air quality

How to reduce your exposure to air pollution in the garden

It’s no secret that the air quality within UK cities is poor. The problem is particularly prevalent within London, where, in 2019, the air quality value for the entire year was breached in just over two months. In fact, the air quality for UK cities is so poor that every year thousands of deaths are linked to the toxicity in the air.

For those of us living in the city, there are a number of plants you can add to your outdoor space in order to protect yourself from pollutants in the air. Play bark supplier Compost Direct explores further:

Gerbera daisies — adding a little colour

There are so many shades of the rainbow that you can bring to your greener garden! 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.

That’s not the only benefit. NASA states that these wonderful flowers are great for dealing with multiple air toxins, such as benzene.

English ivy — climbing up the air quality charts

You may well already have this beautiful plant winding up the walls of your house. 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.

Wallflower — not to be ignored in the quest for greener air

If you yearn for a colourful garden, take a look at the humble wallflower. 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.

Conifers — more than just a pretty border

Ever thought about replacing your fences with hedges? Hedges are great for combatting air pollution, and 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.

Practices to keep your garden green

Being green is more than just plants though. You have to consider how you are tending to your garden as well. SmilingGardener offers five great ways to reduce pollution in ways beyond planting shrubs and flowers:

  • Don’t pick corn gluten meal. SmilingGardener notes this meal is made up from genetically modified corn, so best to stay away from using it, if possible.
  • Keep your equipment quiet. This one’s more for noise pollution, but it’s certainly an added bonus for the pollution-conscious gardener to take note of!
  • Work on composting. You can turn many waste products into compost to stop it going to the landfill.
  • Reduce your use of pesticides. This one is probably a given, but if you can avoid using chemicals on your garden, please do.
  • Look at plants 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.


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