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Top 15 Houseplants for Improving Indoor Air Quality

Top 15 Houseplants for Improving Indoor Air Quality

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house_plants_air(OrganicJar) In the late 1980s, a study by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) was conducted to find ways to purify the air for extended stays in orbiting space stations. The study resulted in excellent news for homeowners and office workers everywhere, because it concluded that common houseplants not only make indoor spaces more attractive, they also help to purify the air!

While it’s a well known fact that plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen through photosynthesis, the NASA/ALCA study showed that many houseplants also remove harmful elements such as trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air.

The advantage that houseplants have over other plants is that they are adapted to tropical areas where they grow beneath dense tropical canopies and must survive in areas of low light. These plants are thus ultra-efficient at capturing light, which also means that they must be very efficient in processing the gasses necessary for photosynthesis. Because of this fact, they have greater potential to absorb other gases, including potentially harmful ones.

In the study, NASA and ALCA tested primarily for three chemicals: formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. Formaldehyde is used in many building materials including particle board and foam insulations. Additionally, many cleaning products contain this chemical. Benzene is a common solvent found in oils and paints. Trichloroethylene is used in paints, adhesives, inks, and varnishes.

NASA noted that some plants are better than others in treating certain chemicals. For example, English ivy, gerbera daisies, pot mums, peace lily, bamboo palm, and Mother-in-law’s Tongue were found to be the best plants for treating air contaminated with benzene. The peace lily, gerbera daisy, and bamboo palm were very effective in treating trichloroethylene. Additionally, NASA found that the bamboo palm, Mother-in-law’s tongue, dracaena warneckei, peace lily, dracaena marginata, golden pathos, and green spider plant worked well for filtering formaldehyde. After conducting the study, NASA and ALCA came up with a list of the most effective plants for treating indoor air pollution.

The recommended plants are listed below. Note that all the plants in the list are easily available from your local nursery.

  1. Oxycardium Philodendron, heartleaf philodendron, Philodendron scandens
  2. Elephant Ear Philodendron, Philodendron domesticum
  3. Massangeana, cornstalk dracaena, Dracaena fragrans
  4. English Ivy, Hedera helix
  5. Spider Plant, Chlorophytum comosum
  6. Janet Craig, Janet Craig dracaena, Dracaena deremensis
  7. Warneckii, Warneck dracaena, Dracaena deremensis
  8. Weeping Fig, Ficus benjamina
  9. Golden Pothos, Epipiremnum aureum
  10. Peace Lily, Mauna loa, Spathiphyllum
  11. Selloum Philodendron, Philodendron selloum
  12. Chinese Evergreen, Aglaonema modestum
  13. Bamboo or reed palm, Chamaedorea sefritzii
  14. Snake Plant, Sansevieria trifasciata
  15. Red-edged Dracaena, Dracaena marginata

For an average home of under 2,000 square feet, the study recommends using at least fifteen samples of a good variety of these common houseplants to help improve air quality. They also recommend that the plants be grown in six inch containers or larger.

Here is a list of resources for more information on this important study:

PDF files of the NASA studies related to plants and air quality:

List of NASA studies related to treating a variety of air and waterborne pollutants with plants:

Leave a Comment and Tell Us Your Favorite Houseplant?

Source: doitgreen.org

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  1. I love plants! I can’t get enough of them. I was wondering, are plants in the succulent family good for air quality?

  2. One should also check the air quality level of the area one is residing so that effective measures could be taken like keeping household plants which are more effective in tackling the kind of pollution prevalent. There are many websites that provide asthma and allergy alerts as well as air pollution level and which should be checked regularly.

  3. as a reminder Toxic or poisonous: aloe vera, chrysanthemum, ieffen bachiasp Dumb Cane, hedera English Ivy, philadendron. Try to keep above or not at all when pets of children in home.

  4. Some people pretend to know, while some create excellent articles like yours to shed knowledge on this valuable topic. Thanks!

  5. Recent tests have shown that employees who used to suffer from headaches and tiredness felt better after working for two years with a cactus next to their monitors. A hypothesis has been suggested that cacti evolved to counter the effects of harsh solar radiation.

    The science is unproven, but why not play it safe and enjoy a little nature while you work?

  6. i wish that with each picture of the 15 plants a name of the plant would be shown under the plant picture so one could say i want a _______ plant that i saw etc. that way it would be easier to make a choice??? good suggestion huh:)

  7. Thanks for the suggestion. We will do this next time. Cheers!

  8. Madam Resueno, thanks for posting an encouraging plants that could save our life from pullotion. Keep is up my nice and beautiful friend.

  9. Actually there are so many of them here in our neighbors front yard and even on the side streets. Thanks for giving me such instructions; and beginning today I will change my flower that of the indoor plants for its aids our life to be prolonged.

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