I hail from the Malnad region in Karnataka and so flora and fauna are very dear to me. It is very common for every household to have a vegetable garden and some flowering plants for the everyday pooja. But indoor plants (potted plants inside the house) were/are very rare. Many a times I have appreciated those palm plants in the brass pots or earthen pots, but never thought of keeping them at home. I guess it is partly because of the amount of work involved, not to mention finding proper space for them. And also with 2 boys at home, did not want to be scouring the mud everyday. But now I am convinced that the air quality is not all that great and it is high time that I tried to clean it. Most of the time I shut all the windows because of the dust. May be that is another reason why it does not feel fresh.
A couple of months back I came across this article which showed NASA’s research (yes, NASA, the space guys) of how the indoor plants can purify the air. There is something called a ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ due to the poor indoor air quality. This usually causes airborne allergy, asthma, ear-nose-throat irritation, headache, respiratory and sinus congestion. If any of you have any of these symptoms for no apparent reason, I think you should give this a try. I know it is not easy to maintain these plants, but it is well worth a try. I thought of taking this up as a summer project. Now that summer is here I’ll be heading to Lalbagh or a nearby nursery to get these plants. (Took most of the below pics in Lalbagh recently.) Fortunately for us, most of these are tropical plants. So it should be fairly easy to grow them here in Bangalore.
[Skip this if you do not want the details]
Modern indoors have four important pollutants –
Every one of us know how plants are useful to us by absorbing carbon dioxide and giving oxygen to the animal world. But the NASA studies have proved how the air pollutants are removed by these plants. Chemicals in the atmosphere are absorbed and biodegraded by plant leaves and roots, the soil, and micro-organisms. Virtually every tropical foliage and flowering plant works to remove pollutants from the interior environment, and particular plants are better at removing certain toxins.
From (L to R) Fern, Chrysanthemum, Areca Palm
|Fern||Removes formaldehyde in the air.|
|Chrysanthemum||Removes benzene, formaldehyde and trichloethylene|
|Areca Palm||Removes xylene & toluene|
From (L to R) Money plant, Peace Lily and Snake plant
|Money plant||Removes formaldehyde in the air.|
|Peace Lily||Removes benzene, formaldehyde and trichloethylene|
|Snake plant||Removes formaldehyde|
From (L to R) Dracaena , Gerbera, Dumb cane
|Dracaena||Removes benzene,formaldehyde and xylene & toluene.|
|Gerbera||Removes benzene, formaldehyde and trichloethylene|
|Dumb cane||Removes xylene & toluene|
For a complete list check the Wikipedia. It also has the links to NASA reports.
You can just start with 3 plants – money plant, snake plant and areca palm. See the TED study done in Delhi and decide for yourself.
Some points to note –
- You will need one pot per 100 sq ft. Say, if you live in a 1800 sq ft house the NASA recommendation is 15 to 18 pots. The pot should have 6-8 inch diameter.
- Gravel should be used to cover the surface of the pot plants to discourage the growth of Molds/Fungi.
- If you have pets or babies/toddlers at home, you may want to see which ones are safe.
Give me some “green” thumbs up for my project!!!