Clean breathing is the latest wellness trend, and it involves buying more plants

recent study revealed that air pollution has a massive impact on our health, impacting world economies in both medical costs and lost labour, so it’s no wonder we’re on the lookout for ways to improve the air we breathe. Cue ‘Clean breathing’ the latest buzzword in holistic wellness that you’re going to hear everywhere.  

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According to Pinterest, saves for ‘air-purifying plants’ have increased by 270% as we’re hunting for greener alternatives to minimising pollution in our homes and offices. But why plants? Well, take your seats, class, because it’s time for a biology refresh.

“All plants have the ability to change carbon dioxide into vital oxygen for the planet,” explains Heather Godard-Key of Fibrex Nurseries, “and this is exactly why we need them in the environment — they are the “lungs of the planet.”

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 But absorbing CO2 and providing us with the oxygen we need to breathe isn’t their only talent, as there are a whole host of potentially dangerous substances that they can also zap from the air, improving your chances of clean breathing.

“The beauty of various different plants is how they can absorb things like formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia, acetone and many other different kinds of nasties,” explains Heather. “Things that give off these substances can vary from paint to glue and smoking. Even photocopiers in the office.”

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That’s right — your decorative desk succulent could be doing more good than you think.

“If you have a plant reasonably close to appliances like these, it will be very good at absorbing all of the rubbish, not to mention the other stuff that modern day living pumps out into the air,” Heather says. “You’ll be doing yourself and everyone around you an enormous favour.”

Here are the prettiest air-purifying plants to fill your home or office with right now…

1. Ivy

What does it do?

Fun fact: Both English Ivy and Devil’s Ivy were tested in NASA’s Clean Air Study and proven to guzzle pollutants such as formaldehyde (found in manufactured wood and glues), benzene (in some household cleaners and paint) and xylene (in various paints and adhesives) from the air.

And breathe…

How to keep it

Don’t worry, we’re not talking rampant climbers, here. According to Heather, small-leafed varieties of ivy are just as effective at filtering the air, and they look insanely pretty planted into pots, cascading down or tumbling over the edge of a shelf or desk. They are also tolerant of low light which means they’ll flourish even in a stuffy, windowless office.

Love a bathroom hanging plant #hangingivy

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2. Peace Lily

What does it do?

The peace lily is unsurpassed when it comes to purifying the air, so much so, that NASA placed it at number one on their list of plants tested. “The Peace Lily pretty much takes everything out of the air, especially acetone,” explains Heather — yep, the stuff found in most nail polish removers. “Of course, it’s beautiful and extremely easy to look after, too.”

How to keep it

Peace Lillies need to be placed in a warm, indoor room, preferably one that gets some direct sunlight. Simply water them at least once a week, or when the soil looks dry.

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3. Fern

What does it do?

“Ferns are great for removing xylene and toulene (both solvents) from the air,” explains Heather, “and this makes them particularly useful if you are living or working in a new build and the walls have been freshly painted or wallpapered.”

See ya, toxic smells.

How to keep it

From Boston to Royal, there are so many different ferns to choose from, but there’s something really elegant about the Soft Shield Fern. That and the fact that it’s pretty hardy, so can be grown indoors. All it needs is moderate watering.

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4. Orchid

What does it do?

Given your bedroom a fresh lick of paint recently? Buy an orchid for its clever ability to devour harmful substances like formaldehyde and xylene, often found in various paint formulations.

“Orchids are good to have in a room that just has been freshly decorated,” says Heather, “because they will absorb all of the chemicals in the paint. Plus, they look beautiful.”

How to keep it

Orchids only need watering about once a week so you can book that holiday safe in the knowledge that it’ll still be in bloom when you return. The only difficult part? Deciding on the colour.

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5. Anthurium

What does it do?

“Years ago, Anthuriums were really trendy but they went out of favour,” says Heather. “Now that they are back in style, we have the added bonus of not only seeing them as architectural plants that look great, but plants that are actually doing us a lot of good.” And there isn’t much anthuriums won’t draw from the air.

How to keep it

This one is really easy. Anthuriums need high light but not direct sunlight, which makes them perfect for any living room or office, and they only need to be watered once a week or so.


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6. Dracaena Massangeana or Corn Plant

What does it do?

Another plant featured in NASA’s Clean Air Study, this two-tone beauty obliterates all manner of toxic substances from the air, including trichloroethylene, benzine and formaldehyde. It can grow pretty big, but according to Heather, the larger the plant, the more oxygen you get from it.

How to keep it

This likes partial sun, not full light, and the trick is to keep the soil damp, not sopping wet.

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7. Mother In Law’s Tongue

What does it do?

Not only does this spiky-leaved plant counteract thrichloroethylene, xylene, formaldehyde, tolulene and benzine but it gives off oxygen at night to help you breathe clean while you catch those Zs.

How to keep it

Mother In Law’s Tongue has adapted to life indoors and prefers warmer environments. You only need to water it when the soil feels dry.

Our Snake plants Vera and Susie are the ideal plants for a Sunday morning lie in! They give off oxygen during the night which makes for a refreshing sleep – perfect for the bedroom!

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From: Elle UK

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