If you’re one of the growing numbers of people suffering from asthma or allergies, indoor plants might be your new best friends.
Not only do indoor plants add a nice touch to a room, but they also help to control problems like asthma and allergies.
In This Article ...
- How Can Plants Help Asthma?
- 7 Best Indoor Plants for Asthma
- Do Non-Toxic Plants Need Any Special Care?
- What Are The Worst Houseplants for Allergies?
- How Many Plants Do I Need to Purify Indoor Air?
- Hydroponics vs. Soil Grown Plants: Which One is Better?
How Can Plants Help Asthma?
The study of plants and their beneficial qualities of air purification was detailed in a report by NASA.
In 1989 they released a report called, “The Clean Air Study”, which described different plants effective at removing toxins from the air that have a negative effect on your health.
The study describes a number of indoor plants that are excellent at absorbing harmful agents like mold spores and toxins like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene.
7 Best Indoor Plants for Asthma
Indoor plants, in general, are great additions, but some are better at air purification than others.
Here is a list of 7 top indoor plants to consider for people who suffer from asthma or allergies.
1. Peace Lily
Spathiphyllum is highly regarded as one of the easier houseplants to grow, even if you don’t really have any real previous experience growing plants.
This plant is commonly referred to as the Peace Lily and it requires very little light or water to remain healthy.
This plant should always be kept in indirect or low light. The sensitive leaves can suffer from leaf burn if left in direct sunlight.
According to NASA’s analysis, the Peace Lily is the best indoor plant for air purification as it is most efficient at removing airborne toxins.
This included Volatile Organic Compounds, like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene. The Peace Lily is capable of actually improving air quality by up to 60%.
If that’s not all, this plant also helps eliminate mold by absorbing mold spores and converting them into food.
2. Areca Palm
Having sufficient humidity in the air can be a very good thing in moderation. Especially if you suffer from asthma, proper humidity and fresh moistened air can prove to be extremely helpful to your breathing condition.
One plant that ranked high on NASA’s list is the Areca Palm. The Areca Palm not only can add humidity to a room it also removes formaldehyde, xylene, carbon monoxide, and toluene from the air.
A mature Areca Palm can actually add 1 liter of water per day into the surrounding air.
Over time the Areca can outgrow its indoor home due to the fact that they have the ability to reach 7 feet tall. It’s best to start with a smaller one for indoors.
Arecas do well with indirect light and a tropical environment but not cold environments. The coldness of U.S. winters is enough to kill the palms.
3. Spider Plant
Spider plants can really brighten a room up, plus they’re good plants to have if you have asthma or allergies like hayfever.
The study done by NASA showed Spider plant performed the best of indoor plants with a 95 percent removal rate, especially formaldehyde.
The Spider Plant is great for hanging and is easy to manage.
4. Red-Edged Dracaena
This upright evergreen shrub is extremely popular in the U.S. especially because it’s a super low maintenance plant.
The Dracaena also happens to be one of the most efficient plants at removing formaldehyde from the air in your home.
In addition, Dracaenas are great at removing benzene from cigarette smoke and other chemicals.
5. Boston Fern
If you’re looking for clean air and fresh oxygen, then try putting a Boston Fern in your home.
The Boston Fern is a very common household plant that requires a little more sunlight and a small amount of misting to flourish.
Because of the larger size of the Boston Fern, it has a higher rate of transpiration which can definitely help restore moisture in the air and eliminate formaldehyde.
6. Snake Plant
The Snake Plant, also known as, Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, is a great first indoor plant. It is native to West Africa, however, over the years it has been grown nearly everywhere.
Caring for a Snake Plant requires very little maintenance.
They are also considered one of the best houseplants for absorbing airborne toxins, including formaldehyde, nitrogen oxide, benzene, xylene, and trichloroethylene.
7. Devil’s Ivy
Devil’s Ivy is a very popular indoor plant that is found everywhere in the world. The plant, however, is native to the Solomon Islands.
This plant for allergy sufferers thrives in moist peaty soil and indirect light. This plant is very forgiving and easy to care for.
Having one of these plants has the benefit of cleansing the air of pollutants, such as benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, and formaldehyde.
Do Non-Toxic Plants Need Any Special Care?
The good thing about placing non-toxic houseplants to clean the air in your home is they “do not require” any additional special care.
However, like your other regular indoor plants you should pay attention to their basic needs of light, water, and nutrients.
As a homeowner, if you cannot spare time to provide the basic care to your air-purifying houseplants it’s better not to get them for your place.
What Are The Worst Houseplants for Allergies?
There are some indoor plants that you may not want in your home if you have a problem with allergies or asthma.
The ficus tree, orchids, and marigolds have all been known to cause skin reactions and irritation if not careful.
If you enjoy palms in your home, be mindful that male palms do produce serious amounts of pollen. You will most certainly want to pick a female and avoid picking the male for these reasons.
Although everybody loves roses, they come with an abundance of pollen that can exacerbate your allergy and asthma symptoms.
Sometimes these worst indoor plants for allergies can cause rashes too. The worst-case scenario is you wind up with sinus and respiratory trouble.
Although they are beautiful, they should be avoided.
How Many Plants Do I Need to Purify Indoor Air?
According to a NASA study done in 1989, putting one plant per 100 square feet of indoor space is a good option.
However, according to the recommendation by Dr. Wolverton from NASA, it is good to place about 2 plants per 100 square feet area in your home to clean indoor air.
According to his study, the larger the surface area of the plant leaf is the higher will be the transpiration rate.
Due to this a plant with large-sized leaves can absorb more airborne chemicals. You can hence consider placing 1-2 plants in your area based on the plant and size of leaves you choose.
Hydroponics vs. Soil Grown Plants: Which One is Better?
Studies have shown that Hydroponics plants (plants grown in hydroculture or soil-free) are more effective in removing VOCs than compared to plants that are grown in soil.
This is due to the fact that air flows faster (and in more quantity) through hydroculture pebbles in Hydroponics plants than through compacted soil in soil-grown plants.
Hydroculture also offers an added benefit by avoiding the growth of molds, which is a common problem with soil-grown plants.
When placing the indoor plants (that clean the air and remove toxins) in your home or office, you should care that you put them at a location where you spend most of the time.
7 best places where you can consider placing your air purifying plants are:
1- On a stand
2- By a window
3- Stairwell corner
4- A bathroom ledge
5- Hanging on a mirror
6- On the washing machine
7- On the entry table, cabinet, or a desk
Where ever you place them, make sure that you do not put them in direct sunlight. At the same time choose an area that supports their life better.
This means you need to take into consideration the temperature, humidity, and light when you place the houseplants for improved indoor air quality.
Plants can actually do many great things but not all house plants are ideal for people suffering from asthma and allergies.
There are some plants that produce an excessive amount of pollen spores. These spores can sometimes pose a serious health risk.
It’s always smart to do a little research about the plants you are interested to bring into your home, in order to better understand if it poses any health issues or health complications.
A number of common house plants may be great for asthma or allergies, however, they can pose an entirely different set of health risks.
Pets or people eating the leaves, on purpose or accident, of some house plants, can become seriously ill and may need to seek medical attention.
It’s important to keep plants like these out of reach of pets and small children.
Houseplants have so much to offer. They can lighten up our homes and rooms.
Having indoor plants helps to provide more oxygen. And worry not, they do not remove the oxygen in your bedroom at night.
I agree there are a few house plants that can use a small amount of oxygen in your bedroom at night.
But there are still many of them (like succulents, orchids, snake plants, and bromeliads) that can actually work to add a good amount of oxygen and fresh air at night.
One thing you just need to make sure, while using these houseplants in your bedroom, is to cover the soil surface so as to avoid the growth of mold spores.