NASA Guide to Air-Filtering Houseplants

By:  Lynsey Bish

Surprisingly modern furnishings, synthetic building materials, and even your own carpet carry more chemicals than expected and can make up to 90 percent of indoor air pollution. NASA researchers Clean Air study found that plants can play a major role in effectively removing benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, ammonia, and xylene from the air. This list of chemicals have been linked to health effects like headaches and eye irritation.

So how do houseplants clean the air? Carbon dioxide and some particulates for the air are processed into oxygen though photosynthesis, but that’s not all! Microorganisms associated with the plants are present in potting soil, and responsible for much of the air purification. Beyond air purification indoor plants have shown to boost our mood. For example, patients who were placed in a recovery room after surgery with plants were more positive and had lower stress and blood pressure.[1]

For those of us who don’t really have a green thumb, I’ve selected five indoor houseplants that are almost impossible to kill.

Spider Plant

(Image from lovethegarden.com)

Spider plants are one of the easiest plants to take care of. So, if you forget about watering it for a few days, it’s okay! If you do notice that it is particularly dry, hang them in the bathroom while you’re in the shower. Spider Plants are non-toxic to pets and children. They love bright, indirect sunlight and can grow in any soil.

Pollutants removed: formaldehyde and xylene

Snake Plant/Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

This plant is one of the hardest houseplants to kill, just make sure that you water it occasionally. Although, this plant does prefer drier conditions and some sun.

Pollutants removed: formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is one of my personal favorite houseplants, in addition to being easy to care for; aloe has some hidden additional benefits. This plant is full of a clear liquid that is packed with vitamins, enzymes, and amino acids that have wound-healing, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Pollutant removed: formaldehyde

Peace Lily    

You may not think that a Peace Lily will really make a difference with air purification based on its size, but it packs a punch with some major air-cleaning abilities. They enjoy shady areas and a moist soil. Just be mindful that they do bloom throughout the summer which can contribute some pollen and floral scents.

Pollutants removed: ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene

Garden Mum

The Garden Mum is the air-purifying champion! This plant is inexpensive and available at local garden stores. Mums love light and lots of water. They are simple to grow and to propagate. Mum’s bloom through the months when other plants are completely spent. Take advantage of this unique plant and spruce up your home or office with an array of colorful Mums.

Pollutants removed: ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene

 


[1] Park, Seong-Hyun, and Richard H. Mattson. “Ornamental Indoor Plants in Hospital Rooms Enhanced Health Outcomes of Patients Recovering from Surgery.” The Journal of Alternativeand Complementary Medicine 15.9 (2009): 975-80. Web.

 

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Day of Clean Up 2017

This morning, our employees were fortunate enough to be able to help our friends at Allegheny West clean up our neighborhood again.  About 20 employees took time out of their busy day to help pull weeds, dig up plants, and plant new flowers in the garden at the corner of Western and Brighton Roads.  For three hours we worked tirelessly to create a welcoming and beautiful garden area.

Babb Gives Back is a community outreach program that allows our employees to get involved with our local community.  The Day of Clean Up with Allegheny West began three years ago and has continued to be successful.  Giving back to our community and local non-profits is important to us.  The positive impact this program has on the lives of others and our employees is something we feel passionate about and will continue to keep giving back.

Indoor Herb Garden

Are you itching to get your garden started now that spring is here? We certainly are.  There is nothing better than using fresh herbs in all of your recipes.

When starting an indoor or porch garden, you must remember that these herbs need at least 4 hours of sunlight to grow properly.  They also like to be kept in similar temperatures that we do, between 60-70°F.

Each plant is different, so they need to be watered accordingly.  Most won’t need to be watered every day, so you can wait until the soil is slightly dry to water them again.  Plants like basil, mint, parsley, and chives however, like to grow in slightly moist soil.  But, remember this, one way to ruin a plant and cause its roots to rot, is to let it sit, oversaturated in water.  The best way to tell if a plant needs to be watered is to stick your finger about an inch down into the soil to see if it is dry.  If the soil is dry, it is in need of hydration.

Choosing the proper pots is also important when curating your indoor herb garden.  Clay pots are porous and tend to soak up the water your plants need so you will end up watering than more than necessary.  Try glazed or plastic pots for indoor plants that won’t dry out your plants.  The most important thing to make sure is that your pots have drainage holes.  You can use rubber, plastic, or metals plates underneath your pots to catch the excess water runoff.  Start with pots that are at least 6 inches around to give your herbs the room to grow.

For creative ways to house your herb garden, check out Brit & Co’s “20 Ways to Start and Indoor Garden” list for a lot of great, innovative, and space saving ideas.

Don’ts:

  • DO NOT use 1 planter for all of your plants.
    • They each need their own room to grow.
  • DO NOT just use any dirt you find outside.
    • Since these plants won’t be planted in the ground, they will be missing out on the natural nutrients the soil provides them.
    • Use potting soil that is rich in nutrients.
  • DO NOT over water your plants.
    • Give the plant some time to soak up that water and for its soil to dry out a bit.
    • If you see yellow leaves on your plants, which means you are overwatering.

And remember this, your plants will tell you when something is wrong with them.

Below are some of our recommendations for herbs to grow indoors all year long.

Basil

  • Needs as much sun as possible.
  • Keep the soil moist, but well-drained.
  • Benefits
    • Anti-inflammatory & anti-bacterial which helps the body fight disease
    • Great anti-oxidant
    • Cancer fighter
    • Pain & fever reducer
    • Immune system booster
  • Favorite Use: in Caprese salads, with strawberries in water

Mint

  • Can thrive in minimal light, but it is best if you can get it a few hours of sunlight a day.
  • Benefits
    • Helps with digestion & weight loss
    • Nausea, fatigue, & headache relief
    • Helps with memory loss
    • Good for your skin since it is an anti-inflammatory & for relieving dryness on your scalp
  • Favorite Use: combined with fruit in water

Parsley

  • Parsley loves to be drenched in sunlight and having moist soil.
  • Benefits
    • Packed with every essential daily vitamin
    • Aids in bone health
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Immune booster
    • Aids digestion
    • Contains antioxidants that battle the effects of aging
  • Favorite Use: in Israeli Salad (check out our recipe)

Thyme

  • Grows best when is has 6 hours of sunlight a day.
  • Benefits
    • Natural insect repellant
    • Useful in antiseptics
    • Helps lower blood pressure
    • Has antibacterial properties
    • Immunity booster
    • Used to help lessen stomach issues
  • Favorite Use: as a substitute for dried parsley in soups

Rosemary

  • The best way to grow Rosemary indoors is to start with a plant from a nursery, not with seeds, and plant in fresh, dry soil.
  • Benefits
    • Has memory boosting capabilities
    • Pain reliever
    • Protector of your immune system
    • Detoxes your body
    • Anti-aging properties
    • Helps heal skin conditions because of its antiseptic properties
      • Acne
      • Eczema
      • Psoriasis
      • Dandruff
    • Promotes healthy hair and growth
  • Favorite Use: as a finishing touch with fish and chicken dishes

 


https://bonnieplants.com/library/how-to-grow-herbs-indoors/

http://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2012/01/13­_herbs_worth_growing_indoors.html

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/gardening/advice/a19745/winter-herb-garden/