The air inside your apartment has been shown to be 10 times more polluted than the air outside. Would you like to purify your indoor air with houseplants? There are even sources that list the results of the NASA study, which analyzed the best indoor houseplants for this purpose.
But here’s the reality: Many of NASA’s plants aren’t easy to grow indoors. That’s where this blog comes in!
Based on the study, I have listed 9 plants below that I believe are the easiest to grow indoors and are also mostly unaffected by pests. These houseplants also are great for areas with lower lighting levels.
Why Indoor Air Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
Many reasons have contributed to indoor air quality deterioration over the past few decades. The proliferation of energy efficient buildings and homes has reduced air exchange and trapped many pollutants indoors.
We breathe in toxic substances from the manufactured and engineered objects that line our homes and buildings.
In the air we breathe are substances like formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene, chloroform and ammonia. Some chemicals are even toxic; they are used in things like adhesives, carpets, paints, paper towels, plywood, tobacco smoke, upholstery, wall coverings, cleaning products, etc.
I was in middle and high school when I first learned that house plants would clean the air we breathe from toxic elements. The house filled up with plants when my father started smoking a lot.
Sick Building Syndrome
With the advent of more energy efficient buildings and homes, many illnesses became increasingly prevalent in the 1980s.
As a result of this, symptoms associated with toxins trapped in indoor air became known as Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).
People living in sick buildings tend to suffer from allergies, asthma, headaches, sinus issues, respiratory issues and other ailments.
In 1989, the Washington State EPA examined the quality of the indoor air in ten public buildings with high energy efficiency.
As a result, certain chemical concentrations were 100 times higher than the normal background levels in some cases.
People nowadays spend so much time indoors that it is hardly surprising that they have allergies and other illnesses.
The 9 Easiest Houseplants to Clean Indoor Air
It’s always been my opinion that more plants are better, and that’s especially true of houseplants! Let me introduce the nine (out of 50) houseplants that I picked from the NASA study below.
Several of the plants on the list are easy to grow, commonly available, with little risk of disease or pests, and would also do well in lower light!
It has been found that the moth orchid, or Phalaenopsis orchid, is exceptionally good at removing xylene from the air. You can grow them easily, and you’ll be rewarded with months of blooms.
In fact, I love these plants so much that I wrote a book about them! Moth Orchid Mastery is available in eBook, paperback and audio book formats.
These plants are among the best for removing a vast range of chemicals from your indoor air. They may seem like nothing special, but they really do a great job of cleaning your indoor air! Not to mention very easy to grow!
These are particularly good at removing alcohols, acetones, trichloroethylenes, benzenes, and formaldehydes.
Transpiration, or water evaporation from leaves, is the way plants remove indoor toxins. This is why this plant is such a great axtophyte.
Why does transpiration assist in removing air pollutants? Air is forced down near the roots by the movement of water, and nitrogen and oxygen are added to the soil as a consequence.
Plants end up utilizing nitrates as a nutrient by converting nitrogen gas into nitrates through microbes.
As a result of increased air movement in plants, toxic indoor air is transported from the roots to the plant’s leaves where microbes breakdown the chemical gasses into nutrients that the plant can use. Isn’t this miraculous?
Its ability to remove chemical vapors from your air is also unmatched in its industry. This plant outperformed all other ficus plants tested in the NASA study when it came to removing toxins.
It has been demonstrated to be particularly efficient at removing formaldehyde from your indoor air.
This plant is tolerant of low light, but thrives more in brighter environments. It is an easy plant to grow.
One of the best plants for removing chemical vapors from indoor air is the corn plant (Dracaena fragrans). It is especially good at removing formaldehyde, just like the rubber plant.
However, you will achieve improved growth and appearance if you give them brighter indirect light.
No collection of houseplants is complete without at least one pothos…or two…or three. The most common houseplants and those easiest to propagate, they are among the most popular.
Heart Leaf Philodendron
Pothos are easy to grow, and heart leaf philodendron are not too hard to grow. Despite their similar appearance, they have their own distinctive character. Each one deserves its own place in your home!
My favorite palm indoors is the parlor palm. I’ve tried many, and parlor palms are the only palms I will grow in my home.
Plants like these don’t need much of an introduction. Spider plants are an excellent choice for beginners because of their ease of growth and their ease of propagation!
The collection of a Sansevieria is also incomplete without it. Plant them up! These are arguably the easiest and toughest houseplants to grow. So go ahead and fill your house!
Unlike many other plants, snake plants produce oxygen at night while removing carbon dioxide, an interesting feature of their shape and leaves.
I can highly recommend the book How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office by Dr. B.C. Wolverton if the science of air purification with houseplants intrigues you.
It was a very fascinating read. I’ve read it cover to cover and have found it to be a very interesting read. After all, my educational background is in chemical engineering, so I was definitely nerded after reading this book.
The book provides basic information on plant growth, the science behind the NASA experiment, and includes care instructions on the 50 houseplants that were studied.
The data below were extracted from the book referred to above in order to evaluate the best houseplants for humidifying indoor air. I also wrote a blog post assessing which indoor plants are best for humidifying air.
Despite the fact that houseplants add to the beauty and ambience of your home, they are not just for beauty. Houseplants also help keep your indoor air fresh and clean, and with reduced levels of toxins in your air. So go for the houseplants!
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