Gardening tips to combat air pollution

Gardening tips to combat air pollution

In a matter of months, London has already reached its air pollution allowance for 2019. There’s no denying that the cities of the UK have a staggering air pollution problem then, even outside of the capital. Each year, thousands of deaths are linked (indirectly) to our poor air quality, as a whole. If you are living in a heavily populated city area, there are indeed ways of keeping the air around your home clean. It’s time to head to the garden and plant some of the best air-filtering greenery to keep your exposure to air pollution down. Here are some gardening tips to combat air pollution

Bring in a range of hues with gerbera daisies

A greener garden means all kinds of coloured plants! 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. You can use even the cheapest topsoil to make a quick and financially-friendly new flowerbed in a sunnier spot for them!

gerbera daisy
Gerbera daisy

There are a number of other benefits too. For example, NASA states that these wonderful flowers are great for dealing with multiple air toxins, such as benzene.

Growing greener with English ivy

This gorgeous plant is already growing up the sides of many a UK house. Though it has a bad reputation in the States as being a weed, English ivy can be a lovely addition to your garden if tended to. The climbing 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.

Pay attention to the benefits of the wallflower

Wallflowers are a great way to up the ante of your air-filtering 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.

Curbing air pollution with conifers

If you have fences in your garden, consider swapping them for hedges. Hedges are great for combating 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.

topiary yew hedge
Yew trees pruned as topiary hedge

Eco-friendly garden techniques

A truly green garden has to have eco-friendly practices too. 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:

  • Begin composting your waste. You can turn many waste products into compost to stop it going to the landfill.
  • Avoid relying on pesticides. This one is probably a given, but if you can avoid using chemicals on your garden, please do.
  • Take a look at the plant life 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.
  • Pick a meal other than corn gluten meal. SmilingGardener notes that this meal is made up from genetically modified corn, so best to stay away from using it, if possible.
  • Choose 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!


Amy Hodgetts is a writer with a keen interest in the environment, air quality, and the merits of gardening in these areas. She has a particular interest in the types of flowers and foliage that can help promote healthier airspace both in and around the home, and enjoys exploring new methods of greener gardening.


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