Take care of your plants because they take care of you. Did you know that many common house plants can help to clean the air in your house? But if not taken care of properly they can cause problems of their own. Remember no dead or dying plants. They must be healthy and well groomed to give you good feng shui benefits. Choose the right plant to remove hazardous chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, carbon monoxide and ammonia from your surroundings. “Plants suck these chemicals out of the air” said Bill Wolverton PhD, who was the lead researcher in a NASA study in 1989. “We’ve unraveled the mystery of how plants can act as the lungs and kidneys of buildings.”
Indoor pollutants are one of the leading health threats in the US. Sick building syndrome is a serious concern with levels of pollutants reaching up to 100 times that of outdoor air. Super sealed and insulated buildings can trap air and humidity inside causing a build up of toxins both chemical and natural. The result is dangerous vapors and mold. Indoor pollutants can come from furniture varnishes, paint, plywood, carpeting, gas stoves, plasticizers from vinyl, and fibers in upholstery.
So what can you do to help clean up your indoor air? If you work in an office building keep a plant in your cubicle or on your desk. It should be within your personal space and not across the room 10 feet away. At home keep the appropriate plants in your living area, kitchen, bathroom and office. Generally in feng shui we do not want plants in the bedroom. Remember not to over do it. Too many plants and your house begins to act and feel like a jungle. Use plants like everything else in moderation.
Which plants are best for cleaning the air? Here are the top five.
- Areca palm A decorative floor plant particularly good at removing xylene and formaldehyde it works especially well in rooms with carpeting or recently varnished furniture.
- Boston Fern A very decorative hanging plant, the Boston Fern is excellent at removing formaldehyde and to a lesser extent xylene. Once again use it in rooms with new carpet and new furniture.
- English Ivy Here is another hanging plant that you can put to work for you. Its specialty is taking care of benzene found in plastics and inks. It also helps control formaldehyde from carpets and paint.
- Janet Craig Dracaena A floor plant that filters formaldehyde particularly well, use it in newly carpeted rooms or in areas with new furniture. Also takes care of xylene.
- Spider plant This hanging plant is one that everyone is familiar with. A triple threat to carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and xylene, use it near fireplaces, gas stoves, space heaters or anywhere carbon monoxide can accumulate.
Make sure your plants have the correct amount and type of light to keep them happy. Keep them out of drafts and not too close to heat sources. Know how much water your plant needs and don’t over or under water it. Fresh air is important too. A good exchange of fresh air assures that your plant will not create a mold problem. And check your plants periodically for pests. If you find pests, use natural remedies instead of chemical sprays. You don’t want to add to the indoor pollution problem.
And if you have pets be sure they stay away from your plants.
Keep your plants happy and they will generate a healthier environment for you.
(plants shown in same order as list)