The 10 Best Indoor Plants To Purify Your Home's Air
A bookshelf, a bar cart, and, maybe most importantly, indoor plants can elevate your home to the next level and prove you're a true grownup. But, let's face it, most folks aren't plant gurus and don't know where to begin (admitting it is the first step). "A lot of people rush right into plant parenting. Stephanie Horton, a professional "plant lady," says, "We just go to our local big box stores and buy whatever looks lovely."
She proposes doing the opposite now that she's been there and bought that: "First, assess your available area. Examine which regions would benefit from extra green." Consider your climate after you've discovered the areas that can support plant life. Do you live in a tropical or seasonal climate with any hot zones in your home? The main question: How much light does your home get via its windows? The answers will assist you in determining which plants will grow in your environment. "If you're looking for a plant to put on a windowsill that gets strong direct sun all day," says Erin Marino, director of brand marketing at The Sill, "select one that thrives in those dry and sunny circumstances, such an echeveria or haworthia (two popular species of succulents)."
Keep in mind that "while many plants are promoted as 'indoor plants,' all plants are native to being outside in some way," according to Horton. You should consider not only how much light your home receives throughout the day, but also which way your windows face. "For people in the United States, south-facing windows will provide the brightest, most steady light throughout the day," she says. "That's where you'll find the majority of your indoor plants."
Don't panic if your windows face the wrong way–not it's the end of the world for your plants. You can not only choose plants that thrive in low light, but you can also use fertilizer and grow lights to compensate for the lack of light. Horton adds, "It's all a big game of trial and error." "It's fine if you stumble a little in the first couple of months or so."
If you don't live in an area where boutique plant stores with professionals can help you through the process of becoming a new plant parent, Horton recommends purchasing from small businesses online, such as The Sill, Tennessee Tropicals, Plant Proper, Botanica, and others.
Do you need even another reason to start growing? Having a plant does more than make you feel like you've figured out how to be an adult. Interacting with indoor plants can alleviate both physiological and psychological stress, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology. Horton has already reaped the benefits. "I can attest to the fact that introducing plants into your life has a great impact on your mental health," she says. "Plants have saved me in a way because they allow me to calm my anxieties and redirect my energy into something more beneficial." Furthermore, including some green into your home helps to purify the air by filtering out common contaminants (more on that in a sec).
Add these 10 greatest indoor plants to your home right away to begin reaping the health benefits.
1. Laurentii Snake Plant
Don't be fooled by the name (or, more likely, scared by it). The snake plant derives its name from its thin, erect leaves with "irregular green striping" that resemble—you guessed it—snakeskin, according to Marino.
Aside from looking fantastic, it's a low-maintenance plant that can withstand droughts, making it ideal for beginners in practically any area. "Although the snake plant prefers bright light, it can still thrive in low light," she adds.
Snake plants have also been proved to filter out harmful pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene, thus having one in your house is safe.
2. Dracaena Gold Star
You need a "easy going, low-maintenance plant, like the Dracaena," says Juliette Vassilkioti, co-founder and president of My City Plants, if you live a high-maintenance life—always on the move, out at all hours. She says the Dracaena is fantastic since it can readily adapt to diverse light settings, albeit it should be kept out of direct sunlight.
"Draacena Lisa is the toughest of the bunch," she explains. "It's better than others in dealing with fluctuations in indoor temperature and season." The Dracaena Marginata Plant, on the other hand, is your greatest chance for cleansing the air. Benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene are all removed.
3. Rubber Tree
Get a rubber tree if you have a habit of forgetting about your plants or are new to the whole "plant parent" lifestyle. They're "tolerant to some degree of neglect" (phew!) and "take under-watering better than over-watering," according to Vassilkioti.
Is this the kind of plant you're looking for? To be happy, thrive, and eliminate carbon dioxide from your home, a rubber tree requires bright light (though it may tolerate some partial sunshine) and plenty of space.
4. Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis)
"This plant is not only easy to care for, but it's also a healer," Vassilkioti says. "Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects are found in aloe vera juice." You may utilize this plant to not only brighten up your home, but also to cure wounds and treat other skin diseases. Don't worry about keeping your aloe vera plant alive; simply place it in a bright, sunny location.
She continues, "This guy likes to have the dirt very, extremely dry before watering." Even if you don't utilize aloe vera for its medicinal characteristics, you can still benefit from its air-purification properties because formaldehyde is removed.
5. Monstera Deliciosa
These trendy plants are a favorite of Horton's not only because of their eye-catching appearance, but also because "once you get them going, they're easy to nurture." Expect to see a new leaf every week, especially during the warmer months. You may also easily disseminate them (a.k.a. split off a leaf with a node and give it to a friend to grow their own).
The best part? According to The Sill, you only need to water a monstera deliciosa every one to two weeks, letting the soil dry out in between. It's also ideal if your space lacks direct sunlight—all it requires is a bright to medium indirect light source.
6. Pothos Plant
"The pothos, sometimes known as the 'cubicle plant,' is a terrific choice if you have a self-proclaimed 'black thumb," explains Marino. (A 'black thumb,' by the way, is the polar opposite of a 'green thumb.') Even indoors, where conditions are less than optimal due to decreased light and dry air, this plant's trailing tendrils can grow to over 10 feet long (WOW).
This plant is also extremely easy to cultivate, according to Marino, and propagates (i.e., breeds new pothos) in water. You'll need to learn how to grow a Pothos plant, but you can obtain as many as you want for the price of one. Benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene are all filtered by the pothos, just like the snake plant.
Marino and Horton recommend acquiring a ZZ Plant if you live in a low-light setting because they're drought-tolerant and low-maintenance. Under the surface of its surrounding potting mix, the ZZ contains huge potato-like rhizomes (a.k.a. horizontal stems that continuously grow).
Horton notes that these rhizomes are "hearty," storing water to help the plant withstand drought in its natural habitat. Water it once a month throughout the growing season (spring and summer) and once every two months once it falls dormant in the fall, according to her. "If you're someone who travels a lot, it's a terrific plant to have," Horton adds.
8. Spider Plant
According to Marino, plants that give off "immediate jungle sensations," such as the spider plant, are having a significant moment right now. Vassilkioti adds that they're also quite easy to care for. These plants require bright light but not direct sunlight, so they're ideal for a space with lots of windows. Just keep it out of the way of the windowsill.
This plant is very enjoyable to have around since it produces "baby spiders" (spiderettes), which can be easily propagated, according to Vassilkioti. It also works as a powerful air cleaner, eliminating formaldehyde and xylene.
9. Bird's Nest
Because of its bright green, ripple-edged fronds, having a bird's nest fern in your house is an instant conversation starter. This distinctive-looking plant will earn you serious cool points, especially if you display it in a hanging planter, as Marino suggests.
"It would do wonderfully in a bathroom with a shower, as long as there are windows that receive natural light," Marino explains, because the bird's nest fern thrives in medium indirect light and a humid atmosphere.
Ferns have been demonstrated to filter formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene, so keeping one in your bathroom is a good idea. After all, it's at your home that you're most likely to use poisons like harsh cleaners, hairspray, and nail paint remover, which all contain these chemicals.
10. Peace Lily Plant
If you've already succeeded in keeping an indoor plant alive (kudos to you), it's time to add a peace lily to the mix. This one, according to Vassilkioti, requires more attention than other indoor plants. She notes that this entails keeping it moist without overwatering it and placing it in a sunny but shady location.
"Because the blossoms of the peace lily contain pollen, this plant may not be the greatest choice for persons who suffer from allergies," Vassilkioti cautions.
If that isn't an issue for you, she suggests keeping a peace lily in your bedroom because it produces oxygen at night when most other plants do not. This factory eliminates ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene in addition to creating oxygen.