People once believed that plants increased mold and mildew by increasing humidity and harboring spores in their soil. According to Bill Wolverton, this is only true if plants are overwatered, but in general plants reduce mold spores. According to Marie Harrison, houseplants protect us from mold spores by releasing phytochemicals that suppress mold spores and bacteria. According to her research, "plant-filled rooms have 50 to 60 percent fewer airborne molds and bacteria" than rooms without plants.
The dracaena is a diverse family of about 40 different species of plants, all of which are known to be good at cleaning the air of toxins. Among the best include Janet Craig (Dracaena Janet Craig), Marginata (Dracaena marginata), Warneckii (Dracaena Warneckii) and corn plant (Dracaena fragrans). Most dracaena do well at room temperature away from cold drafts in an area that receives medium to bright light.
The peace lily (Spathiphyllum species) is a great plant because it happens to love the shade and thrive in high humidity, which makes them great for use in the bathroom. It is also excellent at absorbing airborne toxins. They typically produce large white blooms in the spring.
According to greenacy.org, Areca palms (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) output the most humidity as well as remove environmental toxins. Increased humidity helps our nose and lungs resist airborne bacteria and mold. If given lots of light and water in a warm area, they can grow quite large. Other palms that may be beneficial for reducing mold and toxins include the bamboo or bamboo palm or reed palm (Chamaedorea Seifrizii), the lady palm (Rhapis excelsa) and dwarf date palm (Phoenix roebelenii).
English Ivy (Hedera helix) not only removes airborne mold, it also removes other toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene. It grows best in bright, indirect light and should be watered evenly. Warning: its leaves are toxic to pets.
The snake plant (Sanseveria trifasciata) and mother-in-law's tounge (Sansevieria trifasciata laurentii) are two similar plants that grow stiff and upright. They are hardy and adaptable to their surroundings, but prefer bright light and warm temperatures. Let the soil dry between waterings and do not fertilize in the winter.
Other plants that are known for reducing airborne toxins including mold and mildew include arrowhead vine (Syngonium podophyllum), Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis'), calathea (Calathea species), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema species), chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum species), dumb cane (Dieffenbachia species), Ficus alii (Ficus macleilandii 'Alii'), golden pothos or devil's ivy (Epipremnum aureum), philodendron (Philodendron species), prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura), schefflera (Schefflera species), spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) and rubber plant (Ficus elastica 'Robusta').
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