How to Grow Fresh Air

Darin Engh, from Engh Gardens highlights the top five indoor plants to freshen the air you breathe.


Increased exposure to indoor air pollutants in the community directly correlates to an increase in the number and severity of allergies.

Some common sources of chemical emission include: cleaning products, cosmetics, fabrics, gas stoves, grocery bags, paints, paper towels, particleboard, stains and varnishes, and smoke.

Studies reveal that individual plants create their own mini-ecosystem. Plants are highly dynamic, actively creating and emitting a cloud of complex, invisible substances around their leaves and roots that provide for their protection and well-being.

Science is now catching up with what gardeners have known for decades: that by growing plants we can relieve stress, while helping to clean the environment. A growing body of research shows that cultivating plants indoors and outdoors may be the best medicine available for improving mental and physical well-being at any age. Interactions between plants and people have provided overwhelming evidence that plants have measurable beneficial effect on people and the spaces they inhabit. Plants not only add beauty to a room, but also make it a friendly, inviting place to live or work: they appear to have a calming, spiritual effect on most people. People feel relaxed when they are near or tending to living plants. Businesses install interior landscaping to increase worker-production and reduce absenteeism. Top hotels, restaurants, and other commercial premises use plants to attract customers.

5 best houseplants for their ecological benefits

Prayer Plant ( Maranta leuconeura)-Distinctive markings, broad, light green leaves decorated with rows of brown to dark-green spots. Its common name is derived from the way its leaves turn upward as dusk approaches, giving the appearance of praying hands. Prefers semi-sun to semi-shade. Keep soil evenly moist. Feed every two weeks in spring and summer. Mist frequently. Brown leafed edges from too cool a location. Overall Rating: 6.0 Scores 3/10 for removal of chemical vapors, 6/10 for ease of growth and maintenance, 8/10 for resistance to insects.

Heart-Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron scandens)-Recognized by its glossy, dark green heart-shaped leaves that taper to a sharp point. One of the most popular houseplants largely because of its tolerance to low light conditions. Easy to care for. Keep soil evenly moist, but water less frequently in winter. Mist often. Feed every to weeks except in winter. Overall Rating: 6.3 Scores 4/10 for removal of chemical vapors, 9/10 for ease of growth and maintenance, 9/10 for resistance to insects.

Syngonium (Syngonium podophyllum)-Attractive plants whose ease of growth and maintenance and resistance to insects make them a popular choice for home or office. Its young leaves are long and arrow-shaped. With age, leaves evolve into three to five-lobed stars. Love humidity and frequent misting. Prefers semi-sun to shade. Keep soil evenly moist but not soggy from spring to fall. Allow top soil to dry between waterings in winter. Overall Rating: 7.0 Scores 4/10 for removal of chemical vapors, 9/10 for ease of growth and maintenance, 8/10 for resistance to insects.

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)-Vine that produces green heart-shaped leaves splashed with gold or cream colors. Easiest to grow of all houseplants. It can withstand neglect and is very resistant to insects. Grows quickly and tolerates a wide variety of environmental conditions. Unlike many houseplants, it does not lose its color variations when kept in a dark setting. One of the best houseplants for newcomers to indoor gardening. Let soil dry between waterings. Overall Rating: 7.5 Scores 5/10 for removal of chemical vapors, 10/10 for ease of growth and maintenance, 8/10 for resistance to insects.

English Ivy (Hedera helix)-Wide range of leaf shapes and colors. Easy to grow and adapt to a variety of home environments. However, do not do well in high temperatures. Water well in spring and summer with room-temperature water. Allow to dry slightly between waterings in winter. Feed regularly. Mist often, especially during winter when the air is dry.
Overall Rating: 7.8 Scores 9/10 for removal of chemical vapors, 8/10 for ease of growth and maintenance, 8/10 for resistance to insects.


For more information on any of your gardening questions, you can contact Darin at Engh Gardens in Sandy or visit their website,

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