The three main pollutants present in homes and offices are the following:
- Benzene found in gasoline, inks, oils, paints, plastics and rubber as well as in the manufacturing of detergents, explosives, pharmaceuticals and dyes.
- Formaldehyde found in particle board, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI), in consumer products treated with UF resins such as grocery bags, waxed papers, facial tissues and paper towels. These UF resins are used as stiffeners, wrinkle resisters, water repellents, fire retardants and adhesive binders in floor coverings, carpet backings and permanent-press clothes. In addition, formaldehyde is also in heating and cooking fuels like natural gas, kerosene and cigarette smoke.
- English Ivy, Dracaena marginata "Janet Craig", Dracaena "Warneckei", Chrysanthemum, Gerbera Daisy and Peace lilies removes benzene. Peace lilies also remove carbon monoxide from the air.
- Philodendron, Spider plant, Golden Pothos, Bamboo palm, Corn plant, Chrysanthemum and Mother-in-law's tongue removes formaldehyde.
- Gerbera Daisy, Chrysanthemum, Peace lily, Dracaena "Warneckei" and Dracaena marginata
Low-light level-- Corn plant, Pothos, Bamboo Palm, Mother-in-law's tongue and Chinese Evergreens. All these plants need for low-level light is a north-facing window or less than 50 foot candles. This translates into two feet from a north-facing window from April to September or if using a south-facing window six to ten feet back from the window or one foot to the side April to September.
Medium-light level-- Dracaena, Philodendron, Peace lily all take 500 to 1,000 foot candles or two feet of a north-facing window from April to September and two to six feet back or one foot to the side of an east or west-facing window.
High-light level-- Spider plant, Chrysanthemum and Gerbera Daisy all take over a 1,000 foot candles or two feet from a south-facing window from October to March and two feet from an east or west-facing window all year.
Watering requirements for these plants is fairly easy. Wait for the soil to become dry before watering again. However, there are two exceptions to this general rule. Philodendron likes to be moist, but well drained. You should reduce the water in winter with a Philodendron. Chrysanthemum likes to be watered regularly and kept evenly moist.
Fertilization requirements for these plants vary depending on light levels and their genetic make-up.
Chrysanthemums need fertilization if there are no blooms on the plant. Fertilize once every other week until blooms develop.
Philodendrons are heavy feeders. Fertilizing at half strength and feeding on a regular schedule will keep them healthy.
Spider plants need fertilizer every two months in high light and every three months in medium light.
Corn plants only need fertilization in spring and through the summer once or twice a month and then no fertilizer during the winter months.
Pothos require the same fertilization schedule as corn plants.
Dracaena plants require fertilization in spring and summer once or twice a month and then once a month in the fall and no fertilizer during the winter months.
Bamboo palms require fertilization in spring and continue through the fall. Do this once a month and no fertilization in the winter.
Mother-in-law's tongue requires fertilization in spring through the fall and then no fertilization in the winter.
Peace lilies need a regular monthly fertilization throughout the year. Brown spots on the leaves is an indication of over-fertilization.
Gerber daisies need a fertilization of every other week. They can last up to six months indoors.
Chinese evergreens need a regular fertilization once a month from spring through fall and then no winter fertilization.