As a means of providing purer and cleaner air for space stations, NASA began studying houseplants in the late 1980s. They learned that many different houseplants can help to purify the air, by filtering out certain harmful compounds and making the air much healthier to breathe. Added to your office or home to provide yourself and your family with air that is much purer and free from harmful agents, they are easily obtained and are an easy way to decorate.
Most of these plants are commonly found at your local florist, nursery, or home improvement store. Purchase one or several and enjoy the health benefits that they offer. The plants will filter out harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene—and provide you with oxygen at the same time. Below is a list of the 10 best houseplants to improve your indoor air quality.
Many people grow Aloe Vera because of its healing abilities—the gel inside the leaves is excellent for helping to heal burns and cuts, among other health benefits. Aloe Vera however, is also a great plant to improve your indoor air quality. It is easy to grow, hard to kill, and it helps to keep your space free from benzene.
Ferns are very popular houseplants and the Boston fern is one that offers beauty and healthy benefits. These plants act as humidifiers and can help to restore moisture in the air—making them perfect for those who suffer from dry skin and other cold weather problems. They can also help to eliminate traces of formaldehyde—and they look beautiful hanging from baskets all around the office. Remember to keep your Boston fern in direct sunlight and mist the leaves with water regularly.
The Chinese Evergreen can be found in many varieties, including variegated forms. It is very easy to care for and can help to rid your home of a number of air pollutants. It produces tiny red berries that are lovely to look at and can help to remove toxins from the air that are commonly found in chemical-based cleaning products. The longer you have the plant, the more toxins it will remove so plan on keeping your Chinese Evergreen for many years for optimal benefits.
Chrysanthemums are beautiful flowers that you can commonly find at most nurseries or floral shops, especially in the autumn. They prefer direct sunlight and work well as hanging plants near windows. They also repel roaches, ants, Japanese beetles, ticks, silverfish, lice, fleas, bedbugs, spider mites, harlequin bugs, and root-knot nematodes. The substance in chrysanthemums that makes them so effective as an insect-repelling companion plant is pyrethrum. The colors alone make them a wonderful choice for a houseplant, but they offer great benefits to your air quality as well. Chrysanthemums can help to filter out benzene, a chemical that is very commonly found in many household detergents as well as paints, plastics, and some glue products.
The English ivy, also known as California or sweetheart ivy, can reduce the amount of airborne fecal matter, which makes it optimal for bathrooms. It can also absorb formaldehyde which is commonly found in some cleaning products and furniture or carpeting treatments. Studies show that keeping an English ivy plant on your desk will help to give you better focus because it can also absorb trace amounts of benzene—a chemical commonly found in office equipment.
The eucalyptus plant has been used for centuries for all types of ailments. It can be a bit difficult to find in houseplant form but if you can find one, definitely consider adding it to your office. The leaves of the eucalyptus plant are filled with tannins which can raise healthy fluids in the body’s air passages. Just breathing in the scent of these plants can help to lower congestion problems and ward off colds.
This plant was NASA’s top recommendation for the removal of formaldehyde from interior air. It is also good at removing carbon monoxide. Golden Pothos should be grown in a draft-free spot with bright, indirect light and good ventilation. An hour or two of morning sun is acceptable, but full sun in the afternoon will cause the marbling of the foliage to fade. Insufficient light will also cause the variegation to fade. Pothos plants grow very well under fluorescent lighting, especially grow-lights, which makes them well suited for the office environment.
Heart Leaf Philodendron
The heart leaf philodendron is a climbing vine that is best suited for larger spaces such as lobbies. It is an excellent choice for removing formaldehyde—commonly found in particle board and other sources.
The peace lily is a beautiful plant and one that can improve your indoor air quality by as much as 60 percent. It helps to reduce the levels of mold spores that grow in the home by absorbing those spores through its leaves and them circulating them to the plant’s roots where they are used as food. In bathrooms, the peace lily can help to keep shower tiles free from mildew—and the plant can absorb harmful vapors from alcohol and acetone.
A commonly found houseplant is the spider plant which is also known as airplane plant, St. Bernard’s lily, spider ivy, and ribbon plant. No matter what you call it, this plant is one that is really easy to grow. The leaves grow quickly and help to absorb harmful substances like mold and other allergens, so it is the perfect plant for those who have common dust allergies. Within just two days, this plant can remove up to 90 percent of the toxins in your indoor air. It also helps to absorb small traces of formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.