It’s that time of year. Everyone is sick with the never-ceasing headache, stuffy nose, runny nose, and cough combo. Utah’s polluted air makes it hard to take a deep breath and clear our sinuses. In addition to the car exhaust and factory pollution that sneaks its way into our living rooms, the EPA ranks indoor air quality as a top five environmental risk to public health. EPA studies found indoor air pollutants from sources like burning candles, paints, fabrics, and cleaning products are two to five times greater than outdoor pollution levels.
Luckily for us, Mother Nature has provided us with a natural way to help our lungs fight back against these self-inflicted winter ailments– plants. That’s right, buy house plants! We all know plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, but did you know they also filter out particulate matter and carcinogens? According to the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, plants improve indoor air and make interior breathing spaces healthier. Basically, plants rock.
In addition to improving air quality, plants are nice to look at and will help alleviate some of that cabin fever. Here are some magical air-filtering and practically indestructible plants for your apartment or dorm that are budget friendly.
Aloe Vera is one of the most unique and beautiful plants. Its pastel green color and spiny leaves look great on bookshelves and, well, anywhere. Everyone knows of its skin-healing and anti-inflammatory properties, but it’s also a superstar at filtering out formaldehyde. Aloe Vera doesn’t need too much sun, so put it in a well-lit room, water it every three to four days, and it (and you) will be a happy camper.
Cute name, tough plant. If you want to add some color to your pad, Garden Mums, aka Chrysanthemums, are the perfect choice. They come in many different colors and filter out all the bad stuff. Ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, benzene-you name it. In addition, these are very affordable, typically costing less than $5.
If you have a gift for killing every plant you come into contact with, this is the choice for you. Snake plants are known for their hardiness. They like to be watered occasionally and have some sun, but you can put them anywhere in your space and it will do just fine. In addition to formaldehyde and benzene, this plant friend filters out trichloroethylene and xylene.
You can find these plants and more at a number of garden stores in the downtown area. I recommend Paradise Palm on 307 E. Broadway or Western Gardens, located right behind Trolley Square. However, there are a number of local shops and nurseries like Thyme and Place, Cactus and Tropicals, or Millcreek Gardens that will have what you need and more.
Photo by Alaynia Winter