As children we are all taught to be thankful for the trees that provide us with clean air to breathe. However it is easy to overlook the multitude of other plants. These big and small plants also provide us with a livable home environment.
Air Quality Research
The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) performed a two year study to determine the effect of indoor plants on air quality. Their study focused on the removal of common household chemicals. These chemicals include, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, and carbon monoxide. NASA discovered that, having houseplants present in a home can actually improve the air quality. They do this by removing common household chemicals from the air. These are most commonly known as the air cleaning plants.
Chemicals in the Home
Chemicals can be found in surprising products in the home. Formaldehyde is present in foam insulation, in many consumer paper products such as facial tissues and grocery bags. It is also present in stiffeners, fire retardants and adhesives. TCE can be found in printing inks, varnishes, adhesives and lacquers. While benzene is present in gasoline, inks, oils, paints and plastics. Over time these chemicals can off gas into the air of a home.
Some plants are more effective at pulling certain chemicals out of indoor air than others. For instance English ivy, gerbera daisy and Mother-in-Law’s tongue are most effective at removing benzene from the air. On the other hand peace lily and bamboo palm are effective at removing TCE. Golden pathos and green spider plant are good for removing formaldehyde from the air.
Recommended indoor air cleaning plants for improved air quality:
- Bamboo or Reed Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
- Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema modestum)
- Elephant Ear Philodendron (Philodendron domesticum)
- English Ivy (Hedera helix)
- Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
- Golden Pathos (Epipiremnum aureum)
- Heartleaf Philodendrum (Philodendrum scandens)
- Janet Craig (Dracaena “Janet Craig”)
- Marginata (Dracaena marginata)
- Mass Cane/ Corn Plant (Dracaena massageana)
- Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria laurentii)
- Pot mum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
- Selloum Philodendrum (Philodendrum selloum)
- Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
- Wareneckii (Draceana “Wareneckii”)
- Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
Try these air cleaning plants at home!
Most of these air cleaning plants can be found at your local nursery. These can be placed in a sunny room. They can also be incorporated into an existing window garden. According to NASA, the average home (a space under 2000 square feet) would benefit from having a sampling of fifteen air quality plants to support good air quality. They recommend planting them in pots 6 inches or larger.
Peruse the air cleaning plants list. Consider placing a few of these tried and true house plants in your home. Your health and well being can benefit from the improved air quality (and the ambience!)