Today’s news reports are filled with discussion on the EPA’s Clean Air Act and how it affects the nation. On a much smaller scale, there is something every homeowner can do to improve the air quality within his or her home. Adorning the home with plants not only adds beauty to the décor but it reduces indoor pollution as well.
It was through NASA’s research of various methods of cleansing the atmosphere in future space stations that they discovered that many common houseplants and blooming potted plants help fight pollution indoors. They were able to remove significant amounts of harmful gases out of the air through the everyday processes of photosynthesis. It was determined that some pollutants are also absorbed and rendered harmless in the soil.
As most people are already aware, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as part of the photosynthetic process. Researchers have found many common houseplants absorb benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, as well. (Brown, 1999)
Now that the technical processes have been explained, here are three types of plants that are both ecologically efficient and attractive.
- Dracaena Marginata or “Red-edged Dracaena” is a durable and very versatile plant. It has a palm-like appearance and will fit in nicely with any décor needing a splash of color. The red to almost purple edges of this plant will liven up any space. It comes in many forms but the “staggered” form offers the most in character for those looking for an interesting focal point.
- Ficus Benjamina or “Weeping Fig” is a very popular plant in many of today’s homes. Its relatively full assortment of waxy green leaves and tall stature make this plant ideal for bringing height into a space. It is also successful in filling barren walls or corners.
- Spathiphyllum `Mauna Loa’ or “Peace Lily” is a highly adaptable plant. It can be placed in either areas of low or bright indirect sunlight. The peace lily’s large “fishbone-like” leaves add interest and texture to any room it occupies. When fully matured, the peace lily will flower and large white spathes will crown this plant. Due to its shorter stature, the peace lily makes a lovely centerpiece for a dining room table or sideboard.
When selecting plants, homeowners should consider choices based not only on appearance but care requirements and whether or not the plants are pet and/or child appropriate. Many of these species, though they may offer much in the way of air purification and beauty; could also be high maintenance and/or poisonous to small children and pets. Homeowner will do well to research and select accordingly.
Brown, Deborah. “Houseplants Can Help Clean Indoor Air.” University of Minnesota Extension. 1999. Web. 15 Apr. 2012. <http://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/ygbriefs/h110indoorair.html>.