Houseplants improve the aesthetics of the home, but they may do more than that. Plants may improve the quality of indoor house air, removing allergens and creating an oxygen-rich atmosphere. Some plants may contribute to allergens, however, so it is important to know your allergy triggers and whether a plant may contribute to a stuffy nose and red eyes.
How Plants Improve Air
Plants create food through a process called photosynthesis. Plants take carbon dioxide from the air and process it into oxygen. Plants then pump the oxygen into the atmosphere. During the process, plants absorb pollutants as well, says the Colorado State Cooperative Extension. According to a NASA study, plants are capable of removing benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air, which are common air pollutants in homes and offices.
Plants need to comprise a certain amount of space within a home to be effective air cleaners. According to the NASA study cited by the Colorado State University Extension, one potted plant is needed per 100 square feet of space to clean air properly.
Allergies are caused by a trigger. Pollen is a common allergen trigger that is present in plants. A high pollen count in the air may cause sneezing, red eyes and irritation. Pollen is a sticky substance produced by plants for the purpose of pollination of seeds for propagation. Plants that produce pollen indoors may trigger allergies.
Plants that Produce Pollen
According to the Arizona Cooperative Extension, common pollen-producing plants are trees, grasses, weeds and flowers. Keeping these plants indoors may cause allergies to flare up. In warm areas these plants may produce pollen year-round, while areas that have four seasons will cause plants to produce pollen during the spring and summer. Indoor conditions may cause plants to produce pollen year-round.
Reduce the number of plants indoors that produce pollen. If you have plants indoors that produce pollen, consider placing them outdoors during the high pollen production season. Clean leaves with water to remove pollen and dust. If necessary, take antihistamine drugs to reduce sneezing and puffiness in the face.