Malcolm Rands: Indoor plants to clear the air

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sat, 20 Jun 2020, 1:33PM

Malcolm Rands: Indoor plants to clear the air

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sat, 20 Jun 2020, 1:33PM

Plants that clean your air  
 
Now we are locked up for winter, we are even more exposed to environmental contaminants. Many modern building materials, carpets , even toys can give off formaldehyde and other harmful gases. Cleaning products can also be full of nasty chemicals, that was a major reason for us setting up ecostore. I always recommend leaving windows open, especially when cleaning, but that is possible this time of year. In fact, modern house building and some techniques of insulation can make your house too airtight. If you often get condensation on the inside of your windows that is a sign of a non-breathing house.  
 
Luckily, in the late 80s, NASA began testing house plants to see whether they can do more than remove carbon dioxide and create oxygen. These then can be used on the space stations. They mainly tested for volatile pollutants formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, toluene, ammonia and trichloroethylene. They came up with quite a few, which you can look up.  
 
Some of my favourites based on how easy they are to look after, the number of chemicals removed and just good looks: 
 
Peace Lilly (Spathiphyllum/Mauna Loa) 
Parlour palm (Chamaedorea elegans) - this can stand low light  
Lady palm/bamboo palm (Rhapis excelsa) - can handle low light and may grow up to four metres tall  
Florist chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium) - Come in many colours and mainly found in gardens. They can be grown indoors in strong light.  
 
Then taking out most pollutants are:  
 
Mother in law’s tongue  
Dracaena  
English ivy  
Weeping fig

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