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Fight Indoor Air Pollution with plants during COVID-19 Lockdown!

Photo by Devon Janse van Rensburg on Unsplash

Many people stay indoors to stop the spread of COVID-19, but forgot about the indoor toxins. It is caused by perfumes, paints, glue, pesticides(cockroach/bug sprays), etc. Indoor toxic air stays at home for a long time because it is unlike outdoors where there is continous air flow to neutralise the toxic air. Indoor air pollution is linked with wide adverse health effects like headaches, flu, respiratory problems, lethargy, eye irritation, memory lapses, skin rashes and dizziness.

Plants can help to fight toxic pollutants present at our homes. They provide fresh oxygen, maintain the room temperature, absorb VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) Ex: Molds, and keeps the body stress free, motivates, as well as provides good sleep. saves electricity bill and environment instead of using electric air purifiers.

Plants recommended by NASA Clean Air Study (1989)

  • English Ivy
  • Spider Plant
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • Peace Lily
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Variegated Sanseviera
  • Heartleaf Philodendron
  • Red-edged Dracaena
  • Cornstalk Dracaena
  • Weeping Fig
  • Barberton Daisy
  • Banana
  • Aloe Vera
  • Florist’s Chrysanthemum
  • Janet Craig
  • Warneckie

7 best Indoor plants recommended by NASA!

1. Chinese Evergreen

Aglaonema

Benefits

Chinese Evergreen helps to improve the air quality of your indoor spaces with the ability to filter indoor air pollutants and toxins. Furthermore, this gorgeous leafy indoor plant emits Oxygen, which assists in increasing productivity and enriching health and well-being both in living and working spaces.

Plant care

  • Less water is required, water once in a week. ( The soil must be dry before watering)
  • It can survive in a shady, low light, artificial light places (Never place under direct sunlight)
  • Not much fertilizer is required, feed basic food waste once in a month
  • Use Green pesticide to kill pests (mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap and mineral oil)
  • In high humidity, the plant may develop bacterial diseases. Avoid placing the plant near kitchen and bathroom.
  • Place the plant in a well aerated soil.
  • Place it in a small pot because the water is dried up easily.
  • For propogation, bend the stem to soil and cut the stem when it starts growing..

2. Snake Plant

Dracaena trifasciata

Benefits

The Snake Plant cleans air better than most other indoor plants as it has the ability to absorb excessive amounts of carbon monoxide. Additionally, it emits oxygen and filters other toxins from the air such as benzene, xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. When placed in office and home spaces Snake Plants can assist in increasing productivity, decreasing stress, fostering happy vibes and enriching overall well-being and health. It releases oxygen even at night by absorbing CO2 and increases 40% more oxygen in the room. It is effective against allergies! It removes 28,710 Micrograms of harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) per plant per day.

Plant care

  • Water when soil is dry, avoid leaves getting wet while watering.
  • Place it under indirect sunlight.
  • Fertilize during the growing season with an all-purpose plant food (Summer and Spring seasons)
  • Use Green pesticide to kill pests (mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap and mineral oil)
  • Keep the room temp. between 13-29 degree celsius.
  • Keep it away from pets and babies. When consumed it causes diarrhoea, nausea, and vomitting due to toxins in them.
  • They propogate as a new plant themselves through roots as they are rhizomes.

3. Spider Plant

Chlorophytum comosum

Benefits

One of the easiest indoor plants to maintain, the Spider Plant produces oxygen whilst purifying the air in your home and office by absorbing carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and xylene. Additionally, Spider Plants are non-toxic and are in fact edible, making them safe for pets and young children. It increases the humidity in the room. Increased ambient humidity decreases the risk of airborne diseases like flu and viruses.

Plant Care

  • During initial growth, water occasionally; once fully developed (within one year) water moderately
  • Place it in indirect sunlight
  • fertilize twicw a month in the spring and summer (avoid over fertilization)
  • Use Green pesticide to kill pests (mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap and mineral oil)
  • Keep the temp. between 13-27 degree celsius
  • Transplant spider plant to a larger pot when it outgrows
  • Trim the dead leaves
  • The soil must be moist and don’t let it dry

4. Aloe Vera

Aloe barbadensis miller

Benefits

Aloe Vera a great plant to detoxify home, it removes formaldehyde and benzene toxic pollutants. The Aloe gel is high in nutrients and natural antibacterial. It is best for beauty and skin care hacks, it helps in removing acnes, sunburn, skin dryness, skin burn, and bacterial skin infections.

Plant care

  • Water when soil is dry, Aloe Vera dies when we water too often/when soil is wet
  • Place it in bright light like kitchen window, balcony, etc.
  • Fertilize once in a year at the time of spring
  • Use Green pesticide to kill pests (mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap and mineral oil)
  • Keep the room temp. between 50-85 degree fahrebheit
  • They are toxic to pets (dogs and cats) when consumed. Symtoms of pets are vomitting, depression, anorexia and change in urine colour
  • Remove any offset/leaf, dry the for 2/3 days place it ina pot for a new Aloe plant
  • The soil must be dry, use building soil or cactus soil mix

5. Peace Lily

Spathiphyllum

Benefits

The Peace Lily is a beautiful plant and one that can improve your indoor air quality by as much as 60 percent. It helps to reduce the levels of mold spores that grow in the home by absorbing those spores through its leaves and them circulating them to the plant’s roots where they are used as food. In bathrooms, the Peace Lily can help to keep shower tiles and curtains free from mildew and the plant can absorb harmful vapors from alcohol and acetone.

Plant care

  • Peace Lily can grow in water, soil, and rocks. They require less water, but never over water.
  • Keep these plants out of direct afternoon sunlight, but in a well-lit area
  • Fertilize every 6 weeks or so witha balanced houseplant fertilizer starting in late winter
  • Use Green pesticide to kill pests (mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap and mineral oil)
  • They do best in temp. upwards of 21 degree celsius
  • Peace lilies are sentitive to chemicals commonly found in tap water. Use filtered, room temperature water, if possible
  • For new plant, remove the plant from its pot and split it into smaller plants, being sure to leave several leaves per clump. The peace lily grows from rhizomes
  • Keep the soil moist, but do not overwater
  • WARNING! Allparts of the peace lily plant contain calcium oxalate, a substance that may cause stomach and respiratory irritation if ingested in large amounts. Keep peace lilies out of reach of small children.

6. English Ivy

Hedera helix

Benefits

English ivy also has medicinal properties. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates used ivy to prevent intoxication, reduce swelling, and as an anesthetic. Now herbalists use it to treat respiratory conditions. One study also found that English ivies could reduce particles of fecal matter and mold. Researchers found that the amount of fecal matter dropped by more than 94 percent in 12 hours. Mold went down by 78.5 percent.

Plant care

  • Water the plants freely during growth. Keep English Ivy houseplants moist in the winter. Spraying English Ivy with soft water weekly will help prevent spider mites from infesting the plants.
  • English Ivy plants are not greatly affected by hot and cold temperature but fluctuating temperatures can stifle performance dramatically. Keep English Ivy in an atmosphere with a consistent temperature and away from drafts, open doors, or vents. Temperatures below 40oF will cause the leaves of the plants to take on a different shade.
  • English Ivy care requires the application of a balanced (20-20-20) liquid fertilizer monthly for enhanced plant performance.
  • Use Green pesticide to kill pests (mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap and mineral oil)
  • English Ivy houseplants thrive in an environment of bright filtered to low light. Ample light helps the leaves become more colorful but filter the light to prevent excessive heat which can lead to drying and poor performance
  • Ingestion of any part of the plant will cause severe discomfort. Contact with the sap or airborne hairs may aggravate skin allergies or irritate skin. Typical pathogen (fungal and bacterial) problems affecting English Ivy houseplants are bacterial spot, stem rot and fungal leaf spots.
  • Root cuttings are the preferred method of propagation.
  • Grow the plants in soil-based or soilless potting mix that allows for ample water drainage and moisture retention.

7. Weeping Fig

Ficus benjamina

Benefits

The Benjamina is one of the most popular small indoor trees from this genus that grows quite slowly and needs a grower to take particular care of a few needs (lighting, watering, etc.), which is fairly easy, when you know how. This fig plant is very good for beating pollutants that can be emitted from carpets or household furnishings and appliances – such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.

Plant care

  • Most Weeping Fig plants are normally tolerant of occasional watering mistakes, so giving too much or too little from time to time will not usually do any long term harm.
  • Weeping Fig will need a location which is fairly bright in order for it to do well indoors. Some shade is okay, but you do have to be careful as if the light levels are too low then in a short time your Weeping Fig will tell you it’s unhappy by shedding leaves.
  • Use Green pesticide to kill pests (mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap and mineral oil)
  • Fertilize houseplants every three or four weeks during the spring and summer, using a half-strength solution of a water-soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20.
  • The trees do best with nighttime temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees F. and daytime temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees F.
  • They are toxic to Cats and Dogs when consumed
  • Fast draining soil is required to grow the plant.
  • Take a 3- to 5-inch cutting from the tip of a healthy branch. A cutting should have at least two sets of leaves, and no signs of disease or damage at place it in a well fertilized pot to clone the weeping fig.

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