Indoor plants that help purify the air

House plants add color and vibrancy to any space. Whether it is a tiny desktop succulent or a large potted palm, plants can help brighten any room.

In addition to breathing life into a space, houseplants can also help the actual air we breathe. A variety of houseplants are known to improve indoor air quality. 

How do plants purify the air?

Thanks to years of science classes, most of us know that plants help purify the air. During photosynthesis, plants convert carbon dioxide into fresh oxygen; this process can also remove toxins from the air.

A landmark study [https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930073077.pdf] conducted by NASA found that several popular houseplants remove toxins from the air, including:

Benzane: Benzane causes eye irritation, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, and increased heart rate.

Carbon monoxide: In high concentrations, carbon monoxide can cause headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and even loss of consciousness.

Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde in the air can cause irritation of the mouth, throat, and nose.

Trichlorothylene: Trichlorothylene can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

What plants are best for improving indoor air quality?

Experts recommend having at least two plants per 100 square feet of living space to maximize their detoxifying benefits; look for plants with larger leaves to help purify air faster. There are several no-fuss houseplants that can help improve the air quality inside your home.

1. English ivy: English ivy is an easy-growing perennial vine that can be easily trained into shapes. It is particularly effective at reducing airborne fecal particles; this makes English ivy the perfect air purifier for your bathroom. Likewise, studies have shown that English ivy can help combat mold levels.

Care tips: English ivy does best with generous watering and at least four hours of direct sunlight per day.

2. Dragon tree: Dragon tree helps remove pollutants including trichloroethylene and xylene from the air. This slow-growing plant has spiky leaves that range in colors from deep greens to purples, adding a pop of color to your plant collection.

Care tips: Dragon trees have the potential to grow up to eight feet! Limit exposure to direct sunlight to help keep the plant manageable.

3. Spider plant: Spider plants are the perfect beginning houseplant for those not blessed with green thumbs. Resilient and hardy, spider plants battle toxins including carbon monoxide and xylene with their long, two-tone leaves. Spider plants are perfect for homes with pets, as they are one of the few houseplants that are non-toxic to animals.

Care tips: Once the spider plant is established, repot tiny “spiderettes” to grow a whole family of easy to care for, air-purifying plants.

4. Snake plant: Also known as Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, snake plants are perfect for beginners. These easy to care for succulents release oxygen at night, making them ideal for bedrooms.

Care tips: Snake plants can survive in a variety of light environments. Avoid overwatering since they are prone to root rot and require little to no water to survive.

5. Rubber tree: While fake rubber trees are popular, nothing can replace the real thing! The large, glossy leaves of rubber trees help break down carbon dioxide in the air.

Care tips: Wipe down leaves regularly with a damp cloth to prevent them from accumulating dirt or dust. Likewise, rubber trees should be watered regularly and do best in well-drained potting soil.

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