Cleaning the air through planting

Photo courtesy of The Portman Estate

Trees, shrubs, flowers, grass and moss clean the air we breathe by absorbing harmful pollutants, including vehicle and building pollutants. Planting plays an important role in keeping our air clean, and through our urban realm schemes we will introduce an extensive and vibrant planting programme.

We all want to take part in improving the air we breathe and we can do so through planting a variety of plant species that work to absorb pollutants. Below is a list of easy-to-grow and low-maintenance plants that are adept to cleaning our air, and which will be planted throughout the Marylebone LEN urban realm schemes.

Photo courtesy of The Portman Estate

Amazon Mist (Carex):

From the Cyperaceae family, Amazon Mist is native to New Zealand and is also commonly referred to as Hybrid Sedge or Sedge. Very eye-catching, the Amazon Mist has very slender grassy leaves that grow in the shape of a water fountain. When fully grown, Amazon Mist is green on the top, and white on the underside, creating a mist-like appearance.

Take Care:

Grow the Amazon Mist in full sun to partial shade and in moist, but well-drained soil.

English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia):

Native to the Mediterranean region, English lavender is a low-growing shrub. Apart of the Lamiaceae family, is often referred to as True Lavender in the UK. Its fragrant flowers and dazzling purple colours make it a favourite for any garden, especially in the Marylebone LEN.

Take Care:

Lavender can survive with little water consumption. Grow the Lavender in areas where there is good drainage in order to avoid root rot issues. Lavender grows best in the sun and in a raise bed or rock garden.

Coneflower (Echinacea Paradoxa):

From the sunflower family, coneflower is native to Missouri and Arkansas, USA. The coneflower’s petals are delicate and come in array of colours, including white, pink and yellow. The coneflower is easy to spot, with its dropping ray florets and is a favourite for bees and butterflies.

Take Care:

Grow the coneflower in full sunlight, with well-drained soil. Consider planting on sand, chalk or garden gravel.

Cowslip (Primula Veris):

Found throughout Europe, Asia and the most of the UK, cowslip is from the primrose family Primulaceae. The name cowslip comes from the old English for cow pastures, as this plant was often found growing in pastures. With it yellow flowers, the cowslip makes a great addition to any garden.

Take Care:

Grow the cowslip in full sun or partial sun, in moist, but well-drained soil.

Other plants that absorb pollutants and are easy to plant include: Mrs Winder (Hebe), Wintergreen Barberry (Berberis Julianae), Spotted cranesbill (Geranium Maculatum), and Franchet’s Cotoneaster (Contoneaster franchetii).

If you are interested in learning more about the plants listed above or about how planting improves air quality, visit www.woodlandtrust.og or