What is dry air doing to your health? Are humidity plants a solution?
Arizonans love the saying, “It’s a dry heat,” but did you know dry air can cause a variety of adverse effects to your body? Studies have shown that dry air has influences on the body: increased risk for respiratory ailments and skin irritation. Dry air in your home can cause:
- Red, Irritated Eyes
- Dry, Cracked Lips
- Dry/Sore Throat
- Frequent Coughs
- Bloody Noses
- Sinus Headache
Low humidity also results in more static shocks and a change in how you perceive the apparent temperature. The ‘apparent’ measurement combines the actual outdoor temperature with factors such as humidity and wind speed to predict how warm or cool the outdoors will feel to your body. This calculation is how the Heat Index and Wind Chill Factors are determined.
If you’re not a fan of dry skin, static shocks, and the other side effects of dry air in the home, consider adding some humidity plants. OK, right now, you’re probably wondering, how do house plants cause humidity? Wouldn’t a humidifier work better?
Humidifiers convert water into vapor to add moisture to the air, so of course, you can run a humidifier in your home, but regular cleaning is a must. However, some common household plants are naturally effective at adding moisture to the air as well as a little extra style to your home décor. These plants take in water through their roots and release the moisture through the pores located on their leaves in a process called transpiration.
It’s best to keep indoor humidity measurement between 35-65 percent. Too much moisture in the air can create a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew. Don’t forget, humidifiers can also become germ factories if not cleaned often enough, and filters aren’t changed regularly. Yuck.
Common Humidity Plants
NASA found that the Areca palm is one of the most efficient air purifying plants you can add to your home. These low maintenance plants can transpire about a quart of water in just 24 hours. All you need to do is place them in bright, filtered light, give them plenty of water, and occasionally prune them to help the plant thrive.
The Boston fern is a reliable, easy-to-care-for plant. These look best displayed in a hanging basket or on a pedestal. It will require frequent misting and watering to stay healthy but will return the favor by adding humidity to your home. Medium, indirect sunlight is best for a robust growing process.
The Spider plant is a durable houseplant that will add plenty of moisture to the air, all while looking pretty. The plant grows long leaves with delicate white flowers. These plants enjoy medium to bright light and like to dry between each watering. By trimming the offshoots of the Spider plant, you can root them in the soil to start a new plant.
Some peace lilies can grow up to six feet and will produce dramatic white flowers. With a high transpiration rate, the peace lily prefers medium to low sunlight and moist soil. An extra perk of the peace lily is its ability to remove many harmful indoor toxins from the air. However, keep this plant out of reach of cats and dogs as it’s toxic to pets.
The snake plant is perfect for those forgetful plant owners. It tolerates irregular watering and low light conditions. You’ll have to try really hard to kill this plant with neglect.
Glossy leaves with red edges? It sounds like a plant to get just based on looks! Also known as the dragon tree, this slow-growing plant not only adds moisture to the air but also removes filters out other toxins like formaldehyde and benzene from the atmosphere. The marginata prefers bright, indirect light. It can handle lower light levels, but its leaves will be thinner.