Plants are not just decorative, they can also clean and purify the air in our homes, and act as
anti-pollutants. Houseplants can reduce components of indoor air pollution, even volatile
organic compounds such as benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene. Plants also reduce
airborne microbes and increase humidity.
Some indoor plants are more effective than others, so this article is dedicated to these magical
house-cleaning air purifiers for your home and/or or! place. "lso included are illustrations
of each of the miracle plants, as ell as basic plant care.
#esearchers from $"S" and other organizations recommend at least %&-%' good-sized plants
for a house or apartment of %'(( s)uare feet or %*+ s)uare meters.
• %. Spathiphyllum ,Peace -ily.
• /. 0hlorophytum comosum ,Spider Plant.
• 1. 2pipremnum aureum ,3evil4s 5vy.
• 6. Syngonium podophyllum ,"rrohead Plant.
• &. Hedera helix ,2nglish 5vy.
• *. Philodendron ,Heartleaf or 2lephant 2ar Philodendron.
• +. 7erbera 8amesonii ,7erbera 3aisy.
• '. 9icus benjamina ,:eeping 9ig.
• ;. 3racaena marginata ,#ed-edged dracaena.
• %(. 0hrysanthemum ,Pot <um.
1. Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)
Spathiphyllum, also called Peace -ily, acts as a general air cleanser of many environmental
pollutants, and ill even filter contaminants such as benzene, formaldehyde and
trichloroethylene. 5t cleans best at one plant per %(m/.
Plant care: 2asy. =he plant ill even survive being neglected at times. $o direct sunlight to
avoid burns. 5t can also handle a shadier spot. :atering approximately once per ee!, only
hen the soil is dry. =oo much ater, too much heating and too much light can all harm the
Peace -ily.
2. Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plant)
Spider plant is a popular and commonly used house plant. 5t gros from a central rosette and
produces ne shoots, branched stolons ith small hite floers, as ell as baby plantlets.
Plant care: >ery easy, thrives under nearly any conditions. =he plant ill even survive being
neglected at times.
3. Epipremnum aureum (Devils !vy)
2pipremnum aureum, also called 3evils 5vy, or 7olden Pathos, is an excellent air cleansing
plant. 5t is hoever toxic hen consumed, for example by pets, so care should be ta!en in
order to avoid this. 5ts decorative marbled leaves and easy maintenance ma!e it very popular
amongst indoor plants.
Plant care: 7olden Pathos is a hardy plant hich re)uires very little care. Should be atered
only hen the soil feels dry. $o direct sunlight. 5t can stand bright light, but the best results
are achieved ith a medium indirect light.
". Syn#onium podophyllum ($rro%head plant)
Syngonium podophyllum , also called "rrohead plant, or "merican evergreen, is the most
commonly cultivated species of the Syngonium genus. =he plant, hen eaten, is poisonous,
so don4t eat it..
Plant care: $o direct sunlight, allo to dry in beteen aterings. 3aily misting during the
dry inter months, or maintain higher humidity levels in other ays.
&. 'edera heli( (En#lish !vy)
=his robust plant is the ideal companion for pet oners, as it efficiently filters formaldehyde
aerosols and fecal particles from the air. =here are many different species of the 2nglish 5vy,
differing by color, shape, and size. =he plant is also poisonous.
Plant care: Partial shade to bright light, but no direct sunlight. #obust plant hich gros so
ell and easily that is considered a eed in some countries.
). Philodendrons
=he to most efficient !inds of philadendron are the Heartleaf philodendron ,Philodendron
scandens ?oxycardium4. and the 2lephant 2ar Philodendron ,Philodendron domesticum..
Philadendrons are excellent at removing formaldehyde, especially so at higher
concentrations. 5t should also be noted that philadendrons are poisonous.
Plant care: Philodendrons prefer a partial shade and a ell drained soil.
*. +er,era -amesonii (+er,era Daisy)
=he 7erbera is a ell !non decorative plant or cut floer, but its air filtering properties are
less !non. 5t is most suitable for removing benzene ,hich is a ell !non carcinogen. and
trichloroethylene from the air.
Plant care: 5t prefers bright light and a ell drained soil. 7erbera blooms repeatedly, from
mid-spring until fall.
.. /icus ,en0amina (1eepin# /i#)
5n its natural habitat the small fruit of the :eeping 9ig is the food of choice for many birds.
5n any indoor scenario, the 9icus benjamina ill effectively filter indoor air toxins.
Plant care: =he ficus can handle a partial shade, but also really li!es bright sunlight. =he soil
should be ell drained. <oderate atering. =he plant can be sensitive to changing
conditions, so it doesn4t much li!e being moved.
2. Dracaena mar#inata (3ed4ed#ed dracaena)
=he 3racaena marginata removes not only benzene and formaldehyde from the air, but also
xylene and toluene @ther air filtering 3racaenas include :arnec! dracaena ,3racaena
deremensis 4:arnec!ii4., 8anet 0raig dracaena ,3racaena deremensis 48anet 0raig4., 0ornstal!
dracaena ,3racaena fragans 4<assangeana4.
Plant care: 5t really li!es bright light, but under no circumstances direct sunlight. Aetter a
little too little light than a little too much. 5t is similar ith ater. =oo much ater can ma!e
its root decay. 5t ill tolerate irregular atering rhythms and dry soil much better than too
much ater.
15. Chrysanthemum (Pot 6um)
:ell !non as a decorative floer, the 0hrysanthemum is an amazing plant, hich has not
only medicinal purposes but is also very good at filtering a variety of polluting compounds
from the air.
Plant care: $ot as easy as most of the other mentioned air purifiers. 5t li!es a bright, but
indirect sunlight. :atering ith arm ,not too cold. ater. "llo the soil to dry in beteen
aterings. 9ertilizing is needed before the blooming period. 9aded blooms should be
removed to prolong floering. 7ood air circulation is important.
@ther air cleaning plants include 0hristmas cactus, Sansevieria -aurentii ,<other-in--a4s
=ongue., Philodendron selloum ,selloum philodendron., "glaonema modestum ,0hinese
evergreen., 0hamaedorea sefritzii ,bamboo or reed palm., Sansevieria trifasciata ,sna!e
plant., Saintpaulia ,"frican >iolets. and "loe barbabensis ,"loe >era..
Gardens make homes more lively
People are setting up gardens in hatever little space that they on, !noing that being
amidst nature and plants relieves stress. 9ree spaces on the terrace and balconies too are
getting a green cover, since plants soothe the eye and enhance the ambience of homes and
offices. Airds and butterflies are attracted to ell-maintained gardens ith floer-bearing
plants and they ma!e the place lively.
"part from a fondness for plants, one needs to have a fair idea of ho to maintain them.
:hich means, everything must not be left to the gardener.
" ne boo! in <alayalam titled BPoonthottam4 on constructing and maintaining a garden,
ritten by 8acob >arghese Cunthara has been brought out by HD0 Aoo!s. "n associate
professor in Aotany at the Sacred Heart 0ollege, =hevara, he has also authored boo!s on
ornamental plants and orchids. E<any people are see!ing succour in garden and horticultural
therapy, to drive aay stress and diseases. =his gives them a brea! from the monotony of
everyday life too. 7ardens are being set up even in jails, aimed at reforming people charged
ith crimes,F <r. Cunthara says.
7ardens and houses are no longer different entities no, he says.
=hey no merge to bring about a beautiful synergy. <oreover, people plan for a garden even
hen building a house. 5f not for formal garden, they opt for informal gardens based on their
aesthetic taste. =rees too are very much a part of home gardens and cool don the building.
=o put it in short, gardens are a good place for family members to get together and relax.
Autterfly gardens are getting popular. 9loering plants li!e shoefloer, chethi, !ongani,
!oduveli, hite mussaenda, oleander ,arali. etc., attract butterflies.
3ry gardens are apt for people ho are too busy to tend to plants. Plants that do not need
daily atering can be gron here. Aut care must be ta!en to prevent ater stagnating at the
base of plants. 0acti, palms, euphorbia, diefenbac!ia, aglonima, asparagus etc., are ideal for
dry gardens.
Statues and pottery pieces too placed at intervals or! onders and give the garden a better
loo!. 5ndoor plants li!e spathyphyllum, philodendron, scfhlera etc., liven the interiors of
houses. =hey must be put in the sunlight every ee! or so. 9or more details on gardening, e-
mail to ornamentalplantsGjacobHhotmail.com.