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Banana, the anti pollution houseplant

March 11, 2020
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Banana, the anti pollution houseplant

The banana tree absorbs the formaldehyde that can be found in closed rooms

We live in polluted environments, in fact, often the inside of houses contains more toxic and irritating substances than the outside. This is due to the exhaust gas of cars and to the fumes of industries that come from outside, of course, but also, for example, to lacquers, paints and cleaning products for the home, printers, furniture, especially if new, stoves and chimneys that release pollutants. However, to improve the microclimate, we have really powerful tools at our disposal, plants!

NASA's study on the role of plants against pollution

In the late 1980s, in fact, NASA commissioned to a scientist, Bill Wolverton, a study about the ability of plants to absorb pollutants in order to bring an improvement in indoor air. Well, Wolverton concluded the study, which can currently be consulted online under the title Interior Landscape Plants for indoor air pollution abatement, with a list of almost 50 plants, all able, as the scientist managed to demonstrate, to absorb various toxic if not even carcinogenic substances. Among these 50 plants there is also a particular plant, very beautiful to look at and therefore perfect as an ornamental plant, the banana tree, or musa ornata.

Banana, what it can do against pollution at home

As demonstrated by Wolverton, banana is effective at absorbing formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a substance that is easily found in houses. It is, indeed, a combustion product, therefore released by cigarette smoke, stoves and fireplaces, but it can also be released by resins, such as urea formaldehyde, used as insulating material or by resins used for chipboard and plywood, upholstery, carpet, curtains or fabrics subjected to anti-crease treatments. Formaldehyde causes eye, nose and throat irritation but is also indicated by the IARC as carcinogenic, therefore it is necessary that its level in houses is as low as possible.

Banana, care and attention to grow it at home

Musa ornata is one of the species in which we can found the banana plant. The characteristic of this type of banana is that it can also be grown in pots in the apartment since it does not exceed one and a half meter, it has wide and oval leaves of a beautiful dark green color, a bit veined with pink while the flowers are pink. The banana of the musa ornata type is the only banana species that can produce fruits, pink and inedible, even if it is grown in the apartment. And how to grow the banana tree? The banana tree needs a lot of light but, possibly, not direct. It should not be exposed to low temperatures, below 10 degrees, but this is not a problem if it is grown inside a house. The soil should be mixed with sand to improve drainage and should always be kept a little moist.

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