10 plants that can help purify the air in your home

I absolutely love this time of year. There is nothing more relaxing than strolling through the neighborhood on a warm spring day. Just seeing and smelling beautiful fragrant blooms on shrubs and trees is an instant mood-booster, not to mention that walking is great exercise.

It's common knowledge that plants actually help to improve air quality by filtering carbon dioxide and converting it to oxygen.


But did you know that the air inside your home can be more polluted than the air outside of it? Well, it's true. In fact, chemicals from paint, household cleaners and insect repellants can combine to create a hazardous environment for humans and animals alike.

One of the best ways to improve indoor air quality is by placing plants around your home. There are many plants that can help with air purification. The following plants are known for being excellent at filtering toxins from the air, as well as having other remarkable benefits. Note: If your family has pets, it's best to research which plants will best suit your home, as many are poisounous to cats and dogs.

• Aloe vera. Aloe vera grows in long pointed stalks. Not only is it great at filtering indoor air, but it is known for being nontoxic to children and animals, and is generally easy to maintain. In addition to these benefits, aloe happens to be an excellent treatment for the care of burned or chapped skin. Simply break off or cut a piece of the stalk. Once cut, the plant will secrete an oil that is soothing for irritated skin.

• Bamboo palm. While bamboo can be known to be quite invasive when cultivated outside, the bamboo palm can be contained to a pot and does well in areas that are shaded or outside of direct sunlight, which are common inside kitchens and bedrooms. Bamboo palms do require frequent watering, but should not be overwatered or they might not survive. This plant also acts as a decorative piece, as it produces attractive flowers and berries.

• Peace lily. The peace lily produces emerald-green leaves and large white blooms. Peace lilies grow well in shaded areas. They are also known to remove many of the harsh chemical pollutants from the air that come from paint or household cleaners. They are easy to care for, making them a common gift for housewarmings and bridal showers.

• Gerbera Daisy. Gerbera daisies are big, beautiful round flowers that come in several different attractive colors. Gerber daisies aren't thought of as houseplants, but they are excellent at cleaning the air, and they are a great way to add a punch of color to any room.

• Chrysanthemum. Chrysanthemums are vibrant plants that produce large, colorful blooms. Mums, as they are commonly called, are known to efficiently remove Benzene, a chemical found in cigarette smoke, from the air.

• Lavender. This sunlight-loving plant not only looks phenomenal, but it smells just as good. Lavender has tons of modern-day uses, including acting as a natural insect repellent. Keep a lavender plant in your kitchen to keep away fruit flies and gnats. The aroma of lavender is a widely recommended treatment for those who suffer from anxiety or sleep issues.

• Mint. Mint is a favorite for gardeners everywhere and is one of the most widely used herbs in the world. Mint plants love both sun and water, and are generally easy to grow. In fact, they might be growing in your garden without you even trying. Aside from air purification, mint is commonly used in cooking and for making tea and other beverages.

• Rosemary. Rosemary is an herb that is commonly used to add a savory flavor to sauces, soups and teas. Rosemary is a relatively small plant that has pointed, needle-like leaves. Rosemary is a great air purifier, and because it's evergreen, it can grow all year long.

• Geranium. Geraniums have a ton of great benefits. First, they are gorgeous when blooming and require very little care. A geranium can live for up to two weeks without water during the colder, drier fall and winter months. They do not require a lot of sun; however, the more sun they get, the more blooms they will have. This plant can have a strong aroma, but it is also known to be a natural mosquito repellent, which is a plus this time of year. This is an excellent houseplant for beginners, as it can be easily started by planting a clipping from another plant.

• Jasmine. This inexpensive plant is probably one of the most beautiful and best-smelling herbs you can grow. Bright green leaves are highlighted by small delicate blooms that open in the evening when temperatures tend to be lower. The scent of the jasmine plant is soft and light. It is a natural air purifier and odor neutralizer, and can be used to make herbal tea, too.

So break out your green thumb and add a few of these plants to your home for a colorful and wonderfully scented "walk in the park" — without even leaving the house.

Danielle Moser is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at