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Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Best Houseplants For Healthier Indoor Air

The source of most indoor pollutants are volitile organic compounds (VOCs) that "gas out" from indoor paints, varnishes, adhesives, furniture, dry cleaned clothing, cleansers, detergents, disinfectants, spot removers and air freshners. Now, not all VOCs are bad. The frangrance of flowers and a fresh baked apple pie are VOCs. But many are bad for your health.

They can cause  asthma, headaches, fatigue, eye irritation, skin rashes and more. Some like benzene, are known carcinigens. But the good news is that houseplants can remove  VOCs from the air. The pollutants are absorbed through mircroscopic openings in the leaves. The best house plants for removing VOCs from the air are:

Purple Waffle ( Hemigraphis aternata ) English Ivy ( Hedera helix )  Wax plant ( Hoya carnosa) Asparagus fern ( Asparagus densiflorus ) Purple heart plant ( Tradescantia pallida ) Boston fern (Nphrolepus exaltata Bostoniensis ) Bamboo plant ( Chamaedorea seifrizzzii ) Rubber plant ( Ficus robusta ) Gerbera daisy ( Gerbera jamesonii ) and Golden pothos ( Epipremnum aureum ).

For maximum indoor air quality improvment, you should experimemnt with multiple species as needed. The exact number is difficult to determine depending on your indoor air quality. Also, keep in mind that plants grown without dirt, usually in pebbles or another open aggregate , are  30 to 50% more effective in removing VOCs than those grown in potting soil. This is due to the greater air flow through pebbles to the plant zone where microbes break down the VOCs.

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