Latest news on plants and indoor air
Latrest news on houseplants' ability to clear indoor air.
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Some species of houseplants are better at removing one compound than others, but five plants demonstrated superior removal efficiency.Skip to next paragraph
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In my experience, asparagus fern is the easiest to grow on that list. Wax plant is probably more suitable for experienced indoor gardeners. English ivy is easy to grow, but highly subject to spider mites indoors unless it's provided with high humidity.
Seven plants were judged to have intermediate removal efficiency -- weeping fig, Polyscias fruticosa (ming aralia), Fittonia argyroneura, snake plant, Guzmania, Anthurium andreanum (a popular Valentine's plant), and Schefflera elegantissima (false aralia).
Other plants were poor at removing VOCs from the air. That list includes such popular plants as peperomia, peace lily, philodendron, and prayer plant.
What does all this mean to you? Well, it's difficult for laymen to know what VOCs might be in their air, Dr. Kays points out (and the removal efficiency of each plant for the five compounds hasn't been released yet).
But he recommends that all homes include indoor plants, preferably starting those listed above. (The study suggests one plant per 100 square feet.)
What's next in this ongoing research? Ugly plants,says Dr. Kays.
He's not joking. So far the researchers have concentrated on attractive plants, ones that look good and are relatively easy to grow in homes.
But what if some odd plant that hasn't ever been considered for indoor growing might be a whiz at cleaning the air? It's certainly a possibility. so they're looking at additional species.
Since this all started with NASA looking for ways to remove chemicals from the air of spacecraft, it would be only fitting for some weird Edward Gorey-style plant to turn out to be the big winner.
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