Easy to maintain indoor plants to improve quality of air

Easy to maintain indoor plants to improve quality of air

Bangalore has an allergic weather. I get asthmatic attacks once in a while.

I did some research to find out if there are easy to maintain indoor plants to improve quality of air. I found Kamal Meattle.

He was allergic to Delhi's air. His lung capacity went down to 70 percent. He was slowly dying. He then contact IIT Delhi and the Tata Energy Research Institute (Now called TERI). With the help of learning from NASA, they discovered the three magical indoor plants that are easy to maintain and keep the air fresh and healthy.

They are:

  1. Areca Palm
  2. Mother-in-Law's Tongue
  3. Money plant

Areca Palm

Areca Palm consumes CO2 and converts it into Oxygen. You will need at least three 4-feet high plants per member of your family at home. Make sure you wipe the leaves clean with a wet cloth or wash them using water once a week. Take them outdoors once in three to four months. Add organic manure as necessary. Water them once in two or three days days. Do not over-water them.

 Areca Palm

Mother-in-Law's Tongue

Mother-in-Law's tongue is a common plant. Call it the bedroom plant if you like. It goes to work while you are asleep. It convert CO2 into oxygen at night. You will need at least four 3-feet high plants per person at home.

Mother-in-Law's Tongu

Money Plant

Money plant can be grown in water. I have written a blog on how to grow a money plant in water at home. Money plant removes removes formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, benzene, xylene, and other volatile chemicals often found in wall paints and other chemicals used at homes.

You can grow all the fresh air you need at home with these plants. You may have heard about a terrarium. You can put these three plants in a terrarium and go into it yourself and live forever. You will not need any fresh air at all!

Money Plant

Indoor Air Quality Study Proof

Kamal had tried these plants at their own building in Delhi. It is a 50,000-square-feet, 20-year-old building. It has close to 1,200 such plants for 300 occupants. He has done extensive studies on the effect of these three plants and their effect on blood oxygen levels. His studies found that the blood oxygen level going by 1% within 10 hours of someone staying inside with these plants.

His building has been declared as the healthiest building by the Government of India in New Delhi.

Apart from improving air quality, they found other benefits of these indoor plants:

  1. Reduction in eye irritation by 52%
  2. Reduction in respiratory complaints by 34%
  3. Reduction in headaches by 24%
  4. Reduction in lung disease by 12%
  5. Reduction in Asthma by 9%
  6. Improvement in productivity by 20%
  7. Reduction in building energy requirements by 15% because you need less fresh air
  8. Reduction in sick building syndrome by 50%

The study has been published on the government of India website. You can read it here.

You can watch the TED video of Kamal here.

FAQ on the Three Indoor Plants That Purify Air

How much of sunlight is required for the three plants?

All three plants can thrive in indirect light from the sun. They do not require direct sunlight. You can keep them indoors away in your bedroom and living room. Once in three to four months, keep them out in the balcony or front or backyard or rooftop for a few days. They may still require diffused light as light from a window or florescent light. They are a hardy plant variety and will thrive in indirect sunlight. They will stay as green plants and fight pollution in homes and reduce cost of air-conditioning systems make your home naturally energy efficient, too. Of course, Bangalore is an air-conditioned city and with these three plants you can remove harmful gases, reduce levels of air pollution and maintain a greener atmosphere & health for your family.

Why does indoor air quality matter?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is important because we spend most of our time indoors. We breathe in polluted air every day, and this affects our health.

Air pollution causes respiratory problems, asthma attacks, and lung cancer. The World Health Organization estimates that outdoor air pollution kills 7 million people each year worldwide. Indoor air pollution is responsible for another 4 million deaths annually.

According to the EPA, indoor air pollutants include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), radon gas, formaldehyde, lead, mercury, asbestos, bacteria, viruses, mold spores, pollen, dust mites, cockroaches, rodents, insects, and smoke.

Pollutants in indoor air can be generated by building materials, furnishings, appliances, heating/cooling systems, cleaning supplies, paints, solvents, carpets, furniture, lighting, and ventilation systems.

How can indoor air quality affect your health?

According to the American Lung Association, poor IAQ can cause allergies, asthma, bronchitis, and sinus infections. Poor IAQ can also trigger headaches, fatigue, nausea, and dizziness.

Poor IAQ can also contribute to the spread of infectious diseases, including colds, flu, and tuberculosis. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that poor IAQ increases the risk of contracting influenza by 50 percent.

If you're concerned about your indoor air quality, there are many things you can do to improve it. You can install an air purifier, use natural ventilation techniques, reduce humidity levels, clean frequently used items, and keep pets out of the house.

You can also take steps to prevent the spread of contaminants in your home. Clean regularly, vacuum often, wash bedding and clothing, and remove pet hair from carpeting.

Can houseplants trigger allergies or asthma?

Houseplants can be great for improving the quality of air indoors. They remove airborne particles, including pollen, dust, mold spores, and pet dander.

However, some houseplants can trigger allergic reactions or asthma attacks. The most common culprits include ragweed, chrysanthemums, and English ivy.

If you're concerned about triggering allergies or asthma, keep these tips in mind:

  • Avoid planting houseplants near windows. This reduces exposure to outdoor allergens.
  • Choose houseplants that don't produce large amounts of pollen or mold spores.
  • Keep houseplants away from pets and children.
  • Clean houseplants regularly. Dust them off after each use. Remove any dead leaves or flowers.
  • Don't plant houseplants in areas where there's excessive moisture or humidity.
  • Use potting soil instead of dirt when growing houseplants. Dirt contains bacteria and fungi that may cause respiratory problems.
  • Check with your doctor before giving houseplants to kids. Children who suffer from allergies or asthma should avoid houseplants because they could worsen their condition.

How do you re-pot indoor plants?

Plants need water, sunlight, fertilizer, and room temperature. But most importantly, they need to be watered regularly.

If you're not careful, your indoor plants can quickly become overgrown and out of control. This makes them hard to care for and increases the risk of pests and diseases.

To avoid this problem, keep your indoor plants well-watered and fertilized. Also, repotting is important because it helps prevent root rot and encourages healthy growth.

Repotting is simple. Simply remove the plant from its pot, wash off any dirt, and add fresh soil. Then place the plant back in the new pot.

When repotting, use only fresh, clean soil. Avoid using recycled potting mix, which may contain chemicals that can harm your plants.

Also, when repotting, make sure to select a large enough pot. Larger pots hold more soil and allow roots to spread out. Smaller pots limit the amount of soil available to absorb moisture and nutrients.

Too much sunlight can cause leaves to burn. So if your indoor plants get too much sun, move them to a shaded area until their leaves recover.

How do you prune indoor plants?

Indoor plants need to be pruned regularly to keep them healthy and beautiful.

Pruning is the process of removing unwanted parts of a plant, including dead leaves, branches, flowers, and twigs. Pruning helps prevent disease and pests from spreading through the plant.

There are two ways to prune indoor plants: manually and mechanically.

Manually: This method involves cutting off the unwanted parts of the plant with scissors or shears.

Mechanically: This method uses tools such as clippers, loppers, and saws to remove unwanted parts of the plant.

Both methods work well, but manual pruning is usually preferred because it's faster and easier. However, if you're not comfortable with pruning, consider hiring a professional gardener to help you.

What are some of the common reasons indoor plants die?

Plants need water, sunlight, nutrients, and proper care to thrive. But most importantly, they need oxygen.

Oxygen is essential for plant life, and when there isn't enough available, plants become stressed. This stress causes them to produce extra chemicals called phytochemicals, which protect against disease and pests.

But too much stress can cause plants to wilt and die. The reason is simple: Plants don't breathe. They absorb oxygen through tiny pores called stomata. These pores open during times of stress, allowing oxygen to enter the plant.

When the stomata close, however, oxygen cannot escape. And this lack of oxygen leads to cell damage and death.

That's why indoor plants should be watered regularly and given adequate light. Also, keep an eye out for signs of pest infestation, such as wilting leaves and yellowing stems.

If you suspect your indoor plants are suffering from insufficient oxygen, try adding a humidifier or misting system to your home. This will help ensure adequate amounts of oxygen reach your plants.

Also, consider planting a variety of different types of plants, including herbs, ferns, and succulents. These plants require less maintenance than tropical plants, and their compact shapes allow them to fit easily into small spaces.

Finally, if you're looking to add some greenery to your office space, consider growing houseplants indoors. These plants are relatively inexpensive, require very little maintenance, and provide a pleasant scent.

How long do indoor plants typically live?

On average, indoor plants live for 2-5 years.

How do indoor plants affect people’s moods?

Indoor plants are great for improving the quality of our homes and offices. They help us feel happier, healthier, and calmer. But did you know that indoor plants also help us breathe better?

Plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. This process helps keep our environment clean and healthy.

But indoor plants don't just benefit humans. They also help reduce stress and improve productivity. Studies show that office workers who plant flowers in their workspace experience lower blood pressure and improved concentration. And employees who work in green spaces report feeling happier and more productive.

And since plants require very little maintenance, they're perfect for busy families and small businesses. So whether you're looking for a way to relax at home or boost employee morale, indoor plants are a smart investment.

Are indoor plants expensive?

Indoor air plants are not expensive. You can buy them from an online nursery from 50 to 500 rupees per plant.

What is the best kind of indoor plant fertilizer to use?

Use organic plant fertilizer. Try UrbanMali online nursery.

How do I get rid of bugs on indoor plants?

If you're looking for ways to keep your indoor plants healthy and bug free, here are some tips to help you out.

First, don't use pesticides or insecticides on your indoor plants. They can be toxic to humans and animals, and they may damage your indoor plants' roots. Use organic pesticides. Check our online nursery.

Second, try to avoid over watering your indoor plants. Watering too often causes them to grow too fast, which leads to root rot. Instead, water your indoor plants when they need it.

Third, clean your indoor plants regularly. This includes cleaning off any leaves that fall off, removing dead leaves, and rinsing off dirt and dust.

Fourth, remove weeds from your indoor plants. Weeds compete with your indoor plants for nutrients, sunlight, and space. Removing weeds helps your indoor plants thrive.

Fifth, fertilize your indoor plants once every two weeks. Fertilizing your indoor plants helps them grow strong and vibrant.

Sixth, repot your indoor plants every three years. Repotting allows you to change the soil mix and add fresh potting medium.

Finally, watch out for pests. Pests eat away at your indoor plants, causing them to wilt and die. To prevent pest infestations, keep your indoor plants well ventilated and dry.

How do I know when to water my indoor plant?

Indoor plants need to be watered regularly. Too often, homeowners forget to water them. This leads to wilting leaves, browning stems, and dying flowers.

To avoid this problem, keep track of how long your indoor plants last between watering sessions. The longer your plants survive between waterings, the better.

If you're not sure whether your indoor plants need water, here are some signs that they may be thirsty:

  • Leaves droop downward.
  • Stems turn yellowish.
  • Flowers wilt.
  • Plants become spindly.
  • Water droplets appear on leaves.
  • Leaves begin to curl at edges.
  • Roots rot.
  • Foliage turns brown.
  • Stem tips die back.

Next Steps

Gardener services 

Maintenance gardener

Setup gardener

Balcony gardener

Vegetable gardener

Flower gardener

Virtual garden consultation

Landscaping services 

Landscape design

Landscape garden maintenance

Online nursery 

Air-purifying indoor garden package

Areca palm

Snake plant

Money plant

Further Reading

Money plant-A plant you can't kill even if you try

Best indoor plants for health

Overwatering Peace lilies

Indoor plants for bedroom


Happy Gardening!
Dr. Vandana
Co-Founder, UrbanMali