More than for ornamental purposes, indoor plants like succulents are grown for environmental and health benefits.
Do we know that succulent plants are good purifying agents that clean the air, but are there more to that? Is it right to believe that succulent plants also produce oxygen?
Yes! Succulent plants produce oxygen throughout the night. They are also living things and as well, go through a respiration process. Succulents absorb the accessible carbon dioxide in the environment and emit oxygen. They also use the carbon dioxide they get from humans as an energy fuel for their food-making process, known as photosynthesis.
Their thick and fleshy tissues allow water storage thus, enabling an average-sized plant to produce about 900ml of oxygen per day or about 27 liters of oxygen a month.
There are so many plants with different shapes and sizes, but succulent plants produce more oxygen. An example is aloe vera.
They produce more oxygen because they do this even at night, unlike most plants. Aloe vera, a succulent plant, is the highest oxygen-producing plant at night.
The process of exhaling oxygen is the same as other plants, but the difference is, that aloe vera continues exhaling oxygen even at night while others don’t.
When carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere by humans, aloe vera makes use of it to make food with the help of sunlight.
Once this is done, oxygen, an important gas, is exhaled and given off for animals and humans to use.
Yes, succulents are very good air purifiers. They don’t only produce oxygen but also clean the air we breathe. Succulents are very efficient in stripping the air of harmful substances.
Our atmosphere is polluted with toxins that we do not see. However, it is our daily activities that bring about the release of such compounds.
Unfortunately, these VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are breathable vapor or gas. Volatile organic compounds have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility.
VOCs are emitted as gases from various solids and gases in our environment and have adverse health effects when we inhale them.
VOCs are benzene, ethylene, glycol, formaldehyde, toluene, methylene chloride, tetrachloroethylene, xylene, and 1,3-butadiene.
These compounds are not just in the environment but are found in our paints, aerosol sprays, cleansers, disinfectants, and stored fuel.
VOCs can irritate the eyes, throat, and nose, and cause difficulty in breathing. Some VOCs can cause cancer. Hence, they could be very dangerous.
So, please don’t assume that it’s our fault, but how can we control these VOCs?
Succulents are great air purifiers. They pull trapped air containing these VOCs into the soil, where their roots convert them into plant food.
Excellent examples are the well-known aloe vera and snake plants.
How Do Succulents Produce Oxygen?
Succulent plants, as well as other plants, require food. Unlike other living things, plants do not depend on or feed on already made food.
So, they have to make their food in a process called, photosynthesis, as earlier mentioned. This process involves a lot of energy from sunlight.
Succulents require three ingredients to make their food; carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight. So, how are these ingredients used?
The plants take up the water they need from the soil through their roots. Carbon dioxide is in the air, plants can take in this gas through tiny holes in their leaves.
Sunlight is the main source of energy. Therefore, once these plants have absorbed water and carbon dioxide, they use the energy from sunlight to make their food.
However, there is a byproduct formed after making their food. This product is a gas called oxygen. Oxygen is released from their leaves into the air.
How to Grow Succulent Plants?
Growing succulent plants can be tasking because they require extra time, resources, and care.
Firstly, they like bright light, although some will grow well in dim light.
Again, the plant needs moisture. It would help if you placed dried leaves on the top of the soil to help retain the soil moisture.
Furthermore, the plants should be far away from heat sources such as a radiator. Excess heat will dry up and wilt the plant.
Water is important to these plants. Therefore, watering should be done in the morning to enable the soil to be completely dry during the day.
During hot days, watering should be done more frequently and less on cold days. However, overwatering is as bad as underwatering.
As earlier stated, sunlight is good for succulent plants. However, the excessive and scorching sun can burn some succulents.
Once you notice the sun’s intensity is too high, you should move the succulent to a cooler location.
Best Indoor Succulents.
There are lots of good indoor succulents. However, the following are the most popular:
1. Aloe Vera
This plant is stemless and can grow up to 40 inches tall. They have thick, fleshy, green to bluish-grey-green leaves.
2. Snake Plant (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue)
They are characterized by long, slightly windy leaves pointing upwards. These leaves are primarily green with some having yellow edges.
3. Ponytail Palm Tree
Here is a succulent belonging to the Agave family. The plant has a bulging trunk, which is used to store water. It also has thin long, hair-like leaves.
4. Panda Plant
These succulents are shrubs that grow for three or more years. They have hairy leaves that are greyish green in color with white hair and some brown spots at the tips.
Benefits of Planting Succulents?
Apart from the glow succulents give when used on the skin, there are a lot of benefits to planting Succulents. These include;
1. Air Purification
As earlier discussed, succulents help purify the air by trapping air with harmful toxins in their roots.
This action keeps us safe from the adverse effects these toxins might cause. So, every home should have succulents.
2. They Help You Breathe
While other plants breathe like humans by exhaling carbon dioxide during the night, succulent plants rather exhale oxygen even at night.
Their respiration at night gives a cool and warm environment for humans. Succulents exhale oxygen during the day and at night as well. How amazing!
3. They Help Prevent Diseases.
Humidity in our homes can improve better when we plant more Succulents. Proper humid conditions can help prevent dry skin, colds, sore throat, and dry cough.
4. Household Uses
Agave has been used as a natural sweetener. It is also known for its natural antiseptic properties and can be used to treat wounds.
5. Health Improvement
Succulents such as aloe vera and agave plants are of good health benefits. You can use them on the skin for different purposes.
Just like other plants, Succulents are no exception to oxygen production. They release oxygen when they photosynthesize.
Some produce much more oxygen than other plants due to their ability to exhale oxygen at night.
The importance of succulents can’t be overemphasized as it has helped in so many ways physically and health-wise.
I personally recommend the presence of succulents in every house.