We all talk about how polluted our cities have become. How automobiles and factories are creating more and more poisonous air, that we are forced to inhale. And knowing how trees are the oxygen generators among us; we constantly talk about planting more jungles and conserving more forests. But most often, we completely forget about the indoor air pollution that stifles our breath every day.
We are constantly surrounded by harmful odours, fumes, smoke and toxic gases in our indoor spaces, and we completely overlook the poisonous air we inhale, every moment. Indoor air pollution and degrading air quality has become a major concern. More and more people are suffering from multiple diseases, with symptoms ranging from burning of eyes, allergies, respiratory issues, headaches, fatigue to neural disorders and cancer. And the more amount of time we spend indoors, more the situation worsens.
Can we do anything about it? Yes, definitely.
There is no point playing the blame game or waiting ideally, expecting the agencies or the government to do something about it. The only thing we can do is have more indoor air purifying plants that can easily filter poisonous gases out of the air and release more oxygen into it.
Also Read : Sustainable Bamboo Products
Why we all need Air Purifying Plants?
We have seen major cities being blanketed by deadly smog and haze. So we easily believe that indoor air pollution is only restricted to metropolitan cities; and small towns and tier two cities are considerably safe.
Well that is not true.
Indoor pollution is caused by organic chemicals present in household items like carpet, furniture, paint, varnish, upholstery, paper products, printers, machines etc. Apart from these, the air is filled with contaminants like moulds, bacteria, dust and fibres. We all have access to these pollutants and impurities. And while we might try and clean as much as we can, some invisible particles will always remain suspended in the air.
One might opt for mechanical air purifiers that will filter out these pollutants and provide you with a cleaner air. Or you could simply opt for a natural, cost effective, attractive alternative. Indoor air purifying plants are a great way to improve your indoor air quality. Air purifying plants absorb harmful toxins and pollutants through their leaves and break them down into simpler components that act as their nutrition. In return, oxygen is released out, providing us with clean breathable air.
Benefits of Indoor Air Purifying Plants
As per NASA Clean Air Study, apart from absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen; certain common indoor plants can naturally remove organic pollutants and clean indoor air significantly. Subsequently, more and more studies have proved that plants are extremely therapeutic and offer numerous benefits.
- Indoor plants effectively reduce stress and fatigue and help with boosting productivity and concentration.
- Plants minimise airborne dust levels and reduce airborne contaminants such as smoke, germs and pesticides. They not just detoxify the air but also avoid allergic reactions like runny nose, breathing issues and eye irritation.
- Certain houseplants remove volatile organic compounds or harmful chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides.
- Indoor plants also improve indoor air quality by getting rid of stale air and increasing natural humidity; thus acting as a natural humidifier.
- Plants act as a buffer when transferring heat or sound. They therefore help in lowering down room temperatures and reducing noise levels.
List of Best Air Purifying Indoor Plants in India
Here is a list of best air purifying indoor plants in India that are easy to grow and adapt in the Indian subcontinent. Some of these plants have been a part of the NASA Clean Air Study, showing great results at absorbing harmful volatile organic compounds such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene.
1. Peace Lily
Peace lily or Spathiphyllum is a beautiful flowering plant that is perfect for home and office spaces. It has long dark green leaves with white, hooded, leaf shaped flowers. Peace lily is a low maintenance plant that can easily add an elegant touch to your interiors.
- Sunlight – Indirect bright sunlight. Peace lily can grow in very low light but doesn’t bloom in such conditions.
- Water – Once or twice per week (only water if the soil is dry)
- Pet Friendly – Mildly toxic to humans, children and animals if ingested.
- Peace lily is one of the best air purifying indoor plant as it can easily remove pollutants and toxins like acetone, ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and toluene; emitted from electronics, furniture and other household items.
- Peace lily absorbs moisture from the air through its leaves and reduces the humidity levels, acting as a natural dehumidifier.
- Peace lily is comparatively smaller in size and is therefore ideal for compact spaces like bedside tables or office desks.
2. Snake Plant
You cannot go wrong with a snake plant. Snake plant or Sansevieria is one of the most low-maintenance, fuss-free plant that can grow in almost any condition. Its snake-like shaded leaves provide it with an elegant aesthetic appeal which makes it one of the most common houseplants of India.
- Sunlight – Indirect and steady, bright to medium sunlight
- Water – Once per week (requires occasional watering; especially in winters)
- Pet Friendly – Mildly toxic to pets. Snake plant can be toxic if consumed and lead to nausea and diarrhoea in pets.
- Snake plant is known for being the best oxygen giving indoor plant in India as it is highly efficient in oxygen production, especially at night-time. Snake plant is amongst the few houseplants that can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen at night. It therefore serves as a great bedroom décor piece.
- Snake plant is amongst the best air purifying plants for its ability to remove pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, trichloroethylene and toluene.
- Snake plants are resilient plants that survive a wide range of light conditions, watering conditions and humidity levels. They thrive in any condition which is why they are amongst the best air purifier plants in India.
Every house will definitely have a Pothos or the money plant. It is extremely easy to propagate and requires negligible care and maintenance. Money plant or Pothos can survive any conditions, which is why it is amongst the best indoor air purifying plants in India.
- Sunlight – Bright indirect light or shaded outdoors. Pothos can also survive in dark areas with minimal light or only fluorescent lighting.
- Water – Once or twice per week (water if the top soil is dry)
- Pet Friendly – Toxic to humans, children and animals if ingested.
- Pothos is a powerful air purifying plant as it effectively absorbs benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, xylene, and toluene; making the air more refreshed.
- Unlike many plants, Pothos produces oxygen during the night as well. It is therefore an ideal bedroom plant.
- Pothos can grow both in soil or water. It can easily grow in a compact space or grow into a sprawling bush or climb onto any wall. It is one of the most versatile plants to decorate with and is therefore abundant in every household.
4. Areca Palm
Areca palm, also known as Yellow palm or Butterfly palm is one of the best indoor plants in India for clean air. It is an extremely attractive indoor air purifying plant that instantly elevates the look and feel of any interior space.
- Sunlight – Bright indirect sunlight
- Water – Twice per week
- Pet Friendly – Non-toxic and safe for children or pets
- Areca palm is a boon for dry weather areas as it acts as a natural humidifier, releasing large amount of moisture in the air.
- Areca palm effectively eliminates benzene, ammonia, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, toluene and xylene, leaving the air clean and fresh.
5. Spider Plant
Laced with extraordinary air purifying qualities, Spider plants are a great hanging plant alternative for your interiors. Spider plant also known as the airplane plant or the spider ivy; can thrive in low light areas with little care and maintenance. It is an extremely adaptive houseplant which is why it is a perfect air purifying plant for homes in India.
- Sunlight – Bright or moderate indirect sunlight (direct sunlight can burn their leaves)
- Water – Twice per week
- Pet Friendly – Non-toxic and safe for children or pets
- Spider plant absorbs harmful toxins and fumes from the indoor air, bringing more oxygen into the home. It also absorbs benzene, carbon monoxide, toluene and other volatile organic compounds but is especially great at removing formaldehyde from the air.
- Spider plant is amongst the best oxygen giving indoor plants in India as it produces oxygen during the night as well and filters more carbon dioxide.
- Spider plants release moisture into the air. It acts as a natural humidifier, thus decreasing the risks of airborne diseases.
6. Rubber Plant
Apart from being a great ornamental plant, Rubber plant is also one of the best air purifier plants for home in India. Rubber tree also known as Ficus elastica is an evergreen tropical plant that requires low maintenance and care and thrives in the Indian climate.
- Sunlight – Bright indirect sunlight (keep it away from direct sunlight)
- Water – Once a week
- Pet Friendly – Mildly toxic for pets
- The large Rubber plant leaves absorb contaminants like carbon monoxide, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from the air, increasing the indoor air quality.
- Apart from producing large amount of oxygen, Rubber plant effectively removes spores, mould and bacteria from the air.
- Rubber plant is also useful in treating skin rashes as it has natural anti-inflammatory properties. It is also anti-allergenic as it doesn’t produce any pollen and is therefore safe for people prone to respiratory allergies.
7. English Ivy
Hedera Helix, most commonly known as the English ivy is an evergreen air purifying plant that can be easily grown into a sprawling groundcover or trail from a hanging planter. Apart from being an air purifying indoor plant, it is also known for its medicinal properties.
- Sunlight – High or medium indirect light
- Water – Once per week
- Pet Friendly – Toxic for humans, kids and pets
- English ivy effectively removes formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene and xylene and also absorbs carbon monoxide from the air.
- English ivy also alleviates asthma symptoms. It reduces airborne moulds and fecal matter particles present in the air that are harmful for people suffering from asthma or mould allergies.
- English ivy contains antioxidants and is known for its anti-allergic and anti-spasmodic properties. It has been found useful in several allergies, pain, swelling and respiratory ailments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, discussing the best air purifying indoor plants in India.
Which plant gives Oxygen 24 hours?
Some of the plants that give oxygen 24 hours are Snake Plant, Areca Palm, Money Plant, Peace Lily, Spider Plant etc.
What are NASA recommended houseplants to improve air quality?
NASA Clean Air Study tested various plants during their initial study. Some of the houseplants that improved air quality as per their research are Peace lily, Bamboo palm, Snake plant, Pothos, Boston fern etc.
Are plants better than air purifiers?
Yes. Plants and air purifier both remove contamination from indoor air and provide with better air quality. However air purifiers are better for people with severe allergies or areas with high pollution level. If you want to remove large quantities of contaminated pollutants and have lesser space to accommodate several plants, then mechanical purifiers is a better option for you.
It is never too late to be a plant parent; especially if you are choking on the air you breathe. Houseplants not just detoxify our indoor environment but also provide a refreshed, revitalised aura to our indoor spaces.
Hope this will help you choose the right houseplant for you.