Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exalta Bostoniensis)
This lush plant functions really well as a natural air humidifier. While it’s busy adding humidity to the environment it also does a great job eliminating formaldehyde. Its large feathered ferns span as large as 5 feet and allow just a single plant to have a noticeable impact.
Ferns are very popular house plants and the Boston Fern is one that offers beauty and healthy benefits. These plants act as humidifiers and can help to restore moisture in the air so they are perfect for those who suffer from dry skin and other cold weather problems. They can also help to eliminate traces of formaldehyde and they look beautiful hanging from baskets all around the home. Remember to keep your Boston Fern in direct sunlight and mist the leaves with water regularlyStudies show that plants can offer a natural and benign way to assist the filtration of indoor air.
Plants can remove toxicants and absorb pollutants by metabolizing them into harmless byproducts and by isolating them via incorporating them into plant tissues.
- A 1989 study published by NASA found that plants were effective at removing airborne VOCs such as benzene, toluene, octane, and trichloroethylene.
- Another study found that indoor plants could also remove concentrations of formaldehyde from the air (Claudio, Luz, 2011, October).
- Studies also show that no plants are known that help remove tabacco smoke from the air. (they can remove benzene, a component of the smoke)
However, not all plants are equally beneficial when it comes to removing harmful airborne substances. Also it is not clear if all toxins can be removed by plants.
And there are some limitations.
- Houseplants are most effective in removing VOCs in energy-efficient, non-ventilated buildings.
- In highly ventilated buildings, the rapid exchange of inside and outside air limits the benefits of using houseplants to clean the air (Zhang, Jensen, Wang, Zhiqiang, & Ren, Dacheng, 2010, December).
That’s why scientists conclude that:
“It is not yet possible to project the true potential of plants for purifying indoor air,” “At this time the role of plants, though appearing [generally] positive, is not totally clear.” said Stanley J. Kays, University of Georgia
What exactly do we mean by indoor air quality?
Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within buildings and structures, as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. IAQ can be affected by many things, to include:
● Gases (such as carbon monoxide, radon, and volatile organic compounds [VOCs])
● Microbial contaminants (molds and bacteria)
● Stressors that can induce adverse health conditions.
The primary methods of controlling IAQ in most buildings include source control, filtration, and the use of ventilation to dilute contaminants.
Let’s say, taking the limitations in account, you will use plants for their purifying properties. Which types are best?
The top 10 best houseplants for cleaning indoor air
In studies houseplants were assessed on their ability to clean indoor air based on the following criteria:
- removal of chemical vapors,
- ease of growth and maintenance,
- resistance to insect infestation, and
- transpiration rates.