Did you know that one of the places humans encounter pollutants that can negatively impact health is indoors, sometimes in their own homes? It’s true. In modern homes where the carpets, finishes, kitchen cabinets, furniture and more are fairly new, the fumes from the chemicals used in their production leach into the air for months, sometimes years after being installed. One way to counter this effect is to add chemical eating plants into the environment.
This process is not as deadly or as difficult as it sounds. Because plants are pretty much the inverse of animals, many thrive on compounds that are poisonous to humans. In addition, naturally many of these plants came out of rainforests so they thrive in low light situations, making them perfect for the indoors.
First on the list is the sturdy Peace Lily. With broad leaves and white blooms, this attractive plant is a year-long favorite. It works best in a big pot that sits on the floor (or a trivet). To maintain the plant, cut out yellowing or dying leaves and blooms with sharp scissors as close to the base of the stem as you can get. Peace lilies thrive when spending summer months in a shady spot in the yard, still in their pots, of course.
Known for the long shoots that produce the kids from which this plant can be propagated, the Spider Plant is one of the most recognizable and easy to grow hanging plants available. This beauty just needs a place to hang, regular watering, and will clean the air without any effort.
ENGLISH IVY, DEVIL’S IVY & PHILODENDRON
Unlike the other plants on the pollutant clean-up team, the three listed are trailing vines and will need room to do that. Otherwise, these plants are massively low maintenance. They need indirect light and water.
An attractive plant that needs a little more attention than the others is the Arrowhead Plant. This is one that works well just in a pot with water but does need raised humidity. Daily spraying with a water bottle or placing the pot on a bed of wet pea gravel will do the trick.
Honestly, other than picking off the dead leaves on a weekly basis, this is one of the easiest plants to maintain. It is drought tolerant. When repotting mine, I’m always conscious of the water pocket in the root system. These plants begin very small but can grow to a tree as floor plant size within a few years. Regular cutting off of the stems at a notch and putting the cutting in the soil of the same pot produces bushiness. This is also a plant that enjoys spending the summer months in the shade.
Indoor air can be cleaned very easily with houseplants. The question is which plant is suitable for an individual’s lifestyle.