The average person is estimated to spend 90% of his or her time indoors. Unfortunately, poor indoor air quality is a reality that is very concerning – the EPA has found that indoor air can be 2-5 times worse than outdoor air. The good news is there are ways we can improve the quality of our indoor air. An easy and beautiful way to clean our indoor air is by having houseplants.
It is common knowledge that houseplants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. Did you know that many common houseplants remove harmful pollutants such as trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air? These chemicals can commonly be found in the carpets and furniture we have in our homes. They can also be found in the household cleaning products and paper towels we use. The scary part is that these chemicals have been linked to diseases such as cancer and asthma. I shudder when I think of how many times I’ve used a damp paper towel to clean the hands and mouths of my 3 little ones.
So which plants should we have in our homes? Lucky for us, it is no secret. In the late 1980s, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) conducted a 2 year study to determine which plants are the most effective in purifying the air.
15 Best Plants to Clean Indoor Air
- Philodendron Scandens Oxycardium; Heartleaf Philodendron
- Philodendron Domesticum; Elephant Ear Philodendron
- Dracaena Fragrans varieties: Massangeana, Janet Craig and Warneckii
- Hedera Helix; English Ivy
- Chlorophytum Comosum; Spider Plant
- Ficus Benjamina; Weeping Fig
- Epipiremnum Aureum; Golden Pothos
- Spathiphyllum Wallisii; Mauna Loa Peace Lily
- Philodendron Bipinnatifidum; Selloum Philodendron
- Aglaonema Modestum; Chinese evergreen
- Chamaedorea Sefritzii; Bamboo or Reed Palm
- Sansevieria Trifasciata; Snake Plant or Mother In Law’s Tongue
- Dracaena Marginata; Red-edged Dracaena
- Gerbera Jamesonii; Gerbera Daisy
- Chrysanthemum Morifolium; Pot Mum
To significantly improve your indoor air quality, the study recommends having at least 15 of these houseplants for the average 2,000 square foot home. Ideally, each plant should be grown in a 6 inch container or larger. These plants will likely be readily available in your local nursery. Also, most of them are pretty easy to grow plants.
I personally have several dracaena varieties as well as a weeping fig and I can tell you they are really easy to grow. They aren’t what I would call ‘finicky’ plants. But don’t take my word for it, try them out for yourselves!
Nadia Ameri of the blog Love, Live and Garden is a psychologist turned blogger who aims to provide information on simple and fun ways to incorporate nature into everyday life.