With around 40,000 deaths every year in the UK linked to poor air quality, the issue is certainly worth worrying about. Especially when earlier this year, the Guardian revealed how the city of London had reached and surpassed its yearly legal limit of air pollution in under a month.
We might all be taking steps to reduce our carbon footprints, but what can we do in the meantime to protect ourselves against the current level of air pollution all around us?
The solution is right outside, so join compost retailer Compost Direct out in the garden as we show you the best air-cleansing plants you can surround your home with.
Gerbera daisies: fighting off toxins
In your mission for greener air, bring a few splashes of colour to your garden! A recent study by NASA has provided a few colourful blooms for gardeners keen to clean the air. Gerbera daisies are bonny, beautiful blooms that come in many different colours; white, orange, red, pink — whichever you pick, they’ll give your garden a splash of colour. These flowers love direct sunlight and a bit of space, so make sure not to leave them in a shady corner of your garden.
NASA recommends these daisies for dealing with a number of air toxins, including benzene.
English ivy: catching and trapping
This classic climbing plant features in many a romantic painted scene of the English countryside. Though it has a bad reputation in the States as being a weed, it can be a lovely addition to your garden if tended to. The plant offers benefits for wildlife and for the air – Goldsmiths, University of London, states that the wide leaves of the common ivy traps particulates, which makes it a great choice for purifying the air.
Wallflower: a pop of colour
The wallflower is an easy way to bring a splash of colour into your garden. Goldsmiths also names this plant as being akin to the common ivy for its particulate-cleansing power. These flowers have a bright display of petals during the first half of the year. You can grow wallflowers in many colours, with purple and yellow popular choices.
Conifers: block off that bad air!
All hedges are a great means of dealing with air pollution, but conifers are spotlighted in particular by Home & Property. Specifically, the western red cedar hedge is named as an idea conifer to plant in your garden. But if your garden is a little smaller, the publication also names the yew as a great alternative, citing its evergreen nature and easy trimming.
Planting air-filtering flowers and hedges is a great start, but there are other aspects of the garden to look at too. You have to consider how you are tending to your garden as well. SmilingGardener offers five great ways to reduce pollution in ways beyond planting shrubs and flowers:
- Start composting.You can turn many waste products into compost to stop it going to the landfill.
- Avoid corn gluten meal. SmilingGardener notes this meal is made up from genetically modified corn, so best to stay away from using it, if possible.
- Quiet equipment. This one’s more for noise pollution, but it’s certainly an added bonus for the pollution-conscious gardener to take note of!
- Stay away from using pesticides. This one is probably a given, but if you can avoid using chemicals on your garden, please do.
- Consider indoors as well as outdoors. As well as planting outdoor plants to combat air toxicity, consider bringing in some houseplants to cleanse the air in your home.