Are indoor plants bad for asthma?
A common concern with houseplants is they can be irritating to asthmatics sufferers.
Do indoor plants cause asthma? So what is the truth?
Despite the fact that certain species of indoor plants are beneficial to asthma sufferers, they can also cause symptoms to worsen because they can spread pollen or develop fungus. Despite the fact that plants purify the air and raise oxygen levels, they can also worsen asthma symptoms.
This does not mean that you should entirely disregard indoor plants if you have asthma. In fact, indoor plants aren’t nearly as troublesome as the outdoor variety when it comes to asthma. If you pick the right kinds and take good care of them, they can actually help.
In asthma, triggers include allergens, specific foods, smoking or smoke, medications, weather conditions, etc.
Food and weather not being good for asthma? Don’t know, it doesn’t seem to make much sense, but at the same time, it seems to hold true.
Similarly, plants are beneficial, they will reduce pollution, volatile organic compounds, airborne dust, and increase oxygen levels, but in contrast, there are many plant allergens, which is why we have so many problems.
Allergens originating from trees or grass, including pollen, mold, dust mites, and even insect poop, are the most common cause of asthma attacks in the vast majority of people.
It’s therefore clear that the main culprit here is outdoor vegetation, which is everywhere once you step out the door.
Houseplants are easy to identify beforehand in case of potential problems, and then we can just avoid them in the house in case of negative effects, thereby maximizing benefits with no negatives.
We will continue our exploration of what plants offer the most and least benefit to asthmatics.
Asthma-Friendly Indoor Plants
You’ll be pleased to learn that indoor plants are actually helpful in fighting asthma symptoms.
Indoor plants can dramatically improve air quality. If you plan to remove all volatile organic compounds and replace all the oxygen you consume, you would need an unreasonable amount of plants.
You should have houseplants because this will improve the air quality. It is known that indoor air quality is poorer than outdoor air quality.
As a healthy individual, you may encounter the following problems in the average house, in addition to those suffering from asthma:
There are various types of pollutant in plastics, fabric, pesticides, formaldehyde from household cleaners, cigarette smoke, and dust mold. Also, you may be familiar with the houseplant mold. Aside from helping filter out VOCs like formaldehyde and benzene, which have been associated with serious things like asthma, cancer, and respiratory illnesses, plants can do so much more.
However, indoor plants can also provide the following benefits:
- The increase in oxygen levels leads to improved concentration and faster breathing
- Make sleeping more comfortable
- Decrease your stress
- Reduce anxiety
- Improve mood
The oxygen one is pretty well known and most of us are familiar with it, but did you know what plants are best for keeping the air clean?
It is amazing how many of these benefits there are, who doesn’t want to be healthier and happier?
You should be cautious with indoor plants if you have asthma, however, since they can cause serious complications.
Planning asthma-improving plants must adhere to three golden rules:
Healthy plants mean healthy air. If you have asthma, fungus and mold pose the greatest danger to you, no matter how beneficial your houseplant might be. That is why you must do everything in your power to avoid those dangers developing in your plants.
Stick to the female plant. It’s a general rule that male plants produce pollen, while female plants remove it. For a lot of plant species, this isn’t a big deal, but if you suffer from asthma and fear pollen, this is a good rule to follow. Most plants can be differentiated based on appearance or by asking the seller, they should know their stuff.
Avoid high pollen plants. Pollination and reproduction by insects are generally better than pollination and reproduction by airborne pollen.
In light of those rules, what are the best houseplants for people with asthma?
The following are my top 5 and the reason for my choice.
Cleans air: 5/5
Why is it a good choice? Apart from its ease and beauty, the plant also cleans the air like few others and is pollinated by insects.
Furthermore, it droops when it needs water, so you can avoid overwatering, while avoiding fungal infection. Perennial peace lilies are also known for absorbing mold, making them perfect for green walls or in outdoor planters.
Cleans air: 4.5/5
Why is it a good choice? It is a superb air purifier, extremely tough, and very pretty with its sword-like leaves. Snake plants also require very little watering, so you only need to water when the soil is actually dry. This keeps the soil from overwatering and fungus problems.
Cleans air: 3/5
Why is it a good choice? In addition to being one of the easiest plants to care for and indestructible, cactus conserves as much energy as possible. It’s also one of the stingiest plants, so you won’t have to worry about its scent or pollen.
Cleans air: 3/5
Why is it a good choice? It is easy to take care of, pretty, and it produces both female and male flowers all in one plant. Begonias do not have a strong scent or odor, so you can rest easy about it.
Cleans air: 3/5
Why is it a good choice? Whether their scent is weak or strong, hibiscus plants are beautiful tropical plants that are usually self-pollinating and thirsty, which means they are hard to overwater.
Unfriendly Indoor Plants for Asthma
Now we learned that plants can be useful and beneficial for people with asthma, but there are some plants you should avoid.
The best thing that you can do is avoid houseplants that produce allergens like dust, pollen and mold, which may trigger asthma attacks.
You should follow the following three rules when choosing indoor plants that can aggravate asthma:
Avoid plants that attract dust or fungal spores. In addition to fungus, dust particles can also be a serious problem. Some houseplants can collect particles on the leaves, which means you have to clean them. That’s not so great for people with asthma.
Avoid plants that are hard to care for or are easily overwatered. Probably the biggest threat to indoor plants is mold or fungal spores. Avoid houseplants that require routine care or are prone to developing issues in your climate. And stay away from plants that require chemicals to be able to thrive.
Avoid high pollen plants. In the same way as pollen-rich plants cause allergies, these plants can affect asthma sufferers.
Bad level: 4/5
Why is it a bad choice? They produce proteins similar to latex that can be ingested either by touching the sap or inhaling it, as they release it into the air. Ficus is more difficult to grow than bonsai, but can cause just as much or more trouble. Furthermore, they have many leaves that trap dust. Ficus problems are well known to affect people who suffer from allergies or asthma, so it’s best to avoid them.
Bad level: 4.5/5
Why is it a bad choice? A variety of fungi cause white dusty leaves on African violets called powdery mildew, which is annoying and very hard to keep clean; you can only get rid of it with chemicals, which is really dangerous on these plants and for your asthma.
Bad level: 4/5
Why is it a bad choice? Trees, in general, are a problem for allergy sufferers, and bonsai are members of the juniper or cedar species, which makes them a major problem for those with allergies. Juniper bonsais in particular can trigger rashes in individuals. In addition, it is well known that they are difficult to grow, a common sign being that by the time the leaves turn brown, the roots are likely to already be rotten.
Male Palm trees
Bad level: 3.5/5
Why is it a bad choice? Although palm trees are beautiful tropical plants that do not require much maintenance, they shed a lot, and I mean a lot, of pollen. This can make you sneeze and itchy, so if you have asthma, these trees are not a good idea.
Bad level: 2.5/5
Why is it a bad choice? Well, this is a little controversial, since orchids are thought to be good allergy plants. We’re not talking about allergies here, though, so why orchids?
However, rotten roots and mold are among the most common problems in orchids, despite the fact that orchid pollen allergy is nonexistent.
It is common for orchids to secrete sugar and water-based substances that attract sucking insects and produce a strong scent that can make breathing difficult.
This being said, remember that overwatering can cause problems, so if you have a tendency to overwater plants, be aware and stick to indoor plants that are hard to overwater.