Are household plants capable of purifying the air? According to a NASA study published in 1989, plants in a closed system can remove volatile organic compounds from the air.
The most recent research indicates that the importance of plants in air quality is often overstated by this study. Compared to an average building’s air exchange system, plants remove VOCs at a lower rate. There would need to be between 10 and 1,000 plants per square meter to have an effect on air quality.
Other benefits can still be derived from houseplants. Research has shown they can elevate your mood, relieve stress, and act as a natural air humidifier.
According to NASA’s study, the following 10 plants can improve the air quality in your home.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)
The peace lily seems to be the most likely plant to purify air. In terms of amount of VOCs removed, this plant topped NASA’s list.
The peace lily is one of the easiest houseplants to grow, making it a great choice for beginners. It grows up to three feet tall and has long, white flowers. In direct sunlight, it prefers shady corners and partial sunlight. Overexposure to sunlight may result in its leaves becoming pale or curling. The peace lily is a tropical native that prefers high humidity, although it can also grow in average conditions.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
In addition to NASA’s research, other studies have found that spider plants remove dust and ash more effectively than other surfaces in a house. By placing spider plants near a fireplace, for example, the plants may attract ash particles that would otherwise end up elsewhere in the room.
A spider plant can also tolerate low light levels and infrequent watering, so they are easy to grow. In addition to propagation by cutting off the “spiderettes,” they can also be propagated easily. Plants can then be transplanted into other pots to grow on their own.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
Snake plants grow in tropical West Africa and are striking plants. It’s also one of the easiest houseplants to care for, so it’s a great choice for beginners. Although it prefers bright light, it can tolerate partial shade and doesn’t require a specific humidity level. Snake plants can grow in any part of the house. Succulents store water in their thick leaves, and would rather not be overwatered than overfed.
Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Golden pothos thrives in most indoor environments, including those without much natural light. It can grow up to a foot in a month, making it one of the fastest-growing houseplants. The vine grows long rather than tall, and its heart-shaped leaves can be trained onto shelves or allowed to fall naturally. Overwatering can cause root rot.
Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
Dragon trees can withstand a range of conditions, including drought and high humidity. A steamy bathroom or other location is a great place to use this. Although small specimens of dragon trees are available at nurseries and garden centers, when grown mature, these trees can reach heights of six feet. As a result of its tolerant nature, it’s often referred to as an indestructible houseplant that can survive even the most inattentive owners.
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
If grown indoors, the weeping fig can reach a height of three to six feet. Native to Asia and Australia, it has waxy, bright green leaves that droop even when perfectly healthy. When stressed or moved to a new spot, figs may drop their leaves, as they value consistency. A ficus can be tricky to care for, but if you get the watering and lighting right, they will last for years.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum)
China’s evergreens have colorful, variegated foliage that makes them an attractive species. Even artificial light environments and monthly watering are not a problem for this hardy houseplant. Despite this, it prefers to grow in partial sunlight and to be cared for weekly. It prefers high humidity as a tropical native. Try misting the plant periodically if the leaves are turning brown.
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
Known as English ivy, it is a popular houseplant that grows well in a variety of conditions. It thrives in moist, shady conditions and can even thrive in a bathroom. Due to its tendency to droop and grow longer rather than taller, it is a good choice for hanging plants. If you like the look of English ivy, you can propagate it by cutting, making it simple to spread around the house. The plant is also aggressively invasive in the United States, and shouldn’t be grown outdoors or thrown in a compost pile.
Heart-Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum)
The heart-leaf philodendron is a low-maintenance plant with glossy, heart-shaped leaves. It can thrive with little care. Trailing plants can be trained to climb up a screen, trellis, or pole, or they can be allowed to droop from a container. The South American native is tolerant of dry conditions, but will thrive if misted occasionally to clean the leaves. Pets and children should not ingest this product, as it is toxic.
Aloe (Aloe barbadensis)
Aloe is a versatile houseplant best known for its medicinal properties, like treating burns and cuts. Aloe can treat sunburns and rashes with a small cutting, and the plant won’t be damaged. Due to its thick, water-retaining leaves, aloe is a highly drought-tolerant plant. Sandy, dry soil, as well as direct sunlight, is what it prefers, so a bright window is likely to be the best place for it to grow.