8 Indoor Plants That Could Help to Keep Your Home Cool
Instead of going for good looks alone, choose plants that can help to reduce the temperature indoors
Some plants will also help to flush out carbon dioxide and toxins from the atmosphere at the same time. All this and they’ll beautify the plainest of interiors for not much money. Here are eight of the best to look for.
Renowned for its medicinal benefits, particularly for skin issues such as insect bites and burns, this amazing succulent has many other valuable qualities. The high water content in its leaves means that, when it transpires, it releases cool evaporated moisture into the air.
Because it also absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen at night, keeping an aloe vera plant in the bedroom can help you sleep better. Another reason for putting aloe vera at the top of the list? Scientists say that it helps to remove formaldehyde and benzene from the air, too.
Tip: Plants prefer a reasonable amount of sun with regular watering in the warmer months, but very little moisture during winter.
This small palm, native to Central America, rarely reaches two metres and its large leaves mean it can act as an excellent air humidifier. Bamboo palm is also very good at filtering out benzene and trichloroethylene from the atmosphere.
Another small indoor palm tree that’s highly rated for its air humidifying and purifying abilities is the areca (Dypsis lutescens). A mature tree will transpire nearly a litre of evaporated moisture per day.
Tip: Grow in bright, indirect light and keep leaves misted during hot weather.
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One of the few trees that grows well indoors in containers, weeping fig normally reaches about two to three metres. Its leafy nature means there’s a high rate of transpiration, which keeps the air around a weeping fig moist and cool. It can also decontaminate the air by absorbing any heavy metal particles that are present.
Tip: Position plants in medium light and water regularly during warmer months, allowing the top half of the potting mix to dry out in between.
As well as releasing oxygen during the night to refresh the atmosphere, this sculptural succulent is rated by NASA as one of the best plants for removing indoor pollutants such as benzene and formaldehyde.
Tip: Position in full-sun or part-shade, water moderately during spring and summer, but keep soil reasonably dry during winter.
The more leaf area a plant has, the higher the amount of oxygen and moisture it releases during transpiration. The lush leaves of the peace lily, especially the larger types, are therefore invaluable for helping to cool the air in a room. Scientists from NASA, the University of Technology Sydney and elsewhere also rate the peace lily highly in their studies of plants that can reduce toxins in buildings.
Tip: Position plants in indirect light and keep room temperature above 12°C. Water regularly (less in winter) and mist leaves often if the air is dry.
Many ferns act as natural air humidifiers and Boston fern is one of the best. It’s also a very good air purifier and on the list of plants that scientists have singled out for their ability to clean the air of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) such as formaldehyde and benzene.
Tip: Like most ferns, it does better in filtered light, so avoid sunny spots. Early-morning winter light is ideal. Ferns dislike dry air, so if your home is heated, make sure you mist your Boston fern frequently.
With its lush mass of large, heart- shaped leaves, this evergreen vine from French Polynesia is an ideal air humidifier. It also gets the big tick from scientists for removing indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and carbon monoxide.
One of the most popular indoor plants due to its tolerance of low light and minimal water, devil’s ivy has many cultivars with a variety of different leaf variegations. Be aware, however, that its leaves are toxic.
Making a comeback after many years in the style wilderness, the spider plant is deservedly popular with newbie plant lovers, as it’s one of the easiest plants to grow. Like the other plants in this story, it will not only help to cool the air in your home, it will also absorb some of the toxins present as well.
Tip: Happy in bright, filtered light or semi-shade, spider plants need a well-drained potting mix and frequent watering in the warmer months. Mature plants produce tiny plantlets on the ends of stems that can be cut off and potted up to create new plants very easily.
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