Using succulents to improve indoor air quality

Houseplants, including succulents, are an excellent way to bring greenery inside all year long and clean the air of environmental toxins. Indoor air is actually 2-5 times as contaminated as outdoor air,  and of course, indoor air is much more stagnant. Substances such as chemical-based cleaners, air fresheners, and detergents can pollute indoor air and contribute to poor health over the long term. 

But plants will naturally absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, making your home healthier.

I've gotta admit, most succulents aren't the best plants for improving indoor air quality - others like ferns and spider plants and palms do a better job (here’s my list of top houseplants that clean the air and are easy to care for).

However, succulents are easy to care for that even black thumbs usually have good luck with them, so even the small amount of air purification that they provide is better than none. Plus they're so interesting to add to your overall mix of indoor plants. 

One exception - aloe vera is very good at cleaning toxins from the air. It's also great to have around as a natural ointment for cuts and burns. 

In addition, studies have shown that plants - including succulents - help improve concentration, productivity and mood, and reduce stress. 

This year, as winter approaches, I'm giving my dining room a quick refresh by creating a corner filled with succulents as a way to bring the green inside year-round and keep the air fresh.

Using succulents to improve indoor air quality

I got the hanging glass terrarium in the photo as a gift from my sweet family who came to visit this summer - picked up from the awesome shop Centro Garden in Burlington. In it lives some moss and an air plant.  

Friends had given me the bubble top glass terrarium from West Elm that I've put to good use holding a small zebra cactus.

I added another cactus in an antique crock to the mix.

I potted a jade plant in a DIY planter using an IKEA tin planter wrapped in birch bark. I simply hot-glued a piece of natural bark to the tin container.

Finally, I used a tiny branch found along my local walking trail to bend and knot together and hold another air plant. Free and natural! 

Succulents love sunshine and dry soil, so don't overwater. Some suggest that you only water when the plants look like they're about to shrivel.

There you have it! Succulents are an easy way to refresh your home to make it naturally healthy. And they’re so darn cute!

Here are more brilliant ideas for introducing them into your home (click photos for sources). 

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