Air Cleaning House Plants for Indoor Spaces

  • 21 July 2011

Three common house plants for indoor use include Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans), Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), and Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum clevelandii). Choosing the right plant for an indoor space can enhance your air quality and indoor decor.

Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans): These plants are indoor-hardy and require low maintenance. Dracaena can be placed near indirect lighting, but make sure it gets enough sunlight for normal growth rate. The plants should have healthy foliage, firm trunks, and an established root system. The trunk shouldn’t be wilted or covered with brown foliage. Dracaena’s should be watered regularly and any excess sitting water should be drained and discarded. Too much water will cause the stems to become softer and possibly rot. Plants need minimal maintenance and should be dusted occasionally.

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum): Pothos are originally native to Southeast Asia and are highly suitable for indoor climates. Green varieties grow well with indoor, indirect sunlight. Variegated varieties need at least a medium amount of sunlight. Normal temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees are the best climate for growth. Anything exceeding an increase or decrease in these temperatures may cause the plant to require more water and/or movement to a warmer location. The plant may be misted weekly and doesn’t mind a little additional moisture. Make sure the soil drains well in between each watering. Spider mites may cause leaves to turn yellow and become rough. Spraying the plant with an insecticide or raising the level of moisture should deter any spider mites from returning. Pothos should be fertilized each month with a water soluble plant food. These plants grow quickly and should be pruned back accordingly.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum clevelandii): Excellent filter plant, removing pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzine and carbon monoxide. Peace lilies prefer low natural light and grow well indoors. The plant has been known to grow outdoors in shaded areas, in warm and humid climates. Peace lilies do not require large amounts of water unless the indoor temperatures are warm and indirect sunlight exposure exceeds more than five hours a day. The soil and root system should be soaked at least once a week and allowed to drain properly. You can tell if your plant is not receiving appropriate amounts of water. Too much water will cause the soil to be consistently moist and leaves will turn yellow; while inconsistent watering shows signs of wilted leaves and yellow-tipped foliage. Plants can be fertilized with a 20-20-20 water soluble fertilizer; too much application will result in brown spotted foliage. Diseases and pests are fairly uncommon with peace lilies, but can be controlled with proper care and maintenance. Repotting your peace lily may be all that it needs. Peace lilies also have simple pruning instructions. Remove any spent blooms and discolored leaves. These low-maintenance plants can also survive in hydroponic containers. Enjoy the house plants while they clean your air.