Th­ese plants can im­prove in­door air qual­ity -

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In­door air qual­ity is not of­ten an is­sue in the warmer months, when many home­own­ers open their win­dows to let the fresh air of the great out­doors en­ter their homes in abun­dance. But once the temperatures be­gin to dip and win­dows start to close, in­door air qual­ity can suf­fer. Musty air is not only un­com­fort­able, it’s also un­healthy. Volatile or­ganic com­pounds, or VOCs, can build up in­side a home, es­pe­cially when win­dows are kept shut for long stretches of time, which is of­ten the case in win­ter. In­door plants can counter such stale air, in some cases fil­ter­ing out VOCs to make the air in­side a home more breath­able and healthy. The fol­low­ing are a hand­ful of house­plants that can im­prove in­door air qual­ity.

• Aloe: Many of us know aloe for its restora­tive prop­er­ties with re­gard to treat­ing burns and cuts, but aloe also im­proves in­door air qual­ity by help­ing to clear a home of the byprod­ucts, in­clud­ing formalde­hyde, of chem­i­cal­based house­hold clean­ers. Aloe loves the sun, so if you hope to keep an aloe plant healthy through the win­ter, be sure to place the plant in a win­dow that gets lots of sun ex­po­sure through­out the day.

• Ger­ber daisy: Like aloe, a ger­ber daisy needs am­ple sun­light, and tends to only with­stand win­ters in warmer cli­mates. But home­own­ers who live in such cli­mates may still keep their win­dows closed in win­ter, and those that do can use th­ese color­ful, low-main­te­nance flow­ers to re­move trichloroethy­lene, a chem­i­cal that clothes may be ex­posed to dur­ing the dry clean­ing process.

• Golden pothos: The golden pothos can sur­vive a win­ter, but home­own­ers should be care­ful not to let the plant dry out, which can hap­pen if they are di­rectly ex­posed to sun­light. A golden pothos vine will grow quickly, so a hang­ing bas­ket is a great way to keep one in­side a home, where the plant can help fight formalde­hyde.

• Fi­cus ben­jam­ina: Also known as a weep­ing fig, the fi­cus ben­jam­ina can be dif­fi­cult to over­win­ter. But that does not mean your fi­cus ben­jam­ina, which can fil­ter pol­lu­tants such as ben­zene, formalde­hyde and trichloroethy­lene from a home, won’t make it through the win­ter. You just need to fig­ure out the right wa­ter­ing and light con­di­tions for the plant. Such con­di­tions can be dis­cussed with a gar­den­ing pro­fes­sional.

• War­neck dra­caena: The war­neck dra­caena, or dra­caena dere­men­sis, fights pol­lu­tants cre­ated by var­nishes and oils. The war­neck dra­caena is a sturdy house­plant that is dif­fi­cult to kill, but it still thrives in temperatures that are between 70 F and 80 F.


Ger­ber daisies, a low-main­te­nance flower, need am­ple sun­light and tends to only with­stand win­ters in warmer cli­mates.

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