Grow a Garden to Clean the Air

Grow a Garden to Clean the Air

In nature, trees, shrubs and flowering plants of different shapes, sizes, textures and habits all grow together.

In our towns and cities, plant diversity can mop up astonishing amounts of pollution from the air. We can play a part in cleaning our air by planting our gardens for air quality. Such gardens are also vital for biodiversity and will be beautiful.

The plants described here have been researched for their cleansing properties.
Remember: the more variety in our planting, the closer we can get to nature’s own air filtration system. Leaves, stems and flowers all have a part to play in taking up pollutants from the air.

Leaves and stems
The waxy needles of Yew and the nets formed by the broad leaves of trailing Ivy and the hairy stemmed Honeysuckle are very efficient mesh systems. Yew hedging can filter out 71% of tiny airborne particles (PM2.5) in its environment.
The delicate branching leaf structure of the Silver Birch traps 79% of particles in a body of air. The broad waxy surface of Elder deposits out 70.5% while flowering plants such as Lady's Mantle with wide, waxy evergreen leaves provide similar purifying effects all year. The feathery, filtering leaves of Yarrow and Lavender and the waxy leaves of ground cover plants like Bugle act as air purifiers below the shrubs and trees.

Blossoms that are made up of lots of tiny florets are especially good filters. Elder and Yarrow have broad, flat-topped flower heads of myriad florets called umbels, while Lavender and Lady’s Mantle carry their florets in upright spires. At ground level Bugle will spread quickly, sending up densely packed blue flower spikes, and Honeysuckle, which binds all layers together, captures pollutants on the fine hairs of its stems and in its intricate flowers.

Grow a Garden to Clean the Air with the Indigenous Seven

These seven plants are indigenous, wild, hardy, easy to grow and together would provide shelter and food for a range of wildlife and maintain the soil they grow in.

Lady's mantle

For those with more space choose the Silver Birch and other well-known garden shrubs and flowering plants with similar characteristics: Osmanthus, Snowberry, Lavender, Salvia sp., Heuchera sp. and Aster sp. with Creeping Jenny as ground cover.

Ultimately all particulate matter will reach the soil.