Air quality, particularly in cities and built-up areas, is a growing issue. There’s no getting away from the fact. Earlier in the year, The Guardian reported that London had already hit the legal limit of air pollution for the whole of the year in less than a month. The same report found that around 40,000 deaths are caused every year by the staggering levels of air pollution in urban areas in the UK.
It’s likely that air pollution is a concern if you live in a larger city or built-up area. But what can you do to protect yourself and help out your area? Get out your trowel and come with us, as we join Compost Direct, suppliers of lawn top dressing, and venture into the garden to find out the best air-cleaning plants you can grow right now.
In a quest for greener air, green doesn’t need to be the only colour! 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.
These wonderful flowers, according to NASA, are perfect for dealing with multiple air toxins, including benzene.
This classic climbing plant is one you may already have climbing your home’s walls. It’s also known as the hedera helix. 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.
Introduce the wallflower known as the Erysimum if you’re looking to add more colour to your space. 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.
A great way to combat air pollution is by including hedges in your garden. Homes & Property recommends conifers for the job. Specifically, the western red cedar hedge is named as an ideal 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.
Of course, the idea of green gardening doesn’t have to end with the plants you have. You have to consider how you are tending to your garden as well.
Five great ways in which you can reduce pollution in ways beyond planting shrubs and flowers are:
- 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.