Blooming Clean Air

The outdoor gardening season is coming to an end in many parts of the country, but that doesn't mean we can't take the fun indoors!  Not to mention, houseplants are not just for decorating the home.  Did you know that many houseplants can help to clean the air inside your home or office of benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene?  These three toxins can be found in all types of common household products, including bathmats, plywood, solvents, glues, paints and cleansers.  Benzene can induce drowsiness, headaches and dizziness. Trichloroethylene can cause difficulty in breathing and headaches and may damage internal organs. Formaldehyde can cause allergies, asthma and headaches.  All of these chemicals may cause cancer.   Plant physiologists already knew that plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as part of the photosynthetic process. Now researchers have found many common house plants absorb other toxins as well, literally acting as an air purifier. Houseplants do this by absorbing air pollution through microscopic openings in the plant leaves called stomata. As pollutants move through the plant toward its roots, they are broken down by the natural biological process of the plant.


According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) researchers, you need to use one potted plant per every 100 square feet for the plants to be proactive in cleaning the air in the home.  Although there is a long list of air filtering plants to consider, here are two of my favorite flowering plants that grow well indoors:

 

Gerbera Daisy
Gerbera 1

A smile immediately appears on my face with just a glance of a brilliant gerbera daisy bloom.  As a matter of fact, my nickname is "Daisy" because I have been obsessed with this flower for as long as I can remember.  The blooms are spectacular in bold shades of orange, red, pink, purple and fuchsia, and span 4 to 6 inches in width (I'm smiling over here just writing this).  Gerbera daisies filter out the top three toxins mentioned above–benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.  The plants pack a surprisingly impressive air filtration system for such small body.  With proper care, gerbera daisies potted indoors bloom for up to six months and will thrive two to three years.

 

 

Chrysanthemum

 Mums 1
Although Chrysanthemums are a popular outdoor container and landscape plant choice, they also grow well indoors.  Chrysanthemum (potted mum) is particularly effective in cleansing the air of benzene.  Mums produce flowers in a wide array of colors, including yellow, orange, white, purple and red. Mums just scream "autumn", it is such a treat to have that reminder indoors.  When planted in a pot, mums typically live for several weeks and grow best in bright, indirect sunlight.  The potted plants enjoy moist, well-drained soil.  This beauty stares at me all day in my office, I just love it.

 

Here's to growing clean air and smiles!

 

 

Learn more about Stacy Walters, RKT at www.fittogarden.com

 

More articles by Stacy

 

 

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Toxic Clean-Up: Houseplants Help Reduce Indoor Air Toxins like Benzene and Formaldehyde
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