Tag Archives: black mold

When Houseplants Cause Bad Air

It has been taught, for years, that houseplants are very beneficial, to the air that we breath within our homes. We’ve been taught that plants purify air. Well, plants do benefit air quality and even, dramatically. The question is, ‘Do houseplants purify the air?’

Let’s clarify something, first. I am a firm believer in the health benefits of houseplants to the air. However, what seems to be a scientific discovery, may not be a scientific discovery at all. That study also, called a review states that houseplants do not clean nor purify the air as much as, air purifying machines. With that said, do not loose your old-fashioned faith in houseplants.

As far as, the purification of air by houseplants. They are right. That is a no. Yet, the improvement in air quality is undeniable. ‘Did we really think that plants made our air pure?’ I don’t think so. We did think it would make our home air quality better. We also, understood the scientific facts that state just how houseplants improve air quality.

These are the facts. Plant leaves and their roots pull volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon dioxide out of the air. After which, they release clean oxygen. Obviously, this means they remove ‘bad-for-you‘ air and release ‘good-for-you’ air. Thus, improving the ratio of good air over bad air in your home or office. As wonderful as that is, plants also, have the potential to release bad air. What?!?

A root bound plant. A.K.A. a plant that has outgrown its container.
This causes lack of soil and extreme water depletion.
Thus, dust!

It seems, to a lot of plant lovers, that once the plant is in the pot; it doesn’t need re-potted until, the roots have outgrown it’s container. In a lot of cases, the soil has become stale and is more dust than soil. This occurs, when a very small plant is potted in a very large pot. If you’ve noticed extra dust in your home, your plants might need re-potted to refresh the soil. A correctly fit pot helps prevent soil from flying. Re-potting will make the soil viable, again. It will allow the plant to receive better nutrition, retain soil and moisture, and breathe better.

Plant mold is not only deadly to the plant, but also, becomes the air you breathe. Plant mold is just like any other household mold. It occurs when plants are frequently over-watered or maintained in dank conditions with insufficient airflow (sweating). It is also, contagious from plant to plant.

Plants that have mold. Plant mold can be white or black.

Checking plants, from time to time, for diseases like black mold and white mold should be a regular routine that can be conducted during watering. Checking for such diseases should be conducted about every 3 months.

There are many diseases a plant can have. Most of them can be a negative effect on air quality. A lot of these diseases are bugs, such as, dust mites. Dust mites occur, when the leaves of the plant are left dusty for a long period of time. Spider mites will also, occur. These two diseases are often found together. They are able to cause plant death and can cause illness to humans.

Spider mites can also, be red in color. Some experts believe that a dust mite is a very young spider mite.

When a plant is dusty, removal of the dust is simple yet, delicate. By using a soft cotton cloth, gently wipe the leaves clean with a plant leaf cleaner. Some are spray-and-leave. Some require wiping. A simple home made solution of water and lemon dish soap, such as, Joy will remove dust and mites from leaves. However, if the leaves of any plant has bugs, the soil has bugs, too. Always, re-pot after any discovery of bugs and discard the soil in an outside trash reciprocal.

Mold can be removed from plant leaves in the same manner. It will work, if only, a few leaves and a few spots are found. All the same, discard the old soil in an outside trash reciprocal.

Select correctly fit pot, plant or replant, relish the results!

Plants are healthy. The work it takes to keep them that way is also, healthy. It is therapeutic and rewarding. The gifts that can come from taking care of plants are boundless. Do not be afraid to embrace plants and their bountiful, clean benefits!