The last of winter’s chill is tapering off. Trees are verdant, buds are bursting… and pollen is starting to cover every inch of your neighborhood!
For those of us with allergies, spring isn’t a welcome end to winter like it is for the rest of the world. Fortunately there are many natural, beautiful solutions for cleaning the air in your home.
Come along as we walk you through the benefits of houseplants for allergy sufferers.
Allergy Benefits of Houseplants? Really?
The advantages of humidity in combating allergies have long been understood. The principle is simple- weigh a room down with enough moisture and
invading pollen is too heavy to float. Unfortunately, artificial humidifiers don’t regulate themselves and often overdo it. The resulting atmosphere can be an incubator for mold and mites.
But what machines get wrong, nature gets right. The self-regulating benefits of houseplants trump artificial solutions, and there’s good science to back it up. NASA once noticed their air scrubbers weren’t ideal for purifying sealed spaces. They performed a two year study to determine if plants could supplement or replace the technology. Their findings were positive, and hold relevance for modern homes:
“Low-light-requiring houseplants… have demonstrated the potential for improving indoor air quality by removing trace organic pollutants from the air in energy-efficient buildings. This plant system is one of the most promising means of alleviating the sick building syndrome associated with many new, energy efficient buildings.”
What Plants Work Best?
There were many species used in the NASA study, so much of it is a matter of preference. However, here are some of our personal favorites. We’ve picked them for ease of care, overall air scrubbing properties, aesthetics, and their efficacy in eliminating common household toxins.
- English Ivy (Hedera helix) – Ivy gives your room a meandering elegance that’s simple to maintain. Just keep the compost moist and apply liquid fertilizer once a month while it’s growing. You’ll be rewarded with long, cooling tendrils that will keep pollen well tamped.
English ivy is also excellent in combating mold and pet smells. It’s likewise second to none in scouring benzene, an irritant found throughout the glues, adhesives, and cements that hold your house together. Eliminating its effects may be just as soothing as reducing pollen.
- Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii) – It’s a pretty big plant, usually reaching between 3-6 feet when cultivated indoors. This plant is as beautiful as a Chinese brush painting, and its care is a cinch. Keep it moist and cool; throw in liquid fertilizer each month, and voila! Its large size and slender leaves circulate lots of air, so you should feel a difference in air quality right away.
The bamboo palm was also a workhorse in eliminating formaldehyde in the NASA study. As formaldehyde’s a potent carcinogen found in everything from plywood to carpeting, a palm in your home is very prudent.
- Barberton daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) – This plant has a distinct advantage over most in the study- it actually blooms. And what blooms they are! They’re plush, pastel sunbursts that scream spring year-round. Barberton daisies aren’t that picky about temperature, but do make sure they get lots of water, drainage, and sunlight.
The Barberton daisy is marvelous for managing TCE, a disorienting chemical present in many cleaners and solvents. It may take couple of daisy plants to completely cleanse the effects. Once they’ve gone to work, though, you’ll likely be rewarded with increased euphoria and clarity.
The benefits of houseplants don’t stop here. There are dozens of others that can improve your quality of life while making your home gorgeous. Reach out to Plaza Flowers and introduce yourself. We’re happy and able to find a plant just right for your needs!