Clean Air in Home & Office Spaces
Plants that will help clean the air you breathe.
The more we learn about COVID-19 and other viruses and how easily they spread, the more we understand how important it is to breathe clean air. One of the best ways to achieve this at home or office is with plants. Yep! Mother Nature’s clean-air recycling machines. Plants do not remove viruses or germs from our air, but different varietles do remove various toxins. They not only help clean the air, plants also bring joy with their colors and a calming effect to help connect us to the rhythms of the outdoors. Keep reading for our top 10 recommendations.
For offices or home spaces that are exposed to natural light, there are a variety of windowsill or under a skylight options, like Croton, Amaryllis, Senservieria, Small Cacti, and Kalanchoe. Croton can grow large and known for its foliage. Amaryllis is a perennial, so it blooms year after year if properly cared for and comes in a wide range of colors. Senservieria also known as “mother-in-law’s tongue” or “snake plant” is very easy to care for. Small Cacti are perfect for busy offices or those without green thumbs—mix a variety of small unique succulents in a large bowl along with a Christmas or Thanksgiving Cactus and they will tolerate extreme neglect but produce colorful, unusual flowers. Kalanchoe is also succulent with small blooms in many colors, needs to be watered regularly, and placed in a sunny place.
The plants that do well in offices or home spaces with artificial lighting conditions (no windows) are the Peace Lily, African Violet, Spider Plant, Caladium, and Ivy. The Peace Lily can be grown in clear vases with a Betta Fish feeding on the roots below. This makes a very interesting welcoming visual. African Violets have dark green leaves that last all year round. Spider Plant has spiky light green leaves and looks great in a wall vase so stems cascade down. They can tolerate mild neglect and minimal light. Caladium or “elephant ear” is a native of the tropics and has large rounded leaves and come in shades from white to dark pink and red. Ivy is a common vine, with the hedera helix (English) being the most popular variety for office conditions.
Now if you want some scientifically proven plants that completely remove substances from the air like formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide, we can turn to a Time’s article from 2018, siting a NASA study from the 80s. However, this successful experiment was contained in a small gas chamber, which does not mimick real world application. In fact, even though it's been proven plants help clean air of toxins, the best and most recommended mode is through quality air circulation mechanisms with purifying filters that complete total air exchange regularly. Their top 5 are Bamboo Palm, Rubber Plant, Garden Mums, Dracaena, and the Philodendron. The Bamboo Palm removes the most toxins from the air with the exception of ammonia and are nontoxic to people & pets. Rubber Plant, with the most popular variety being ficus elastica and is native to Hawaii, requires a lot of sun. It only removes formaldehyde from the air. Garden Mums—surprising, huh? can remove all toxins from the air (per NASA’s test). Unfortunately, these pretty pommes are toxic to dogs & cats, so be careful with placement around your fur babies! The Dracaena, or more commonly known as Janet Craig, is a very exotic looking plant. Philodendron, which is used most in the hospitality industry, is very recognizable to most seasoned travelers.
Many clients we work with haven’t considered a budget for plants, but this something that should be included. Just like accessories, not incorporating plants in your design is like forgetting to put on jewelry after dressing up for a night out. Everything looks lovely, but could be so much better with those extra touches. And it’s a natural way to bring a fresh breath of clean air—literally! to your home & work spaces. Contact Epic Smart Homes & Interior Designs to help you discover ways to include unique arrangements in your space. Besides creating a smart home for you, we can also offer help in creating a healthy home.