Apartment and Office Plants That Improve Air Quality
When you put together the hours you spend on the job and at home in the evening, it’s likely that you spend the majority of your time indoors. Unfortunately, the level of airborne pollution indoors (from the chemicals in paint, furniture, and cleaning products) can rival the toxicity of a busy city street. There’s an easy (and beautiful!) way to improve the quality of the air in your office or apartment—houseplants. These living air purifiers can absorb carbon dioxide; filter out pollutants like benzene, ammonia, and formaldehyde; and boost oxygen levels. Here are some examples of plants you can use to bring a breath of fresh air to your indoor spaces:
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – This easy-to-grow houseplant is a great place to start, because it is both adaptable and hardy. Spider plants like bright, indirect light, well-drained soil, and regular watering. The flowers on mature plants develop into “spiderettes” that can be potted to start new plants.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) – Boston ferns are easy to grow if you give them what they like—high humidity and indirect light. Keep their soil moist, and if you see their fronds turning yellow, boost the humidity by misting it daily or running a humidifier.
English Ivy (Hedera helix) – While English ivy can be an invasive nuisance as an outdoor plant, it makes a great potted plant. It can be grown as a hanging plant, letting its beautiful trailing vines trail downward, or be trained upward on a stake or trellis. It likes bright light, and thrives under fluorescent light. Keep the soil moist and avoid placing it in direct blasts of hot or cold air.
Snake plant (Sansevieria) – These hardy houseplants tolerate a wide range of conditions and a fair amount of neglect. Their upright, sword-shaped leaves look great in contemporary décor. They prefer bright indirect light, but will also grow in low light, and should be allowed to dry out a bit between waterings. It grows slowly, so you don’t need to worry about pruning it.
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) – These easy-to-care for houseplants are available in a wide variety of hybrids and cultivars that display varying patterns of white, cream, or silver on the leaves. They prefer low light, moist soil, and normal room temperatures (65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit).
This list is a just a start; many plants can promote healthy indoor air. Whether you’re a gardening pro or a beginner, you’re sure to find some that will work for you. (Be sure to check for toxicity if you have allergies and/or pets who like to snack on plants.) Add a little bit of nature inside and breathe easier—literally!
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