Indoor Plants that Filter Cigarette Smoke

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Indoor air purifying plants

Cigarette smoke is a complex mixture of chemicals that can cause adverse effects to both smokers and non-smokers.

I’m sure you probably know that plants have the potential for improving indoor air quality by removing trace levels of air pollutants in your home.

You might be wondering which indoor plants are best at removing these air pollutants.

Well, according to research conducted by NASA in 1989 on Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement to determine if plants were effective air purifiers,

and which plants removed air pollutants of carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, benzene and certain nitrogen gases, out of the air.

NASA researchers evaluated and identified several plants that are capable of breaking down high concentrations of indoor air pollutants, especially in cigarette smoke.

Some plants listed here are exceptional at cleaning the air and removing toxins in your home. Interestingly, most of these plants require low maintenance. And at the same time helps create a decorative display to enhance your home.

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Golden pothos

Golden pothos: An Indoor plant

Golden pothos nicknamed devil’s ivy or money plant is a climber that does well in low-light areas, but in time the mustard variegated leaves become greener and less colourful.

Pothos are arguably one of the easiest indoor plants to grow because it requires little care and it’s so attractive.

Golden pothos are effective air purifiers capable of removing traces of formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and toluene from the air.

Light and Position: bright indirect light is ideal.

Temperature: can tolerate a broad range of room temperatures between 60°F to 70°F. In temperatures above 65°F provide extra humidity. In winter months, 50°F temperature is ideal.


Watering:
Golden pothos does not like to be over-watered and should be allowed to dry out between waterings.


Feeding:
Golden pothos do not need heavy amount of fertilizers. During active growth, apply liquid fertilizer every two weeks

Common Problems

Botrytis
Symptoms: wet brown patches on the leaves
Treatment: Remove any leaves infected

Aphids
Symptoms: yellowing, wilting or stunted growth
Treatment: mix 20mls of alcohol and 50mls water into a spray bottle; add about 3 drops of liquid soap. You can also treat with insecticides

Mealybugs
Symptoms: yellowing of leaves
Treatment: apply methylated spirit.

Precautions

Keep out of reach of small children and pets. It can be irritating to cats and dogs

Snake plant

Snake plants. Sansevieria. Indoor plants growing on a rockery garden

Snake plant is one of the most interesting indoor plants that require less watering and thrives with minimal care.

They can be grown and cared for with ease.

They are commonly called mother-in-law’s tongue, lucky plant, good luck plant, viper’s bowstring hemp, and sansevieria.

Snake plant is also one of the best air purifying plants known for removing air pollutants of formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and toluene from the air.

They are less demanding and do not need much watering.

Light and Position: bright indirect light is ideal. It can tolerate direct light.

Temperature: can tolerate a broad range of room temperatures between 65°F to 80°F. Be sure not to subject them to extreme cold temperature, below 55°F.


Watering:
: Snake plant does not like to be over-watered and should be allowed to dry out between waterings.


Feeding:
Snake plantdo not need heavy amount of fertilizers. During active growth, apply liquid fertilizer every once a month during their active growth period.

Common Problems

Symptoms: brown patches on the leaves
Treatment: reduce watering and keep the centre of the plant free from moisture

Symptoms: loss of colour
Treatment: improve lighting; move the plant nearer to the window.

Vine weevils
Symptoms: eat away the edges of the leaves
Treatment: spray with lindane insecticide

Mealybugs
Symptoms: yellowing of leaves
Treatment: apply methylated spirit or spray with systemic insecticide or malathion

Precautions

Mildly toxic to pets. It can cause gastrointestinal upset to cats and dogs if ingested.

Peace lily

Peace lily: An air purifying plant

Peace lily is one of the most common indoor plants because they thrive everywhere and are easy to grow.

They bear creamy white flowers that bring colour while creating a good contrasting effect in your home.

Peace lilies are exceptional air purifying plants known for removing air pollutants of formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, toluene and ammonia from the air.

They are less demanding and do not need much watering.

Light and Position: bright indirect light is ideal. Low-light spots loving plants.

Temperature: can tolerate room temperatures between 60°F to 70°F. They do not like draughts and they need humid atmosphere, so keep them on trays.


Watering:
: Peace lily could result in wilting when over-watered and should not be allowed to dry out completely between waterings.


Feeding:
peace lilies are moderate feeders. During active growth, apply standard liquid fertilizer every two weeks

Common Problems

Symptoms: wilting of leaves
Treatment: reduce watering

brown edges on leaves
Treatment: move the plant away from direct sunlight

Aphids
Symptoms: eat away the young leaves
Treatment: spray with insecticide

Mealybugs
Symptoms: yellowing of leaves
Treatment: apply methylated spirits or spray with systemic insecticide or malathion

Precautions

Peace lilies are toxic to cats and dogs. If ingested, it causes irritation of the tongue, increased salivation, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.

Dendrobium orchid

dendrobium orchid

Dendrobium orchids are one of the most interesting houseplants that form colourful and fascinating scented flowers.

Their needs are quite different from other indoor plants but can be grown and nurtured successfully with a bit of attention.

Dendrobium orchids are effective air purifiers capable of removing traces of formaldehyde from the air.

Light and Position: bright indirect light is ideal. They enjoy direct morning sunlight

Temperature: can tolerate room temperatures between 60°F to 70°F. They do not like draughts and they need a humid atmosphere, so keep them on trays.

During winter mid-day temperatures of 60°F to 65°F and night temperature of 55°F is ideal for them to bloom.


Watering:
: Dendrobium orchid enjoys plenty of water and should not be allowed to dry out completely between waterings.


Feeding:
Dendrobium orchids are moderate feeders. During active growth, apply standard liquid fertilizer every two weeks.

Common Problems

Symptoms: leaf rot
Treatment: do not allow water droplets to remain on the new growth

Symptoms: brown edges on leaves
Treatment: move the plant away from direct sunlight

Aphids
Symptoms: yellowing, wilting or stunted growth
Treatment: mix 20mls of alcohol and 50mls water into a spray bottle; add about 3 drops of liquid soap. You can also treat with insecticides

Mealybugs
Symptoms: yellowing of leaves and could result in total leaf loss
Treatment: apply methylated spirit

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, dendrobium orchids are non-toxic to cats and dogs

Spider plant

Spider plant

Spider plant is extremely popular because it grows so well, and the fact that new plants can easily be raised from the natural plantlets they produce.

It is widely known for its green and creamy grassy foliage.

Spider plants are good air purifiers, known for removing toxins of formaldehyde, making it a healthy addition to your home.

Light and Position: Good light is required if these plants are to retain their colouring, but very strong light can damage the leaves.

Temperature: they thrive at room temperatures between 50°F to 65°F. They do not do well if the temperature falls below 45°F. Protect the plants from cold draughts, especially if placed on a windowsill.


Watering:
Spider plant enjoys plenty of water and should not be allowed to dry out completely between waterings.


Feeding:
feed fortnightly throughout the year with liquid fertilizer, especially when they start producing plantlets.

Common Problems

Symptoms: tip burn; caused by dry soil, low humidity or build-up of salts
Treatment: keep the soil slightly moist. Avoid watering with chlorinated water

Aphids
Symptoms: attacked leaves bear pit marks
Treatment: spray with systemic insecticide

Mealybugs
Symptoms: wilting of leaves and could result to total leaf loss
Treatment: apply methylated spirit or sponge the leaves with malathion

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Spider plants are non-toxic to cats and dogs

Rubber plant

Rubber plant

Rubber plants are the best–known indoor ficus. They have large, shiny leathery leaves with prominent mid-ribs.

Rubber plants are effective air purifiers capable of removing traces of formaldehyde from the air.

Light and Position: Bright indirect light is ideal. They enjoy direct morning sunlight

Temperature: can tolerate room temperatures between 60°F to 70°F. They can be acclimatized to wide range of temperatures.


Watering:
Rubber plants need less watering; let the top half-inch of the soil dry out before watering again. Never stand them in a dish of water


Feeding:
Rubber plants need less watering; let the top half-inch of the soil dry out before watering again. Never stand them in a dish of water.

Common Problems

Symptoms: leaf rot
Treatment: do not allow water droplets to remain on the new growth

Scale insects
Symptoms: very destructive
Treatment: check underneath leaves. Treat with systemic insecticide or sponge the leaves with malathion

Mealybugs
Symptoms: yellowing of leaves and could result to total leaf loss
Treatment: apply methylated spirit

Precautions

Rubber plants are mildly toxic to cats and dogs. If ingested, it causes irritation of skin, increased salivation, drooling and difficulty swallowing.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is one of the most common houseplants because they’re easy to grow and require less maintenance. They store water in their leaves.

Their leaves are fiercely armed with hooks.

Aloe vera are effective air purifiers capable of removing traces of formaldehyde and benzene from the air, making them a healthy addition to your home.

Light and Position: Bright direct light is ideal.

Temperature: They grow well in normal room temperatures and are tolerant of dry air.


Watering:
Aloe vera plants need less watering; let the top half-inch of the soil dry out before watering again. Never stand them in a dish of water


Feeding:
Give standard fertilizer every two weeks to actively growing plants.

Common Problems

Symptoms: leaf rot
Treatment: do not allow water droplets to remain on the new growth

Scale insects
Symptoms: very destructive
Treatment: check underneath leaves. Treat with systemic insecticide or sponge the leaves with malathion

Mealybugs
Symptoms: yellowing of leaves and could result to total leaf loss
Treatment: apply methylated spirit

Precautions

Aloe vera is medicinal for humans, mildly toxic to cats and dogs. If ingested, it causes irritation of skin, increased salivation, drooling and diarrhoea

Boston fern

Boston fern

Boston ferns are popular indoor plants. They look very attractive when grown on pedestals and hanging baskets.

They produce natural plantlets from their tips.

They’re easy to grow and require fairly maintenance.

Boston ferns are effective at improving air quality in homes and offices. They remove traces of formaldehyde.

Light and Position: Bright direct light is ideal.

Temperature: They grow well in normal room temperatures throughout the year. Provide extra humidity by mist spraying the leaves daily.


Watering:
Boston fern plants enjoy plenty watering; let the top half-inch of the soil dry out before watering again. Stand them in a dish of water for 45mins after watering


Feeding:
Give standard fertilizer every two weeks to actively growing plants.

Common Problems

Spider mites
Symptoms: small yellow or brown patch on leaves
Treatment: wash plants with jet water (you can create pressure with garden hose) or spray with soap solution

Mealybugs
Symptoms: wilting of leaves.
Treatment: apply methylated spirit and use a sponge with soap solution to wipe the leaves

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Boston ferns are non-toxic to cats and dogs. So you can boost your home with lots of them.

Bamboo palm

Bamboo palm

Bamboo palms are popular indoor palm plants. They have delicate-looking, lacy leaves. Leaves are bluish-green and very attractive.

Bamboo palms are effective at improving air quality in homes and offices. They remove traces of formaldehyde and benzene.

Light and Position: Bright direct light is ideal.

Temperature: : They grow well in normal room temperatures between 65°F to 75°F throughout the year. Provide extra humidity by standing pots on trays of moist pebbles.


Watering:
Bamboo palm plants also enjoy plenty watering; let the top half-inch of the soil dry out before watering again. Stand them in a dish of water for 45mins after watering


Feeding:
Give half-strength standard fertilizer every once a month during the active growth period only

Common Problems

Scale insects
Symptoms: very destructive
Treatment: check underneath leaves. Treat with systemic insecticide or sponge the leaves with malathion

Red spider mites
Symptoms: small yellow or brown patch on leaves
Treatment: wash plants with jet water (you can create pressure with a garden hose) or spray with a soap solution

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, bamboo palms are non-toxic to cats and dogs. So you can boost your home with lots of them.

Flamingo lily

Flamingo lily

Flamingo lilies are one of the most common flowering houseplants because of their brightly coloured waxy flowers.

A great choice for any houseplant lover that wants a touch of contrasting display of colours in their homes.

Flamingo lilies are effective at improving air quality in homes and offices. They remove traces of formaldehyde and ammonia.

Light and Position: medium indirect light is ideal for them to bloom. For example, position them in slightly shaded spots.

Temperature: They grow best at fairly constant room temperatures between 65°F to 70°F throughout the year. Provide extra humidity by standing pots on trays of moist pebbles .


Watering:
: Flamingo lily plants also enjoy plenty of watering; let the top half-inch of the soil dry out before watering again. Stand them in a dish of water for 45mins after watering


Feeding:
Give standard fertilizer every two weeks during the active growth period only

Common Problems

Symptoms: Leaves turning yellow
Treatment: the plant is too cold and wet so let it dry out and move to warm spots

Symptoms: Flower wilting
Treatment: this is probably a natural cause; this is often caused by poor growing conditions

Symptoms: brown patches
Treatment: cut off infected growth, if possible, and spray with fungicide.

Flamingo lilies are toxic to cats and dogs. If ingested, it causes intense pain and irritation of the tongue and gastrointestinal tract.

List of Indoor Plants that Remove Air pollutants

Plant, removes:BenzeneFormaldehydeAmmoniaCarbonmonoxide
Golden pothos
(Epipremnum aureum)
YesYesNoYes
Snake plant
(Sansevieria trifasciata)
YesYesNoYes
Rubber plant
(Ficus elastica)
NoYesNoYes
Spider plant
(Chlorophytum comosum)
NoYesNoYes
Peace lily
(Spathiphylum maunaloa)
YesYesYesYes
Aloe veraYesYesNoYes
Boston fern
(Nephrolepis exaltata 'bostoniensis')
NoYesNoYes
Bamboo palm
(Chamaedorea seifrizii)
YesYesNoYes
Dendrobium orchidNoYesNoYes
Flamingo lily
(Anthurium andraeanum)
NoYesYesYes

Conclusion

There is no single plant that removes all toxins produced by cigarette smoke but, by combining some of the plants listed above, you can create a good air quality in your homes.

It’s simply a question of combining the best plants that clean different air pollutants.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about Indoor plants that can filter the air and some care tips. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Article source:

The Houseplant Survival Manual by William Davidson

NASA Clean Air Study

ASPCA: Toxic and Non-toxic Plant List

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