Houseplants Can Improve Your Health
Everyone In Dallas has an HVAC system with air filters. The air filters remove dust, allergens, and chemicals from our air. Some of us even have additional air filters to improve our indoor air quality. But, before you invest in a new air filtration and treatment system, a Dallas Morning News article suggests that you may want to try your local nursery for a low cost option.
10 easy houseplants that will help clear the air in your home
How clean is the air in your home? You may not notice any unpleasant smells, but it’s possible that your indoor air is polluted with harmful chemicals from a variety of products.
New carpets, furniture, plastics, even clothing and electronic equipment may slowly release trace elements into the air that gradually build up, making the air less than healthy, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Fortunately for us, Mother Nature has the perfect solution for eliminating these chemicals: attractive, easy-to-grow houseplants. These inexpensive, natural additions to your indoor environment will help remove harmful pollutants from your home.
This houseplant superpower was discovered during the 1980s when scientists were grappling with “sick building syndrome.“ Moves to improve energy efficiency resulted in buildings designed with windows that could not be opened to the outdoors. While this kept energy costs down by keeping heated or cooled air from escaping, it also kept any chemical pollutants trapped indoors. Buildings became reservoirs of toxic chemicals outgassed from plastics, printing supplies, insulation, and a host of other materials.
The discovery of this problem resulted in the unlikely collaboration in 1989 between NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA). NASA needed a healthy sealed environment in space for its astronauts. The ALCA needed to build structures that wouldn’t sicken their inhabitants.
These two organizations examined a number of possible solutions, including switching to building materials that emitted fewer chemicals and improved air filters. Eventually they hit on the idea that “if man is to move into closed environments … he must take along nature’s life support system.” This led to a study of the cleaning capabilities of houseplants and the organisms in the soil that sustain them.
The researchers chose over a dozen houseplants to study under controlled environments. The study proved conclusively that ordinary houseplants growing in potting soil were effective in naturally cleaning pollutants from the air. Here are of some of the plants tested that you can grow to maintain a healthy indoor atmosphere.
Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) has been a popular indoor plant since Victorian times. These palms grow best near a window with access to natural light. They grow to 4 feet tall, making them ideal as a filler for an empty corner.
For attractive foliage, nothing beats Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum) with its silvery leaves. This houseplant grows to about 2 to 3 feet tall. Keep away from direct contact with cold air to maintain healthy growth.
Aloe vera is an easy-care succulent. It produces 6- to 8-inch leaves that grow in a tight rosette form. Cooks love to have a plant handy in the kitchen because the sap from the leaves provides uick first aid for burns from the stove or oven.
Another succulent that is good for clean air is the snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata). It forms a cluster of strap-like stiff deep green leaves that can grow 2 feet tall. It tends to grow slowly and needs little care beyond regular watering.
The trailing branches of English ivy (Hedera helix) are attractive in home or office. There are many varieties of this ivy with different shapes and colors of leaves. Place where the cascading branches can be spread to maximize their charm.
If you have a spot where a tall houseplant will fit, try growing a ficus tree (Ficus benjamina). This striking potted plant can easily reach 6 feet tall. Unfortunately, it has a well-deserved reputation for losing leaves in response to changes in environment. Ficus trees grow best if kept in one spot and watered faithfully.
Perhaps one of the easiest houseplant to grow is a dragon tree (Dracaena marginata). The long leaves are thinly striped with green, red, and white and fan out from a sturdy central stalk somewhat resembling corn. It can grow 6 feet or more but is easily pruned to a more compact size.
The family of philodendrons provide houseplant lovers a wide range of attractive, fun-to-grow plants. From the lacy-tree philodendron with its deeply cut large green leaves to the bird’s nest philodendron with glossy spade-shaped leaves is a variety of colors, there’s a member of this family that will suit your home or office. They can even be brought outdoors during mild weather to grace the patio.
Those who have never grown houseplants will find a spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) to be a good starter plant. With regular watering and a spot near a window it will produce a fountain of cheerful green and white striped leaves. Healthy specimens will send out long trailing runners with small spider-like shoots that can be clipped and repotted to create more plants.
If you’d like a houseplant that blooms, try growing a peace lily (Spathiphyllum sp.). It is often given as a gift in small pots but it can be grown to cover large areas if given enough root space. The large, glossy dark green leaves spread dramatically and form a backdrop to the white spoon-shaped flowers.
If these plants aren’t doing enough to clean your air, Berkeys Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical can help. When you need a dependable, knowledgeable HVAC service company in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, call a name you trust. Berkeys Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical 24/7, Call us (817) 481-5869 or visit berkeys.com for questions and scheduling information or on Facebook at Facebook.com/Berkeys.
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