TOP TEN: Air-Purifying Plants for Home and Office
One of our most-commented on features at Banyan Workspace is the lushness of our stone planter in the Atrium. As a coworking space, we love our plants not just for their beauty and for creating a calming ambience for our members, but for their NASA-proven air-purification qualities (yes, seriously!). We all know that the outside air quality in Hong Kong is something that needs improvement. But even indoors, carpets, furniture, paints, clothing and building materials can emit pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. So if you are looking to “clean and green” your daily environment but aren’t sure where to start, we are sharing our TOP TEN choices for the best plants to pick.
1. Areca Palm
According to our friends at NASA, the Areca palm earned the very best rating for air purification. And if you are suffering from the sticky HK climate also, it has been shown to be as effective as an electric dehumidifier! Removes: formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, ammonia, trichloroethylene. Care plan: place in well-lit space, water when soil is half dried out.
2. Boston Fern
A little more high maintenance due to the fact they love the combination of high humidity and cool temperature, but their air-cleaning abilities are second-to-none. As well as being pretty and lush, the Boston Fern removes more formaldehyde from the air than any other plant. Removes: formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene. Care plan: place in indirect or dappled sunlight, away from dehumidifiers. Keep soil moist.
3. Bamboo Palm
Also known as the Reed Palm, the Bamboo palm is a beautifully lush plant that gives a tropical feel to your indoor environment. Like the Areca Palm, it is one of the top plant species that filter unwanted nasties from the air around you. Removes: formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene. Care plan: place in indirect sunlight away from heat/AC vents, keep soil moist.
4. Peace Lily
Easy to look after and beautiful to look at, the Peace Lily adds a touch of elegance to our planters. They grow quickly and, if happy in their location, can produce their famous blooms several times a year. Removes: formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide. Care plan: keep away from direct sunlight at all times. Keep soil moist.
5. Spider Plant
A great choice for beginners, the spider plant is one of the easiest plants to maintain. Because of the way it shoots out flowers that eventually become little baby spider plants, they work great on shelves where they can gracefully hang down. Removes: formaldehyde, xylene. Care plan: water 2-3 times a week, depending on sunlight
6. Weeping Fig
Commonly found in HK with their slender branches braided together, the Weeping Fig is an elegant addition to any apartment or office, with rich green leaves. They can be the centre of attention in a single pot, or positioned in a planter and pruned into a hedge. Removes: formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene. Care plan: prefer brightly-lit rooms, moist soil and a consistent watering schedule.
7. Goldon Pothos
Another great plant for a raised planter or shelf, due to its pretty trailing vines. Their wide, heart-shaped leaves can be green or variegated, and they will also put up with artificial light conditions if that’s all you have, which make them one of the easiest plants to grow. Removes: formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, toluene, xylene, benzene. Care plan: place in bright indirect light if possible. Allow soil to dry a little between watering.
A popular and tough group of plants that include Ti Tree and Song of India, Dracaena make a stunning centrepiece for your dragon pot, with their variegated leaves providing depth and interest. Most varieties are easy to grow indoors. Removes: formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, carbon dioxide. Care plan: While D. Draco can withstand full sun and drier soil, most varieties prefer light shade and moist soil.
9. Rhapis Palm
This small fan palm is perfect if you have an empty corner that you would like to fill. Like the large outdoor varieties, it grows from multiple stems, each one topped with a fan-like spread of dark green leaves, bringing a gentile elegance to your space. Removes: formaldehyde, ammonia. Care plan: Enjoys dappled light, liberal watering and good soil drainage
10. Snake Plant
Sometimes referred to as “Mother-in-law’s Tongue”, the Snake Plant is ubiquitous in Hong Kong for its ability to survive the least green-fingered owners! While it prefers bright light, it can endure low light for long periods of time, and needs very little maintenance. Removes: formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, trichloroethylene, nitrogen oxide. Care plan: Enjoys bright light, even if just occasionally. Don’t over-water it.