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Breathe Easy

Best House Plants for Indoor Air Quality

breathe easy feature

By Mimi Greenwood Knight

We work hard to make sure our families eat good food and get plenty of exercise. We work to keep stress levels low and spend time crafting a home that’s a relaxing oasis from the world outside. There’s something else you can do to improve your family’s quality of life: surround them with green, growing things. I know. I know. Not everyone is born with a green thumb. But not all houseplants are high-maintenance and nurturing the ones that aren’t can be well worth it for you and your family.

The right house plants can add color and intrigue to your rooms, but studies show they can help purify the air, provide allergy relief, improve sleep quality, and reduce stress levels. During the process of photosynthesis, plants convert the carbon dioxide we exhale into fresh oxygen and remove toxins from the air we breathe in by filtering out toxic chemicals such as Formaldehyde, Benzene, and Trichloroethylene.

Here are some suggestions for good air-purifying plants that also happen to be easy to keep alive and happy.

Queen Fern

This pretty, frilly fern is basically foolproof. Offer it some bright, indirect light, or even direct as long as you keep the soil moist. Queen ferns love the humidity, so they will thrive in your kitchen or bathroom.

Rubber Tree

Rubber trees make a bold statement with their dark, glossy green, and burgundy leaves. Sometimes called Ficus Burgundy, it can grow eight to 10 feet tall when it gets enough TLC. But this isn’t a great plant around children and pets who may ingest the toxic leaves.

Snake Plant

Not only dramatic looking, these babies also practically thrive on neglect. They’ll survive with little water and light and happily improve your family’s air quality. And their deep green vertical leaves will make any space look elegant.

English Ivy

I bet your mom and grandmother had a little English ivy trailing somewhere in their décor. English ivy grows fast and is easy to keep healthy. Offer it low-to-bright indirect sunlight and water it when the soil feels dry. It’s easy to propagate, too, so be sure to share.

Weeping Fig Tree

Give it a well-lit room and water it weekly. Your weeping fig tree will grow three to six feet tall and will do best when offered a larger pot each year.

Bromeliad Vriesea Vogue

I have a love/hate relationship with this plant since the leaves are — meh— but the flowers are spectacular. Also known as the flaming sword plant, it’s non-toxic, dramatic, and colorful. Offer it bright sunlight and water and mist weekly.

This list is just a start. Now it’s time to visit your local nursery or home store and select some green babies to beautify your spaces and purify your air. 

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