Gardening: Expert reveals air purifying houseplants

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Houseplants have many benefits for the home, including helping to add a pop of colour as well as helping to improve mood. They can also help to remove harmful indoor pollutants, and remove mould by absorbing excess moisture through their leaves. Gardening expert at Hayes Garden World, Angela Slater, has shared the top four “most effective” houseplants in the UK to “remove” mould from your home.

The expert explained: “Mould is caused by cool, damp temperatures in the home and can be unsightly, difficult to remove and a danger to health, particularly if you’re asthmatic.

“If possible, raise the temperature and use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture. Here are also a few houseplants which can help resolve the problem, depending upon how bad the mould infestation is.

“Places in the house which have a few selected houseplants have recorded a drop of between 40 and 60 percent fungal spores and bacteria.

“They reduce the humidity in a room which is the cause of mould by absorbing mould through their leaves.”

1. Peace lily

The peace lily plant comes in a variety of sizes, and can be purchased as a large specimen. Angela recommended purchasing as large as you can because this will be the most effective at removing mould.

She explained: “Keep it just damp, you will know when it needs watering as the leaves will droop.

“The peace lily is also effective at removing airborne toxins and swapping carbon dioxide for life-giving oxygen. It’s important to note that they need to be kept away from pets as their leaves are toxic if ingested.”

2. English ivy

The English ivy houseplant is also an effective mould remover, and like the peace lily, is often available in large sizes, which is best for the home.

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According to Angela, this is one of the easiest plants to care for, and doesn’t mind a little shade, perfect for the winter months when there is less light.

The gardening expert added: “Keep it damp at all times, otherwise its leaves will go brown and droop, reducing its effectiveness.

“Don’t overwater your English ivy as it doesn’t like sitting in sodden compost. It is usually available in a hanging pot, which is handy if floor space is restricted, or trained upon a tripod of canes.

“The English ivy is an ideal plant for the bathroom or kitchen as it thrives in a humid atmosphere. Studies have found that it is effective at removing airborne benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde as well as mould.”

Just like the peace lily, keep this houseplant away from pets and children as its leaves are toxic to animals and they are easy to play with when they hang down.

3. Palms

The pro noted: “Any of the palms available in your garden centre are effective at removing xylene and formaldehyde as well as absorbing the moisture, through their leaves, which is the cause of moulds.”

They will need a light position but can tolerate a certain degree of dryness, making them great options for beginners looking to expand their plant collection.

As a large plant, they will be capable of removing a larger amount of moisture, fitting the fill perfectly as they normally come as a large plant to begin with.

4. Snake plant

Angela explained: “The snake plant is one of the toughest and easiest houseplants, ideal for beginners, as it will tolerate a level of neglect.

“Don’t overwater as they can rot at the base of the plant, just give a little water at a time and wait until the surface of the compost is dry before watering again.

“The snake plant can also be purchased as a large plant, so buy the largest one you can find, or group three different sizes together.

“Not only is a group more effective at removing mould, but it is also aesthetically pleasing.” They also won’t dry out as much when grouped together as they will create their own microclimate.

They prefer a sunny spot, but will tolerate a level of shadiness in the home. Not only do snake plants help remove mould, but also airborne toxins from cleaning products.

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