In today’s growing world clean, fresh air is getting harder to come by. Due to booming populations and rapidly advancing technologies there is a plethora of products on the market to help make fresh air. However, these products have repeatedly been found to contain chemicals linked to adverse health effects. In a TED talk from 2009, Kamal Meattle explains how this problem was approached in his native homeland of India, where air pollution is among the highest in the world.
The TED talk states that he was able to produce clean fresh air for one human for a whole day with a combination of three plant types. The three plants he mentions are the Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens) , the Mother-In-Law Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata), and the Money plant (Epipremnum aureum).
The Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens)
This plant takes carbon dioxide and turns it back into oxygen. In addition to producing oxygen and lowering carbon dioxide levels, it also removes certain pollutants from the air helping to produce clean indoor fresh air. Meattle suggests that for one person four shoulder high plants are sufficient. The Areca palm grows well in filtered light and likes to be watered often. For more information on how to take care of the Areca Palm visit SFGate’s page on special care.
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Mother-In-Law Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)
This is a very common household plant in America. Meattle calls it “The Bedroom Plant,” because it produces oxygen at night. It’s also known as the Snake Plant. It was discovered by NASA to remove Benzene from the air and works in great combination with the other two plants mentioned in Meattle’s TED talk. The Snake plant can sit in full sun light but also does well in dim light. It doesn’t need to be watered very often since it is part of the succulent family.
This is a good plant for the first time plant owner because of its heartiness. Meattle suggests that for one person, six to eight waist high plants are sufficient. OF course just one would help if you don’t want that many. Check out Amazon for a nice selection of starter plants.
WARNING: This plant has been declared toxic to cats and dogs by the ASPCA, so if you have animals that like to eat your indoor plants, please do be careful and place this plant away from them, or find an alternative plant to help you make fresh air.
Money Plant (Epipremnum aureum)
While many plants colloquially claim the name “money plant,” this one is a native to the Eastern Hemisphere. If you plan on purchasing one of these make sure to check the scientific name to be sure you’re getting the correct one. This plant has been shown by NASA (along with many others) to remove chemicals and other pollutants from the air. In the trio suggested by Meattle in his TED talk, this one does most of the pollutant removal. This plant enjoys medium, indirect sun light and regular watering. For more information about care check Princeton’s care page. This plant can be propagated from cuttings, so check with friends to see if anyone has one; but of course there’s always Amazon.
WARNING: This plant has also been declared toxic to cats, dogs and children by the ASPCA, so if you have animals or children that like to eat your indoor plants, please do be careful and place this plant away from them, or find an alternative plant to help make fresh air.
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