5 Non-toxic, Nursery-Safe Plants to Clean Indoor Air
Your baby could spend upwards of 16 hours every day in the nursery, so of course you want the air to be as pure as can be. But, studies by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other researchers have found that potentially toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are common in indoor air and that levels are typically two to five times higher than outdoors. That’s some serious indoor air pollution!
The best way to protect your indoor air quality and your baby’s health is by using safer products (find tips here). But, for regular “indoor pollution control,” you can also grow houseplants.
Studies conducted by NASA and other researchers have identified many plants to clean indoor air. Harmful, common pollutants including toluene, xylene, benzene, and formaldehyde (chemicals linked to cancer and neurodevelopmental toxicity - among other things) are absorbed through the plant’s leaves and neutralized in the soil.
Today, we’re sharing the best plants from the list that are safe and non-toxic for the nursery (and are also fairly durable for those of us with brown thumbs).
Check out these 5 non-toxic, nursery-safe plants to clean indoor air:
1. Snake Plant/Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii')
“Snake plant is a carefree, tough succulent that grows almost anywhere. Although snake plant tolerates low light, it grows better in medium or bright light. Allow the soil to dry between waterings, especially in winter. It grows well in temperatures from 60 to 85 degrees F.” (Source: BHG Plant Dictionary)
2. Warneck Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’)
“Dracaenas grow well at average room temperatures but don't like cold drafts. Give plants medium to bright light to maintain best leaf color. Allow the soil to dry to the touch between waterings.” (Source: BHG Plant Dictionary)
3. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis') “The lush arching, dangling fronds of Boston fern are especially suited to hanging baskets, but they also look great on a pedestal. Give the plant medium to bright light, high humidity, temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees F, and evenly moist soil to ensure success.” (Source: BHG Plant Dictionary)
4. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
“Spider plant is an excellent choice for beginners. The plant looks great in a hanging basket or on a pedestal. It likes average room temperature and humidity. Brown leaf tips, a common problem on spider plants, are due to over-fertilization, low humidity, or dry soil conditions. Keep the soil slightly moist and avoid using fluoridated water on the plant.” (Source: BHG Plant Dictionary)
5. Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
“The Bamboo Palm grows to about 7 feet and is mostly used indoors as it prefers shade. This is very easy to grow and maintain. As with most palms, the soil should be well drained. Applying fertilizer in the summer months will keep these palms green and healthy. Keep evenly moist but not consistently wet.” (Source: Garden Heights)
Be sure to keep the leaves and soil clean, so the plant is in optimal, healthy condition to help clean your indoor air. Rest easy knowing your baby is breathing better air!
(Note: Even those these plants are considered non-poisonous for children, they could still pose a choking hazard or cause an upset stomach if ingested. It’s best to keep them out of reach of young children and watch for any fallen leaves.)
Learn more about creating a non-toxic nursery:
- Breathe Easy Baby: Essentials for Nursery IAQ
- Do You Need an Air Purifier in the Nursery?
- How Paint Impacts the Air in the Nursery (for Longer Than You Think)
- How to Choose Non-Toxic Nursery Furniture
- Easy Steps for a Healthy & Safe Nursery - Must-Read eBook for Parents
University of Nebraska Extension Services
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Top 20 Indoor Air Pollutants
Plants "Clean" Air Inside Our Homes (NASA)
Foliage Plants for Removing Indoor Air Pollutants from Energy-efficient Homes
A study of interior landscape plants for indoor air pollution abatement
Wolverton, B.C. (1996) How to Grow Fresh Air. New York: Penguin Books.
Plants and Soil Microorganisms: Removal of Formaldehyde, Xylene, Ammonia From the Indoor Environment