indoor plants purify the air

Do Indoor Plants Purify the Air in Your House?

It’s well known that indoor plants enhance mood and reduce stress levels.

There is just a unique feeling about having something green and living that you take care of, which is a source of happiness.

But did you also know that indoor plants can purify the air in your house?

Well, indoor plants purify the air in your living space. Having good quality indoor air is a top priority for anyone who spends a lot of time indoors, especially during the cold months.

If your house is not properly ventilated, indoor pollutants may build up to unhealthy levels within a short period. This is where indoor plants come in handy to purify the air from particulates such as pollen, mould spores, dust, and volatile organic compounds released from solvents, plastics, carpeting, wallpaper, fabrics, or paints.

This article will inform you of the types of indoor plants that purify the air the best and how indoor plants purify the air in your house.

How Do Indoor Plants Purify the Air in Your House?

Indoor plants purify the air by absorbing certain harmful pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon dioxide through tiny pores on their leaves and then converting them into oxygen through photosynthesis.

Some plants can also remove other toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde from the air. Additionally, plants release water vapour into the air, which can increase humidity and help reduce airborne viruses and other pathogens.

Are Indoor Plants Better Than Air Purifiers?

Indoor plants and air purifiers have their own strengths and weaknesses, and which one is “better” depends on the specific situation and needs.

Indoor plants can be effective at removing certain pollutants from the air, and they also provide aesthetic and psychological benefits. However, they are typically less effective than air purifiers at removing a wide range of pollutants and may require specific environmental conditions and maintenance to thrive.

Air purifiers, on the other hand, can remove a variety of pollutants from the air, including those that are not removed by plants. They are also usually more effective than plants at removing pollutants quickly and consistently. However, they can be expensive to purchase and operate, and they may produce noise or require filter replacements.

Best Indoor Plants for Air Purification

By now, you know that your indoor plants not only beautify your house but also purify the air you breathe. Several plants can detoxify the air in your living spaces from germs, dust, and toxins, which can be found in some furniture, materials, and household products. 

Here are some indoor plants that can help you purify air in your living spaces:

1. Variegated Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Sometimes referred to as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, this evergreen perennial plant is well-known for its air-purifying property. 

According to a study done by NASA on clean air, having the Snake Plant in your living area will help you eliminate airborne toxins such as Trichloroethylene, xylene, benzene, nitrogen oxide, and formaldehyde. 

Despite being a native to Western Africa, this plant has gained popularity in the last couple of years and is now planted worldwide. It grows well both outside and inside the house and requires minimal maintenance. 

Keeping small children and pets away from this plant will do you good since it can be toxic when ingested.

2. Rhapis excelsa (Lady Palm)

Well known as Broadleaf Lady or Lady Palm, Rhapis excelsa is a perfect fan palm to position in a dark corner of your house.

They are tolerant to a wide range of temperatures, high amounts of water, and low levels of light. 

Although Lady Palm can thrive in moist soil, it needs proper soil drainage to prevent root rot.

With an Asian nativity, this evergreen perennial small palm plant can do well in both outdoor and indoor environments.

Moreso, a study done by NASA on clean air found that having this plant in your living area will help you eliminate toluene, xylene, ammonia, and formaldehyde from the air in your living space.

3. Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

Popularly known as the Ficus tree, Weeping Fig is well known for its effectiveness in purifying the air in homes.

According to a study on clean air done by NASA, Weeping Fig effectively got rid of toluene, xylene, and formaldehyde.

Apart from being low maintenance, this evergreen houseplant can do well both inside and outside the house.

When using it as a houseplant, position it in an area with a lot of bright indirect natural light. Its leaves may burn if you place them directly in the sun.

Additionally, its roots can easily rot when exposed to a lot of water. So, when watering, allow the soil to dry before adding more water. 

Also, Weeping Fig is poisonous to animals. Therefore, it will do you good to take extra precautions if you have pets in your house. 

4. Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Lily)

Well known as Laceleaf or Flamingo Lily, Anthurium andreanum is an elegant evergreen plant popular for its beautiful flowers.

According to a study done by NASA Clean Air, this plant has an incredible capacity to remove airborne xylene, toluene, ammonia, and formaldehyde from the air in your living space.

Sadly, Flamingo Lily is not the easiest plant to grow in your house. It is outrightly not a piece of cake for those who do not have a green thumb.

If you decide to have this houseplant in your home, make sure you expose it to plenty of indirect light. 

The major disadvantage of Flamingo Lily is that it thrives well in a high-humidity environment.

Relative humidity that is below 50% may cause it to start to die. The simplest way to avoid this is by having a humidifier in your home.

When ingested, Flamingo Lily is poisonous to both animals and humans. Therefore, take caution if you have small children and pets in your house. 

5. Gerbera jamesonii (Barberton Daisy)

Popularly known as a Barberton Daisy, Gerbera jamesonii is an elegant flowering plant with a nativity to Eastern Africa. Although it is best suited for outdoor use, it is gaining popularity as an indoor houseplant.

A study done by NASA Clean Air found that Barberton Daisy is an excellent cleanser of air, eliminating Trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air in your living room.

Gerbera jamesonii would do well in an environment with good sunlight, plenty of water, and well-drained soil. 

6. Red-Edged Dracaena (Dracaena reflexa)

Also known as Red-Edged Dracaena or Pleomele, Dracaena reflexa is an upright-positioned evergreen shrub that produces narrow yellow, green, or cream-coloured leaves.

When this plant begins to mature, it gives forth small white flowers followed shortly by small red-orange berries.

According to a study done by NASA Clean Air, Dracaena reflexa is one of the most efficient plants at getting rid of formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds from the air in your living area. 

Apart from its cool look responsible for its popularity, this plant also requires little work to maintain. All you need is to keep it in an area with indirect sunlight and keep the soil slightly moist.

Nonetheless, apart from this plant’s excellent benefits, it is also toxic. It will do you good to keep small children and pets away from this plant.

7. Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum)

The popular Spider Plant is an excellent choice for many people who want to purify the air in their living spaces.

According to a test done by NASA, this plant can get rid of 90% of potential cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde in the air in your living area. 

Because formaldehyde is found in household products such as fillers, grout, and adhesive, it is an excellent idea to have Spider plants planted around your bathrooms and kitchen particularly.

Besides being an easy-to-maintain houseplant, Spider Plant is also safe and non-toxic to your pets and small children.

8. The Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)

The Peace Lily is an excellent remover of benzene and Trichloroethylene from polluted air. Benzene can naturally be released by synthetic fibres, detergents, tobacco smoke, rubber, paint, and gasoline. On the other hand, Trichloroethylene can naturally be released by varnish, glue, lacquer, and paint found in furniture.

The Peace Lily absorbs the chemicals from the air using its leaves and then transfers them to its roots, where microbes in the soil degrade them. 

In addition, the Peace Lily gives off plenty of moisture in the air, adding to the quality of air in your living space.

9. English Ivy (Hedera helix)

English Ivy is a perennial evergreen climbing vine that is easy to grow. Mostly, you will find it outdoors, growing across walls, buildings, and outside homes. Also, it likes growing up trees and covering its branches and trunks.

 English Ivy purifies air by removing mould spores from the air in your living area. This makes it a special plant that you may consider planting inside your home.

Airborne mould spores are linked to some serious illnesses. Having English Ivy planted in your living area will go a long way in preventing you and your loved ones from getting infected by illnesses caused by airborne mould spores.

Besides its benefits of purifying air, English Ivy is an invasive vine and can be toxic when ingested. Because of the toxic glycoside hederin found in its berries and leaves, you need to exercise caution when you have it in your living area, especially if you have small animals or children in your home.

10. Philodendrons

Philodendrons are famous house plants known to get rid of harmful chemicals from the air, having a high affinity for formaldehyde. Apart from being easy to maintain, they will make your room look beautiful with their huge dark green leaves.

Additionally, if you live in a dorm room or an apartment, the big leaves of Philodendrons will help you block harmful ElectroMagnetic Frequency radio waves that could be in the air of your room.

Philodendrons do not get rid of the following :

  • Ammonia
  • Toluene
  • Xylene
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Benzene

A study done by NASA Clean Air found three species of philodendrons to purify the air. These species included:

  • Philodendron cordatum: It is commonly known as “HeartLeaf Philodendron” and is of Brazilian origin. This perfect indoor houseplant with deep green heart-shaped leaves thrives well under shade.
  • Philodendron bipinnatifidum: Also known as Horsehead Philodendron or Lacy Tree, Philodendron bipinnatifidum is larger than some other species. However, it can be an excellent indoor plant that can help purify the air when small. With a nativity of South America, this species grows naturally in tropical regions.
  • Philodendron domesticum: Its common name is the Spade Leaf Philodendron or Burgundy Philodendron. Its leaves are arrow-shaped and glossy.

All the indoor plants listed above are excellent tools to enhance the air quality in your living area. Moreover, they are easy to maintain, good to have around, and can ease your breathing at night. Nonetheless, they are just tools to keep you healthy. 

In the long run, there are several other things you can set in place to enhance the quality of air in your home. The most effective way to do this is by having an air purifier nearby.

Air purifier systems will eliminate a wider range of airborne pollutants, including many toxins that houseplants may not eliminate.

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