10 Great House-Plants For Improved Indoor Air Quality
NASA Research Praises Indoor Plants
Houseplants can help lift your mood and purify the air. NASA research (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has proven that indoor plants can detoxify the surrounding air.
Potted plants in home and office remove chemical pollutants known to affect health such as Benzene, Trichloroethylene and Formaldehyde. NASA's top 10 air-filtering houseplants are listed below.
10 Houseplants That Reduce Indoor Pollution
- English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
- Golden Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)
- Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exalta Bostoniensis)
- Dracaena (Dracaena Deremensis)
- Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Elegans)
- Dragon Tree (Dracaena Marginata)
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
- Lady Palm (Rhapis Excelsa)
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
- Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)
NASA Clean Air Study Results in Big Improvement to Air Quality
50 Detoxifying Plants For Indoor Spaces
For lots of choice, I recommend . The book is the result of NASA’s indoor air quality research project. It lists the 50 best house plants for purifying home and office spaces. It includes details of each plant’s ability to filter out and remove common pollutants such as ammonia, formaldehyde, and benzene. There is also guidance on which house plants are easy to care for and which rooms they would suit best. How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office
1. English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
English ivy requires little maintenance and grows in virtually any indoor condition. It is recommended for removing carcinogens from secondhand tobacco smoke.
2. Golden Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)
Golden pothos was NASA’s top recommendation for indoor formaldehyde removal. It is also good for lowering carbon monoxide levels.
3. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exalta Bostoniensis)
This large ornamental fern has a great visual impact and is easy to care for. It acts as an air humidifier and helps eliminate formaldehyde.
4. Dracaena (Dracaena Deremensis)
Dracaena is a very large plant which may not be suitable for many homes, but it can be useful for offices to eliminate trichloroethylene, which comes from solvents and varnishes.
5. Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Elegans)
NASA found this small decorative palm to be a good air filter for benzene and trichloroethylene. It is also a great air humidifier, is easy to grow, and is resistant to insect attack.
6. Dragon Tree (Dracaena Marginata)
A dragon tree is low maintenance and recommended for offices and homes that need to remove xylene from the air. Xylene is released from car exhaust, paints, and cigarettes.
7. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
The peace lily is an attractive plant that is effective at removing indoor air pollutants. However, if eaten, its leaves can be poisonous. Therefore, it should not be placed it in areas frequented by children or pets.
8. Lady Palm (Rhapis Excelsa)
The attractive palm requires frequent watering in hot weather, so it is not as easy to care for as some other plant options. However, it does effectively reduce multiple indoor pollutants so is worth the extra effort.
9. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
The spider plant grows well in bathrooms, kitchens, and areas where the air is moist. It requires very little attention and removes carbon monoxide from the air.
10. Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)
The snake plant (mother-in-law's tongue) is a good all-rounder and is low maintenance. It absorbs formaldehyde and other chemical air pollutants, which makes it a great choice to have indoors.
Are African Violets Good for Air Quality?
Yes, African Violets scored well in NASA's tests to improve indoor air quality. They are small and easy to care for (but beware of over-watering them.) They have the added benefit of being a colorful accessory to your home.
How to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution
- Reduce or remove the source of the pollution. For example, have your boiler serviced regularly so it burns without producing dangerous carbon monoxide. You could also forbid smokers from lighting up indoors, as secondhand smoke contains carcinogens.
- Improve room ventilation. Increasing the number of air changes per hour will remove many pollutants. You can do simple things like opening up a few windows to increase air circulation.
- Use air cleaners to filter and remove pollutants. Many mechanical air cleaners are available on the market, but they can be expensive to buy and maintain. The NASA research study has shown that houseplants provide a practical, low cost, and easy-to-maintain alternative.
House-Plants For Clean Air
Are Indoor Plants Low Maintenance?
All plants are living things and so they need the correct temperature, food, and water to thrive. When choosing a house plant for your home or office it is a good idea to discuss your requirements with the plant nursery before buying. For example, you would buy a different plant for an airconditioned office from one that would be placed in a steamy shower room.
You may prefer a showy flowering plant over one that stays leafy for the majority of the year. In general, a flowering plant needs feeding more frequently than a foliage-only one. Producing flowers uses up a lot of a plant's energy. If you buy from a reputable supplier they will be able to advise you the best way to care for and prolong the life of your air-purifying plant.
Common Sources of Health-Damaging Pollutants
Benzene – Found in glues, paints, furniture wax and detergents.
Formaldehyde – Found in pressed wood products (plywood, particle board, paneling), and foam insulation products.
Trichloroethylene – Used as a solvent and as a refrigerant.
Xylene and Toluene – Present in a wide variety of household sprays and consumer products.
Ammonia – Present in aerosols and sprays used in the home.