It is that time of the year when we gradually start shifting our outdoor fun to indoor activities and garden parties to in-house dinners. Yes, summer has arrived, and we will be spending most of our time indoors depending solely on the air condition to help us stay cool and beat the rising temperatures. But, if you are looking for a natural, environmentally friendly and inexpensive way to keep your home cool and fresh, try welcoming a few leafy green companions into your home.

Most of us may keep a plant or two around for decorative purposes. Although, plants are known do add beauty to our home, certain plants can also keep the air cool and flush out toxins from the air. Due to the increased amount of water they lose during transpiration, these plants have a higher ability to cool the air and leave it purified.

Consider getting one of these five plants, which can help keep the temperatures down and your home cool in the months to come.


Areca palm

Mostly used for decorative purposes, this popular living room plant also acts as a natural air humidifier. In an experiment done by Nasa, the areca palm took first place and was ranked the best houseplant for cleaning the air and adding moisture to the surrounding atmosphere.

Caring tips: This bold, attractive and easy to care houseplant requires both water and light in moderation. The best approach is to place it in a bright spot that doesn’t receive direct sunlight and water it just enough to keep the soil moist.


Snake plant

Also known as Mother-in-law’s Tongue, the snake plant is one of the few plants that gives out oxygen at night, thereby keeping you cool as well as absorbing a wide number of toxins from the air.

Caring tips: One of the most tolerant plants, the snake plant can be neglected for weeks together and still look fresh. Additionally, they can survive low light levels, drought and has almost no insect problems. In fact it is suggested to let these plants dry out a little before watering.


Ficus tree

Also known as a weeping fig, this tree acts as an air filter and provides more oxygen compared to other plants. It absorbs moisture, thus keeping the air temperature cool and improving air quality.

Caring tips: The ficus tree loves high humidity but doesn’t like overly wet roots. Regular misting or placing your ficus tree on a tray of pebbles is a great way to increase humidity of the plant. Make sure you check the moisture of the soil before watering in order to avoid over watering. It also enjoys plenty of sunlight so let it soak up the sun for you.


Golden pothos

This is one of the best plants for improving air quality and controlling the inside temperature. It removes multiple toxins such as benzene, xylene, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide thus purifying the air and initiating good health.

Caring tips: The golden pothos doesn’t need much water and thrives in partial sunlight. This plant grows quickly so make sure you leave plenty of room for it.


Boston fern

Treasured for it lush foliage these feathery ferns are best displayed as a hanging plant. They are the perfect natural air purifier and humidifier for your home and are also safe for your pets because they are not toxic.

Caring tips: Boston ferns are delicate plants, and need to be handled with care. Any vigorous movement will cause the leaves to turn brown due to stress. Also, make sure you inspect your plant thoroughly for bugs before bringing them home. These plants are prone to spider mites and whitefly, which can be controlled by using soapy water spray.


— Saresa Anthonissen is the creative director of the Dubai Garden Centre.