Indoor plants don’t just look good. Besides adding aesthetic appeal to your home, certain air purifying houseplants dramatically improve indoor air quality by filtering pollutants and naturally freshening your living space.
Why Do I Need Indoor Plants to Filter the Air?
Unfortunately, modern homes contain a plethora of man-made materials that can contain some pretty eco-unfriendly substances. Household products like paints, adhesives, cleaning products, cosmetics (and ironically, even air fresheners) are common culprits. Toxins like VOCs (volatile organic compounds) include benzene, formaldehyde, and acetone which have been linked to a host of health concerns like cancer, neurological problems, and organ damage. Compounding the problem (no pun intended), one of the best ways to improve a home’s energy-efficiency is to thoroughly seal and insulate it. But this can also keep indoor pollutants from dispersing outside.
Fortunately, many plants do an excellent job of removing toxins and allergens from the air. A plant naturally “breathes” by absorbing air into tiny pores called stomata. Through the process known as translocation, pollutants are transported down through the plant into its root levels and then into the soil, and microbes break down the chemicals.
NASA studies have proven the benefits of plants on indoor air quality, and their research suggests using one or two houseplants per 100 square feet of indoor space to ensure good filtration. Studies have also shown that plants can reduce the presence of airborne mold and bacteria by half.
Which Houseplants Are the Best Air Purifiers?
Certain species of plants are particularly good at removing pollutants from indoor air. Many of them are tropical plants that naturally thrive on a shaded forest floor, meaning they’re moderately sized and don’t require too much sunlight – great for houseplants.
Listed below are some of the best air-filtering indoor plants. All are relatively easy to grow indoors. And note that most of these aren’t exotic species, but popular varieties you may already have in your home!
Areca Palm (chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
Rubber Plant (ficus robusta)
Gerbera Daisy (gerbera jamesonii)
Bamboo Palm (chamaedorea seifrizii)
Peace Lily (spathiphyllum sp.)
Corn Plant (dracaena fragrans massangeana)
Tulip (tulipa gesneriana)
(images: Lechuza Self-Watering Planters)