Succulents are a fascinating group of plants. Not only do they have the ability to add aesthetic value to your home, but some also purify the air. but if you’re looking for a good variety, you may wonder whether all succulents have this purifying ability.
Well, all succulents can purify the air via CAM photosynthesis which is unique to succulents. This process is carried out through the stomata in their leaves, where the collection of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases in the air is made and converted into sugar and oxygen. Although there are groups of succulents like stem succulents, leaf succulents, and caudiciform, they are all amazing air purifiers.
What Succulents Purify the Air?
Some very good air-purifying succulents are cacti, aloe vera, Janet Craig, corn plant, snake plant, red-edged Dracaena, and Warneckii.
In reality, it doesn’t matter whether the succulents come from steeps, semi-desert, desert, sea coasts, dry lakes, or epiphytes (growing on other plants); they can all purify the air.
More than most other plants, cactus seems to be best suited for desert life. They have succulent stems, pads, or branches with scales and spines instead of leaves.
Their pads are usually modified with wax-like coating and spines that break evaporative winds that approach its surface.
Through CAM photosynthesis, the exchange gases likecarbon dioxide, benzene, and xylene for oxygen.
With the aid of this CAM process, cacti chemically store from night till the sun comes out, then the process of photosynthesis can be completed, and your air would be purified.
2. Aloe Vera
Among all aloe plants, aloe vera has a reputation for providing many health benefits; it has various shades of green with some having white spots or variegation. Aloe vera has also proven itself a great air purifier in homes.
Aloe vera purifies benzene and formaldehyde from the air, and although they thrive remarkably well as indoor plants, they can also be easily cared for.
You can propagate your aloe vera by taking your root ball and dividing it into separate plants or by taking the offsets of some varieties and potting them.
It is also imperative that they are allowed access to direct sunlight. Your aloe vera should have a mixture of coarse sand and cactus potting soil.
The watering of your aloe vera should be done after the water in your pot is completely dried out. You can test for dryness by inserting your fingers into the soil, and during winter, you may not have to water at all.
You can also sparingly fertilize, not in winter but spring, with a 10-40-10 blend for blooming plant and diluted by half the recommended dose to avoid over-fertilization.
3. Janet Craig
It is a dracaena species that grows in the uplands with deep green foliage flexible with the leave of Janet Craig compacta smaller with six to eight inches long.
Janet Craig is very efficient in removing formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene from the air. An outstanding characteristic of this plant is that you can place it almost anywhere around the house.
You do not need rooting hormones when propagating it because it is easy to grow from cuttings. Putting to cuttings in moist soil and maintaining it will help it in rooting within a month.
Your Janet Craig will do well with low or even bright light as long as it is not too direct. You do not need to water much, but when the leaves begin to turn yellow, it means it is too dry.
Only give your succulents water at room temperature and humidity. You will need to fertilize monthly in the summer and spring using only half the strength of a 20-20-20 fertilizer.
4. Snake plants
The snake plant is also called mother-in-law’s tongue, and it is very easy to grow due to its durability and toughness.
It can even survive a poor watering schedule and partial neglect. There is even a common belief that it is impossible to kill a snake plant.
A snake plant can also clean air polluted with toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene.
Propagating your snake plant can be done not just by rooting cuttings in water but also by cutting a fresh leaf into two or three parts, then dipping it into the potting mix and letting its top face upwards.
By using a generic all-purpose potting mix and growing it in a relatively warm room, you would be giving it a suitable environment.
When you water, avoid dropping water on the foliage except on the soil of your snake plant when dry to your touch. And it would be best if you watered all through from spring through fall.
Finally, it should be an 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 fertilizer allied only during spring and winter when applying fertilizer.
It’s important to note that the corn plant and Janet Craig are cultivars belonging to the species of Dracaena fragrans, and so they share similar characteristics.
5. Red-edged Dracaena
Red-edged Dracaena is also referred to as dragon tree and is unique with a beautiful reddish-purple color located at the edges of its green leaves.
Among its many varieties, some have leaves that are bicolored or tricolored with red, green, and ivory. The red-edged Dracaena removes formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, xylene, and toluene from the air.
Although easy to care for and slow-growing, it can grow fifteen feet tall and three to eight feet wide. And to propagate your red-edge Dracaena, you do not need a rooting hormone for the cuttings as they appear in three weeks.
You will need to provide well-drained soil, moderate light, and if the cuttings are more than one, they should be planted three feet apart. Watering should be done once or twice a week with distilled or non-fluoridated water.
Fertilizing should be a slow-release 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 fertilizer in the early spring and sometime later in summer.
The leaves of Warneckii are striped with green, white or gray that are mostly found around the leaves’ border and stiff.
A Warneckii grows four feet tall and efficiently removes formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene from the air.
Warneckii is propagated from cuttings in warm, moist soil and usually roots within a month. It needs moderate or bright indirect light.
In mixing the soil, you should not use perlite, while pine bark, peat moss, and sand should be in the ratio of 1-1-1.
You should endeavor to keep your warneckii dry but increase watering when there is browning of leaves; you will also need to mist it regularly because it loves thrives better with some humidity.
Fertilization should be carried out once a month in spring and summer with a 5-10-5 or 6-6-6 fertilizer.
How Do Succulents Purify Air?
In other purify the air generally, plants must release oxygen. But one very unique attribute of succulents is that, as other plants fail to release oxygen at night when you are asleep, succulents never fail to do so. Therefore, by carrying out photosynthesis, they take in these harmful toxins from the air, making your room conducive to sleep by the additional oxygen they disperse.
Succulents also purify the air by increasing humidity in the room. When indoor air becomes dry, it may result to dry skin or sore throat. But succulents can release water vapor through the leaf pores during photosynthesis.
So, in essence, the key to successful air purification is dependent on the rate of photosynthesis of your succulent plant. Properly carried out maintenance culture of your succulent will bolster its efficiency in purifying the air.
Do Some Succulents Purify the Air Better than Others?
Yes, some succulents purify the air better than others. But the best air purifying succulents are the aloe and snake plants.
It is also relevant to note that the type of succulents you choose, and the surface area of the leaves and stems will also play a crucial role in the efficiency of your succulent to disperse oxygen and absorb toxic gases.
All succulents can purify air through photosynthesis. Succulent plants like cactus, aloe vera, Janet Craig, snake plant, red-edge Dracaena, and Warneckii are excellent examples of succulents you can grow. But the best succulents you can grow are the aloe and snake plant.