A plant can liven up any decor. Thriving, lush greens propagate a sense of good health and well-being. Below are among the best natural air purifiers around. Not only do they thrive in our climate, they are great additions to mitigate stress and aid better health.
1. Aloe Vera
Also called the “Miracle plant”. There are good reasons for this. It’s renowned worldwide for having medicinal properties that rejuvenate, soothe and heal the human body.
Aloe is a stemless succulent plant with thick and fleshy leaves with serrated margins. While it grows wild in several tropical climates, it also grows indoor successfully as a potted plant. It is relatively resistant to most insect pests. Which again means you don’t have to spend your time swatting away those pests from leaves and have a ready remedy at hand for those cuts, bruises and skin ailments!
It requires a moderate level of care to ensure it doesn’t shrivel up with too much watering or burn out under too much sunlight.
Light: The plant requires bright, sunny conditions to grow well. It’s best if you place it under south or west facing windows. You may keep it on the window sill during the day and bring it inside afterwards.
Soil: Aloe requires well-drained sandy potting soil to grow well. Experts recommend to use soil which ensure excess water drains out easily. To help this process along, it’s better to use terracotta pots to grow aloe since they are porous.
Water: You need to bear in mind that since Aloe is a succulent plant, it does best under dry conditions. Aloe Vera plants cannot tolerate standing water. Ensure that the pot is completely dry before you re-water.
Tip: If you see the leaves turning brown from the tip, replace the plant to a relatively shady area.
2. Snake Plant
“Mother in law’s Tongue” as it’s commonly referred to, makes for an ideal indoor plant for several reasons. It’s ornamental value adds a dash of beauty to your house.
Snake plant requires minimal care and to top it all, has superior air purification qualities. It removes four out of five toxins and is counted among one of the few plants that also remove carbon dioxide at night.
In other words, it continues to clean the air in your house, even as you catch up on beauty sleep at night.
Snake plants are easy to maintain.
Light: Flourishes both under bright and low sunlight.
Soil: Can survive dry, poor soil conditions
Water: Take care not to over water as their roots are prone to rotting; twice a week should do the trick.
Tip: This self-protective (from pests and allergies) houseplant is mildly toxic to pets.
3. Peace Lily
It is a favored houseplant across the subcontinent because it can comfortably adapt to most temperatures and climate conditions. Apart from being visually attractive, this houseplant cleanses the air by removing pollutants like acetone, benzene and alcohols (exuded by to furniture, electronics and cleaning products). You might best place it in your bathroom to purify the air or in the living room as an ornamental piece.
Peace Lilly plants are easy to grow and care.
Light: Lives best in shade; requires little sunlight. Soil: Best left moist, needs watering if it goes dry. Water: Needs to be Watered only once a week.
Tip: Trim only the dead or brown leaves and stems.
4. Money Plant
The money plant is an evergreen and super easy to grow as it can withstand the sudden changes and extremes of Indian weather, and can grow well in low light too. You may have seen this common houseplant hanging from pots or covering trellises in many homes around you. With attractive green heart-shaped leaves with yellow speckles, this plant can turn any latticed structure into a living wall. This plant can effectively clean the indoor air by absorbing harmful VOCs. The money plant is also considered auspicious and lucky, according to Vastu Shastra, when placed in the southeast part of the house.
Place the plant away from drafts of wind since it can lead to leaf loss. Since it thrives in humidity, you could consider placing it in a bright, steamy bathroom.
Light: Try to avoid direct sunlight, since the leaves can get scorched. Instead go for low light .
Soil: Since root rot sets in easily, ensure that you pick a sandy, peat moss based soil that also allows for good drainage of water.
Water: Whichever kind of environment you live in, you don’t need to water this plant more than once a week
Tip: Look out for yellow or brown leaves which indicate poor soil conditions. Prune once every three months for a lush and healthy output. Spray it with a little liquid nitrate if the plant starts to look dull.
5. Areca palm
Instead of simply adding another piece of furniture to cover that empty corner by the wall, one should go for this exotic looking plant that can grow anywhere between 3 feet- 8 feet in height?
Areca Palm wins hands down as a choice for an indoor plant, because it has has multiple stems emerging from the base, arched green leaves in the shape of a butterfly ( hence also called “butterfly palm”) , functions as a humidifier and what’s more, bears clusters of yellow flowers in summer to brighten up your home. It is also found to eliminate carbon monoxide and formaldehyde due to its continuous gas absorbing property.
Make sure you neither under water or over water it and that there are no bursts of dry air.
Light: Since palms thrive in low- light conditions ,make sure to place the plant under a window or in partial shade.
Soil: You would need to go for a rich, acidic soil that drains well. Mix the soil up with a measure of builder’s sand to avoid the soil from becoming too heavy or clay like.
Water: Ensure that the plant does not sit water as root rot sets in easily. Also ensure that the water is chemical free else the leaves will develop freckle like spots.
Tip: Check for spider mites and mealy bug infections on the stem and foliage regularly. Keep the leaf stems clean and prune the brown tips, if you see any.
6. Lucky bamboo plant
You can find it everywhere; both at homes and at business places, since it is believed to bring happiness and prosperity in it’s wake. The plant grows up to 2-3 feet in height and comes highly recommended by Feng Shui practitioners as well; in Chinese, Lucky Bamboo is known as "Fu Gwey Zhu". "Fu" signifying luck and fortune, "Gwey" drawing power and honor, and "Zhu" denoting Bamboo.
According to Feng Shui, the positive effect of the Lucky Bamboo differs with the number of stalks tied together with each stalk representing different levels of prosperity and gains.
Lucky Bamboo requires a moderate level of care. One of the critical things you would need to bear in mind, is that Lucky bamboo plants need to be placed clean water all the time. Since the plant is susceptible to chemicals ; any traces of chlorine or fluoride in the water will end up affecting the leaves and turning them yellow or brown.
Light: As it cannot grow under direct sunlight, place it by a window for the plant to receive indirect sunlight.
Soil: Use well drained, rich potting soil.
Water: Water should be changed once in every 2 weeks. Also remember, the plant needs to stay moist but not soaking at all times.
Ferns are counted among one of the oldest species of plants on earth, dating back to prehistoric times.
Ferns belong to a group of vascular seeds, that bear neither flowers nor seeds.
With a lush green canopy of leaves, they provide your house with an ornamental value. In addition, they also remove chemical pollutants from the atmosphere and heavy metals especially arsenic, from the soil.
You would need to grow them in plastic pots instead of clay ones as they retain moisture better. Keep the plant away from vents and fans to prevent it from drying out. Add well loosened moss around the base of the plant to hold moisture in the dirt and prune them once in a while as well.
Light: As it flourishes in low light conditions, place the plant under a north or east facing window.
Soil: Needs to be moist and well drained. Pick a soil mix with a high organic content like a good peat moss mix.
Water: Water regularly, but watch for the warning signs; too much watering leaves the fronds yellow; too little and the fronds end up wilting.
8. Chinese Evergreen
Here’s another plant to bring good luck your way! Chinese evergreens are popular houseplants across Asia and for good reason too. Not only do they bring prosperity into the house but these perennial herbs are counted among the most durable houseplants you can ever grow. They tolerate poor light, dry air and drought very well.
In other words, even if you travel around a lot or forget to water the plant or even if you live in not-so-sunny-places, the plant holds no grudges and continues to thrive!
The only demand the plant makes from you is to protect it from extreme cold and excessive sunlight since it can tolerate neither. Also prune any inflorescence immediately to prolong the life of the plant and keep a watch out for pests as well.
Light: Low to medium light.
Soil: Needs to be evenly moist. Add only a small amount of fertilizer as the plants are easily injured when over supplemented.
Water: Since Chinese Evergreens need the soil to be evenly moist, you could opt for moderate watering. Allow the soil to dry out a bit in between the intervals.
9. Green Spider Plant
An indoor plant that is exceptionally easy to care. A plant whose leaves can add a dash of contrast to your home. Spider plants have leaves that look like blades of grass with streaks of different colors either in the center or at the edges. In fact, if this is your first brush with houseplants, this plant would be the ideal choice for you.
Spider plant is extremely easy to care for.
Light: You can grow this plant anywhere except under direct sunlight. In fact, it even grows under artificial lighting!
Soil: Any good potting mix should serve the purpose.
Water: A good thumb of rule is to water this plant regularly only with tepid water throughout the summer months and to ensure the soil is evenly moist. In winters, you could allow the soil to dry out before the next watering.
Croton with its bright yellow, orange, red and even black foliage spruce it up for you. You could always grow the plant in a colorful pot to add to the charm.
Be careful not to over-water the plants plus having a humidifier handy would help.
Light: Place it under an east or west facing window where there’s bright light to let those leaves develop those rich, deep hues.
Soil: Since the plant require rich soil that drains well to thrive, make sure its well fed with organic compost and peat moss.
Water: Water only when the soil feels dry to touch
11. Jade Plant
It is also commonly known as friendship tree, money tree, and lucky plant. It is widely believed to bring good luck to its owners.
Jade plant requires little watering and can grow easily under extreme drought conditions. During winters, it needs to be water monthly. Just keep this plant near windows and forget about it. You may need to water it weekly during summers if kept indoors.
12. Bunny Ear Cactus
These adorable, yet prickly plants are a great indoor addition. Like desert plants, Bunny Ear Cactus is great to adorn dry indoor spaces. They do not require too much maintenance and can be easily taken care of.
They are native of Mexico regions, but have made their way through to different parts of the world. They are also called Polka Dot cactus because of dotted yellow on its green surface.
Light: Requires full sunlight, except during winter months. It’s a great addition to have near your window or door.
Water: During its initial time as a potted plant, it requires to be watered very regularly to strengthen its root system. Once the roots are strong, you can water it occasionally during summers and less in winters.
Temperature: It needs hot to humid climate to thrive. Extremely arid conditions may see it wither away. However, it is best to take care of it all year round, with little to do in winters. Resume proper care spring on wards.
It’s an accepted fact that we live in concrete urban jungles where fresh air and greenery are hard to find. Plus you also need to factor in that our urban homes are gas swamps.
Is it any wonder then, if you have itchy eyes or skin, or seem to suffer from allergy attacks and common colds all the time?
However, if you have given up trying to fix these issues with an outdoor garden patch because you live in an apartment and are short of space , then it’s time for you to think again! Get one of the above indoor plants that help purify indoor air and yet are very easy to maintain and care for.