indoor plants

Correlation Between Indoor Air Pollution and Plants

If your apartment is filled with plants, you already know about the multiple benefits these wonderful things bring. Besides making your home look a lot better, there’s a strong link between air pollution and plants. And even though new studies suggest plants don’t have the extended air purifying features we thought, having them in your apartment is still going to improve air quality and make the entire environment healthier.

If you always wanted to get some indoor plants but you are afraid you’ll end up killing them, it’s time to stop worrying. We’ve made a list of the most resistant plants that will enable you to enjoy better air quality in your home without the guilt trip of killing them. 

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Garden Mum – Perfect Balance Between Air Pollution and Plants

If you live in a big city and you’re wondering how air pollution affects plants, the best plant to start is the Garden Mum. Also known as chrysanthemum morifolium, this is one of the plants requiring very low maintenance. This makes it quite popular and the price tag also helps a lot. It’s a perennial plant that will just require occasional deadheading – the process of removing the spent flowers. Perfect if you’re just starting your passion for indoor plants and flowers, the garden mum should be placed in a cool spot.

Many people think all plants should sit on the sill, however, keeping a Garden Mum on the sill during hotter days can lead to its death. So it’s better to put them in a place with direct sunlight but at room temperature. With the Garden Mum, you don’t have to worry about air pollution damage to plants, it’s a very tough plant that will help you clean the air of ammonia, benzene, or xylene.  

Spider Plant

Most people who steer away from growing indoor plants in big cities stop at one specific question. “Is air pollution affecting plants?” The answer is “yes” the plants get affected by air pollution to some extent. However, plants like the Spider Plant also come with lots of benefits.

First of all, it’s a very tough plant perfect for forgetful owners. It has no flowers so you won’t even need to deadhead them. Just make sure to place them in a spot where they get enough indirect sunlight and you’ll have a very good-looking plant in no time. You need to make sure not to water them too often, though. While all plants do need water, the Spider Plant doesn’t require daily watering. Once a week should be more than enough. And if you want to make sure your Spider Plant is going to stick with you for a long time, use some organic liquid fertilizer three or four times a year and you’ll be able to enjoy them to the maximum. 


Dracaena is another very tough plant perfect for those who want to start this hobby and improve the air quality in their homes. The Dracaena has over 40 varieties and all of them are very easy to care for and will help you breathe better air.

Of course, air pollution and plant growth go hand in hand so if you live in a polluted city, you should definitely consider adding some Dracaenas in your home. Make sure to place it high enough so your pets don’t reach it because it’s toxic for cats and dogs if eaten. Other than that, you should keep in mind it will grow up to 3 feet so you will need a bigger pot right from the start if you don’t want to move it when it gets bigger. 

More than air pollution and effects on plants, the Dracaenas are usually damaged by excessive watering. This plant prefers to be misted rather than watered, and once every three days is more than enough. Of course, make sure to place them in a room that gets sunlight and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. 

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How Does Air Pollution Affect Plants and Animals?

A growing concern in recent years all across the globe, air pollution is slowly becoming humanity’s biggest enemy. If images from China and other Asian countries with people wearing masks every time they went out seemed like a Sci-Fi movie, more and more cities register high levels of pollution nowadays. And, of course, pollution doesn’t only have negative effects on humans. Pets and plants are also affected by this phenomenon and the effects are similar to those on humans. Your cat or dog may develop asthma from the polluted air or various pulmonary affections. Following the same pattern, you may observe that your plants lose their strong green color when placed near a window that faces the street. All the gases and micro-particles from cars cover the leaves and make photosynthesis a lot more difficult, leading to a less-healthy aspect of the plant. This is the most common effect of the absorption of air pollution by plants and the consequences for growth observed. To prevent that, make sure to mist them periodically and even clean the leaves if you have a Ficus or any other plant with bigger leaves. 

How do you tackle air pollution where you live? We encourage our readers to share their practices when it comes to growing indoor plants for better air quality. Your stories could influence others and even if the air is not so polluted where you live, having indoor plants comes with aesthetic and other benefits as well. 

Author Bio: Kevin has been a content writer for about 3 years. He studied Design and Arts at College in Pennsylvania. He’s fan of home interior design and, he has taken it upon himself to spread his love for decorating homes by informing people on some of his ideas through his articles.

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