We live in a ground floor apartment in Brooklyn, New York. We live on a busy road that is a truck route. We have a new baby and have been thinking about indoor air quality. What are the plants that most improve indoor air quality?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Dahlia in New York: Plants are not just for aesthetics anymore; many people use them in their homes and businesses to improve air quality. Studies show that certain plants are beneficial in terms of absorbing and breaking down toxins with no harm to the plant. Indoor air pollution is not something to take lightly since trace amounts of formaldehyde are found in many products around our homes and car exhausts. Living in the city near a truck route, you are likely dealing with more pollutants than the average home. Some plants are more effective than others and lucky for us, the ones that seem to absorb the most pollutants are tolerant of low light and for the most part are considered low-maintenance. The following is a list of houseplants that are good for this purpose: English ivy (Hedera helix), pothos, philodendron (not safe for babies or pets if consumed), sansevieria (commonly known as mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant), spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), dracaena, spathiphyllum (commonly known as peace lily), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema), and ficus are all good options for removing toxins from the air. All of these plants are quite common and you should be able to find them at your local garden center. Even if you are not a plant person bringing them into your home can literally improve your quality of life!