August 3, 2018

8 Houseplants for People with Allergy to Formaldehyde

For many of us, our home is the safest place on earth. However, even there, you may be exposed to various toxic chemicals that are harmful to your health. One of the most common chemicals found in people’s homes is known as formaldehyde. It is a volatile organic compound emitted by many household products and furniture. Exposure to this chemical may cause cancer in humans. Some people may also develop an asthma attack or allergy to formaldehyde, when it’s present in high concentrations.



In 1989, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conducted a study, whose goal was to determine whether houseplants were able to eliminate toxic chemicals from the air and which plants were more effective.

The researchers were aiming to find the natural way to filter air at space stations. According to the findings, there are many kinds of plants that help to eliminate chemicals from indoor air. Some plants were found to be more effective against certain chemicals than others.

When it comes to formaldehyde, the study identified eight plants that were better at removing this chemical. Those include: rubber tree, peace lily, spider plant, money plant, dumb cane, moth orchid, snake plant, and philodendron.

Thus, if you are looking for some greenery to reduce the levels of formaldehyde in your home, you can try these plants. They are easy to maintain, inexpensive, efficient, and beautiful!

NASA recommend that you add at least one plant per 100 sq. ft. in your home, which is about one house plants per room. Depending on the size of your home, you may need from 10 to 20 plants to maintain the quality of indoor air.

#1: Rubber Tree


Rubber tree, or Ficus elastica, belongs to the ficus family. There are many different types of rubber plants, and it’s generally very easy to keep indoors. Infrequent watering doesn’t cause damage to rubber tree. However, they maintained better in medium to high light. Make sure there is time to dry between watering days.

The milky latex releasing when the rubber plant leave is broken is used to maker natural rubber, which is why the plant got its name. Remember that this latex is harmful, when ingested.

#2: Peace Lily


Like rubber plants, peace lilies are very easy to maintain indoors. They need low to medium amounts of water and sunlight. In low light conditions, this plant will even bloom. As soon as you see peace lily leaves droop, it means that the plant needs to be watered. If the leaves start to yellow, you should reduce the amount of sunlight the plant receives. Avoid ingesting the leaves, as they can be harmful to humans and pets.

#3: Spider Plant


Spider plant is another easy-to-maintain houseplant. The plant got its name for its arachnid-like shape, as well as its growth pattern. Spider plants usually tolerate sparse watering and low light conditions. Dry and brown tips indicate the fluoride in your tap water. They are known to flourish in hanging baskets that are rotated for better distribution of sunlight. Spider plants bloom with white flowers.

#4: Money Plant


Money plant is also commonly known as golden pothos. This durable and fast-growing houseplant feels best in medium to high light, and it doesn’t require much water. However, low light conditions won’t affect the color of their leaves either.

You can put it in a hanging basket or in a traditional pot. They can also grow on top of aquariums with their roots on the water. Make sure to keep the plant out of reach of pets (and kids), as ingesting money plant will cause intoxication.

#5: Dumb Cane


You may have heard about this plant under another name – a mother-in-law plant. Dumb cane prefers moderate watering and light conditions. You should be careful with the raphides on this plant, as these are poisonous.

When dumb cane grows, its old leaves fall off letting new leaves appear. Yellow leaves may indicate that the soil is weak. In this case, it would be a good idea to repot the plant with new soil.

#6: Moth Orchid


Orchids are often sold at grocery stores and supermarkets. They are among the best houseplants for removing indoor chemicals. If you want your orchids to last longer, however, you may need to take more care of them. In fact, these flowers can stay alive for more than one blooming season. To start with, you may want to remove any florists moss and put the plant into a well-draining pot.

Orchids require moderate watering. You can also use a good orchid fertilizer to maintain the plant better.

#7: Snake Plant


Snake plant is one of the easiest houseplants in the world. This plant is great for people with any level of experience in gardening. Snake plants don’t need much watering, so make sure not to over-water it. Avoid watering the plant, if the soil is still wet. You can place it in any corner of your home, as it can thrive even in low light conditions.

Snake plant prefers to be left alone, which means you shouldn’t bother taking too much care of it daily. Just let the plant be happy and do the job!

#8: Philodendron


There are many different types of philodendrons. You can find some plants with larger leaves and others with heart-shaped leaves, and they also can differ in colors. If you provide the plant with the right conditions, philodendron will thrive and grow happily.

Most plants of this family prefer bright light, so you should use as much indoor light as possible to maintain the plant alive. Philodendrons don’t like much watering. Usually, you should wait about 10 days between watering, and always make sure the soil dries out fully. Philodendrons are a great option for homes with a lot of indoor light.

How to Keep the Plants Alive and Thriving?


When you bring a new plant home from the store, don’t re-pot immediately. Instead leave it in a plastic pot, in which it comes originally, for some period. It is also recommended to water the plant frequently for the first several days. Make sure the plastic pot drains well. Don’t put the plant into a dark area of your home. Even if you plan to move it into an area with low light, make sure to fully acclimate the plant first. Usually, the period of acclimatization takes about two weeks. If you don’t take these measures, the plant may go into shock.

Over-watering is a common mistake, which is not tolerated by most plants. Under-watering can also be a problem. Experts recommend waiting until the plant dries out a bit before watering it again. When watering, make sure the water is soaked well. It may be a good idea to water your plants in a bath or shower. If you do, make sure to fully douse them and drain. Never pot your plants in containers the don’t have drain holes. The best option for the majority of plants would be a classic tera cotta pot, which allows the plant to breath and lets the water drain well.

When your plant outgrows their pot, make sure to re-pot them in a new pot with fresh soil. Generally, you should re-pot your plants every two years. Once you notice the roots of a plant above the soil or if the plant seems too large for its pot, you should replace the pot with a new one which is 2” wider.

A good quality fertilizer can also be beneficial for most plants. Usually, experts recommend using a fertilizer during the spring, summer and fall months. While there’s a specific blend designed for orchids, other plants are usually okay with a common fertilizer. Remember to clean the leaves of a plant before applying a liquid fertilizer. Thus, the plant will be more receptive to the nutrition.

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