Indoor plants are not just elegant additions to interior design. Some plants have demonstrated filtration properties that reduce the presence of airborne allergens and mold. Plants that reduce indoor mold improve the overall air quality by reducing indoor air pollution. Indoor plants can be strategically placed to reduce mold in high-moisture locations or in bedrooms of mold-sensitive members of the household. Though no plant is able to completely eliminate mold spores, some plants have demonstrated superior filtration abilities.
English Ivy is an invasive hanging or climbing vine with flat waxy leaves and a high tolerance for variation in air temperature, soil and moisture. When grown indoors, English Ivy should be hung to promote downward growth that creates full foliage. A research study conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) found that English Ivy demonstrated superior air purification properties; the plant was able to significantly reduce the concentration of chemicals and bacteria in the air after only a 24-hour period. A subsequent study by Dr. Bill Wolverton, a former research scientist with NASA, found that English Ivy also reduces the concentration of airborne mold spores in indoor air by as much as 60 percent. Keep English Ivy in a partially shady area and prune the vine regularly to prevent overgrowth.
Dracaena represent a genus of plants that includes approximately forty species. One of the most common and effective species of dracaena for reducing indoor mold is the Janet Craig, though striped dracaena is also popular. The Janet Craig variety of dracaena is a low bush or small tree with long, thin leaves. Janet Craig is relatively easy to care for; it requires low light and occasional watering, but feeding is not necessary. Janet Craig is particularly efficient in removing formaldehyde and benzene from indoor spaces, but it also effectively filters and removes mold spores to improve air quality. Janet Craig can reduce the presence of mold spores as much as 55 percent according to a study by Dr. Wolverton.
Snake plants are also known as mother-in-law tongues due to their long, twisting leaves with light yellow stripes along the edges. Snake plants are ideal house plants because of their low-maintenance requirements and tolerance for low light and high humidity. Snake plants have demonstrated abilities for removing nitrogen oxide, formaldehyde and mold spores. Snake plates are especially effective because they thrive in high-mold areas like bathrooms.
Boston or sword fern is a vibrant, low plant comprised of several fronds of small, flat leaves. Boston ferns do best in high sunlight and warmer temperatures, though they are tolerant of cooler evening temperatures and very tolerant of drought. Boston ferns are not only highly decorative house plants, they are also highly efficient air purifiers with a confirmed ability to reduce formaldehyde and mold spores in indoor spaces. Boston ferns are ideal for well-lit kitchens, where mold can flourish due to moisture and heat.
Several varieties of palms have well-documented capabilities for reducing the presence of indoor airborne mold. Reed palms, dwarf date palms, areca palms and bamboo palms are some of the most highly recommended indoor house palms for improving air quality and reducing mold. Palms create a substance that resists mold from forming on leaves and trunks; the substance is also an effective mold filter, contributing to the palms' mold-reduction properties.