Indoor Air Quality in Winter

              It is the heart of the winter season here in New England which means that people are staying inside and avoiding the cold snowy weather. So, what does this mean for the indoor air quality? Unfortunately, the answer may be poor air quality, indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health. Stagnant indoor environments allow pollutants, such as formaldehyde, pollen, bacteria, and mold, to build up and stick around in greater amounts than we humans should be breathing in.

                There is an easy and affordable way to combat all those things you could be breathing in, plants. Plants purify the air, NASA even calls them “nature’s life support system”, adding a potted plant to a room has been shown to reduce the amount of pollutants in the air.  Plants absorb some of the particulates from the air while they take in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen through photosynthesis.

                So, what are the best plants to have in your home, that are also easy to grow?

  • NASA found that the Garden Mum was an air-purifying champion, removing ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene. Mums can found at most garden stores and they are pretty easy to grow.
  • Spider plants are among the easiest houseplants to grow, making them a great choice for beginners or forgetful owners. A fan of bright, indirect sunlight, spider plants will send out shoots with flowers that eventually grow into baby spider plants or spiderettes.
  • There are more than 40 different kinds of Dracaena plants, making it easy to find one that’s a perfect fit for your home or office. Pet owners might want to select a different plant, however, as these are toxic to cats and dogs.
  • Though the Ficus is a tree in its native home of southeast Asia, when it grows indoors, it’s a hardy plant that ends up being between two and 10 feet tall. Although this plant has some serious air-cleaning abilities, it can also be taken outside in late spring and brought back indoors when temperatures are warm and well above freezing.
  • Peace lily plants are relatively small compared to many of the plants on this list, but they still pack some major air-cleaning abilities. Just be aware that those flowers (like all flowers) do contribute some pollen and floral scents to the air, so you may want to avoid having a room full of them.

Although houseplants may be intimidating to those with a “black thumb” or fear of commitment, it turns out that many plants are easy to care for—so easy, in fact, you’d have to try pretty hard to kill them.