cam by.

looks like i'll be getting an aloe vera plant!

Good for you! I am glad I could help!

Just a note, English Ivy IS toxic to cats (double checked on ASPCA.org), so if you have curious kitties, I have 4, it's probably not the best idea. I do however use Aloe Vera all the time and it's listed as toxic, but all of mine have chewed on it at one point with no ill effects. Some are more toxic than others, so I try to avoid any plant on the list unless I can hang it out of their reach. Just some food for thought for those pet parents out there πŸ™‚

That is an excellent point, Shauna. We must watch our for our curious pets. I have dogs and they never seem attracted to plants but I know many that could be. Thanks so much for adding this in.

I'm actually in the process of buying air cleansing plants for my living room! Great post! <3 – http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Great timing then, Gingi. Hope you find some pretty ones and air cleaning ones as well!

A fantastic post!! I found you on the"Good Tips Tuesday" blog hop.
Thanks
Angie
http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/

Glad you found me and thanks for the kind words!

I am reading this post at the perfect time, as we are looking for a new plant for our living room. Thanks for sharing!

Great, Dannii! Hope you can find an air-filtering one! Good luck!