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Reducing air pollution exposure through greener gardening

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

For those of us who live in densely populated cities, air quality can be a growing concern. The concerns are certainly well-founded, a London once again hit its air quality values for the whole year in a matter of just over two months in 2019. Its air quality is so poor that a number of deaths are attributed to the problem every year in the UK.

If you live in a city then, you will want to take measures to ensure the air around you is as filtered as possible. There are a number of plants that can help you to do this.

Colourful gerbera daisies

You can include a whole array of coloured on your quest to be greener! 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 all. NASA states that these wonderful flowers are also great for dealing with multiple air toxins, such as benzene.

Filtering with conifers

Looking for a garden border option that will also help with air pollution? 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.

Scaling up your green game with ivy

There’s something so picturesque about ivy. A classic climbing plant, you might already have the hedera helix climbing 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.

Not a wallflower to be overlooked

The Erysimum, more commonly known as the wallflower, is a colourful way to bring more air-filtering properties to your garden. 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.

Greener methods

Keeping your garden green extends beyond the plants you pick. 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:


  • Avoid pesticide use. This one is probably a given, but if you can avoid using chemicals on your garden, please do.


  • Consider composting. You can turn many waste products into compost to stop it going to the landfill.
  • Don’t use corn gluten meal. SmilingGardener notes this meal is made up from genetically modified corn, so best to stay away from using it, if possible.
  • Opt for silent/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!
  • Look inside as well as outside. 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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