Modern living means more time spent indoors. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average American spends a staggering 93% of their life inside. From office work to long commutes and over a year spent in quarantine, it is easy to feel as though we live in a digital ecosystem which is disconnected from nature. Thankfully, it is easy to bring the abundant healing properties of the outdoors inside your residence or workplace with house plants. In addition to their aesthetic value and health benefits, plants can improve your home’s air quality. This green option offers air purification solutions that beautify your home or place of work while also helping you breathe easier.
In 1989, NASA conducted a Clean Air Study which revealed that indoor plants offer a plethora of benefits for indoor spaces. According to the study, plants have powerful detoxifying properties that rid your home of toxins, dust, germs, and other airborne irritants. Scientists discovered that indoor plants could remove up to 87% of toxins from an interior space within a 24-hour period. Whether you want to freshen up your living space, improve air quality in the workplace, or provide your hotel or restaurant guests with a unique botanical experience, house plants will provide powerful design and detoxifying qualities.
Let’s examine the various plant properties that promote air purification and discuss which plants are best suited for indoor enjoyment.
Do Houseplants Improve Indoor Air Quality?
In addition to beautifying your home or workplace, house plants have many health-promoting benefits. After all, plants are the most effective air filters available thanks to the process of photosynthesis. Moreover, plants are the only air purification option that actually has the capability to produce oxygen. Humans breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, but plants perform this process in reverse. This powerful process is the foundation for each plant’s air purifying capabilities.
How Do Plants Make Air Pure?
Photosynthesis is the process by which plants use sunlight to synthesize food in the form of sugar from carbon dioxide and water. Chlorophyll, the pigment which gives plants their gorgeous green color, plays a critical role in this process. Chlorophyll reflects green light and is the primary pigment used in the photosynthetic process. When plants take in water from the soil and carbon dioxide from the air, chlorophyll absorbs energy from sunlight. Plants then use light energy to transform carbon dioxide and water into sugar. This process is crucial for all living beings because it releases the oxygen we need to sustain life on Earth.
Photosynthesis is the reason green plants are the most effective natural air purifiers. The air inside your home is replaced with outdoor air approximately every hour. Cumulative effects from long-term indoor exposure to air pollution pose significant threats to our health and well-being. According to the EPA, most homes have more than one source that contributes to indoor air pollution.
The EPA’s Guide to Indoor Air Quality confirms that common household pollutants can include:
- Tobacco Smoke
- Mold and mildew
- Household cleaning products
- Certain cosmetics
- Outdoor air pollutants
Heat and humidity can increase the concentration of some of these pollutants and toxins. Adding warm-weather friendly plants to your living or workspace in the summertime could help combat these airborne toxins.
Some people experience side effects of indoor air pollution after just one exposure event. Symptoms of air pollution may include irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat, dizziness, headaches, and fatigue. Long-term exposure to interior pollutants may lead to chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, and even certain types of cancers. Individual susceptibility to indoor air pollution depends on several factors, such as age, preexisting health conditions, and lifestyle.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of interior air pollution exposure, with introducing plants to your indoor environment being one of the most effective.
Adding plants to your home or place of work will enhance the space’s interior aesthetic and protect the air from the threat of environmental pollutants. Based on the NASA plant study data, B. C. Wolverton suggests placing at least two “good sized” plants for each 100 square foot area of interior space. Plants with bigger leaves are typically more effective at removing air pollutants. In fact, leaves play a major role in the house plant’s overall ability to improve air quality.
How Do Leaves Purify the Air?
Plants remove air pollutants through the process of phytoremediation, which Merriam Webster defines as “the treatment of pollutants or waste (as in contaminated soil or groundwater) by the use of green plants that remove, degrade, or stabilize the undesirable substances (such as toxic metals).”
In addition to carbon dioxide, plants can absorb volatile organic compounds (known as VOCs), like Benzene, which can be found in plastics, cigarettes, pesticides, and some fabrics. Plants can also eliminate traces of the toxic chemical formaldehyde, which can be found in household cleaners, fabric softeners, and cosmetics. House plants are a cost-effective, sustainable way to remove noxious chemicals from our interior environments.
So, you may be wondering, what part do leaves play in this process? Well, leaves play a crucial role in what’s known as the ‘transpiration process.’
Transpiration refers to the movement of water through a plant and its moisture evaporation from leaves, stems, and even flowers. Eventually, the water is released into the atmosphere as vapor via the plant’s stomata, which are the small, porous structures found on the surface of leaves.
Transpiration denotes the entire process of the plant’s uptake of water at the roots, the movement of the water through all of the plant tissues, and the release of vapor through the leaves. Transpiration plays a vital role in contributing water into the atmosphere.
Best Indoor Plants for Clean Air
If you are looking to reduce indoor toxins, there are certain types of plants that are best suited for the role of house plant. Plantquility takes your interior space, aesthetic preferences, and plant installation goals into consideration when designing your perfect indoor plantscape. Plant species native to the rainforest floor and tropical environments tend to thrive best in an indoor space because they are acclimated to thriving in an environment with fewer breezes and low light exposure.
The following air purifying indoor plants are ideal choices to combat indoor air pollution and liven up your home or workplace:
- Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree:This flowering ficus is the perfect way to freshen up your home or work space. This house plant is a popular option due to its lovely appearance and low-maintenance care instructions.
- Nidularium Billbergioides: One of the 25 species of Bromeliaceae, this plant variety is often referred to as the “blushing bromeliad” for the beautiful pop of color its flowers provide.
- Calathea Freddie: Sometimes referred to as the zebra plant due to its striped leaves, this low maintenance house plant is a wonderful choice.
- Snake Plant: Sometimes playfully referred to as “mother-in-law’s tongue,” these colorful succulents release oxygen at night (making them an ideal choice for the bedroom so you can breathe easy while getting some beauty sleep).
- Aloe Blizzard: A low-maintenance, uniquely-shaped succulent, making it the perfect choice for removing indoor pollutants.
- Dracaena Fragrans-D. Massangeana Corn Plant: This gorgeous plant is great for indoor growing.
- Asparagus Setaceus Fern: Commonly referred to as the “asparagus fern,” this plant is not actually a fern. However, as a climbing plant, it offers many beneficial properties for indoor use.
- Bird's Nest Fern: This plant’s bright green leaves add a touch of tropical flare to any space.
- Chlorophytum Comosum Variegated: This versatile perennial flowering plant is commonly called the “spider plant.” It can be grown indoors or outdoors with relative ease.
- Snow Queen Pothos: This durable house plant is perfect for indoor growing. It’s a low-maintenance option that can be potted in several different ways for versatile indoor use.
- Dracaena Fragrans Janet Craig Compacta: This plant has a stunning structure and does well in indoor environments.
- Aloe Vera: This plant loves the sun. In addition to its air purifying properties, aloe leaves have several antioxidant and vitamin-rich benefits for your skin.
- Areca Palm: Filtered light and frequent water will keep this plant in pristine condition.
- Gerbera Daisy-Gerbera Jamesonii: This colorful flowering plant adds a decorative element to your air purifying initiatives.
- Golden Devil's Ivy Pothos Plant - Epipremnum Aureum: This plant's flowering evergreen vine will beautify any space. This Pothos Plant combines beauty and resilience, making it an ideal choice for in-home use.
- Rubber Fig Plant - Ficus Elastica: Routinely spraying this plant with warm water and keeping it in a humid environment will promote all of its wonderful air purifying properties.
- Indoor Boston Fern Plant - Nephrolepis: Sometimes referred to as the Kimberly Fern, this plant’s low-maintenance leaves function as potent air purifiers.
- Broad Lady Palm: This is another humidity-loving plant that has powerful purification properties.
- Peace Lily: This fragrant potted plant loves watering and indirect sunlight. It is a gorgeous addition to any space.
- English Ivy: This classic house plant needs a diligent watering regimen and ample direct sunlight to thrive.
- Chrysanthemum: This flowering plant loves the sun. In addition to its bright colors and fragrant aroma, the Chrysanthemum has potent air purifying properties.
Each of these plant species offers unique aesthetic and air purifying benefits. According to NBC News, indoor plants have the ability to improve concentration and productivity (up to 15%), reduce stress levels, and improve mood. Perhaps this correlation between plants and improved overall wellbeing is tied to our innate connection to nature and living systems (or biophilia). After all, the potent healing properties of nature are well-documented by the scientific community. The modern disconnect between indoor living and outdoor vitality highlights our need for beautiful interior plantscapes.
Indoor plants that clean the air and remove toxins offer many positive psychological benefits for humans as well. Stress reduction, improved clarity, and a relaxing or vibrant interior space can bring a bit of the outdoors into our homes and places of work. Plantquility brings the beauty and healing benefits of Mother Nature directly to your home.
Plan Your Interior Air Purification Project with Plantquility
Plantquility offers a wide selection of indoor plants so you can bring the beauty and tranquility of nature into your abode. We are committed to providing the freshet potted plants on the market for your enjoyment. All of our greenhouse-grown potted plants are well-cared-for to ensure each plant reaches its full potential. Plantquility’s high-quality potted plants make natural living easy. Our direct line of delivery means your plants are individually attended to and cared for by our plant experts, right up until the time they are delivered to your door.
All of our botanicals meet strict quality standards, and each plant comes in a stylish pot for your enjoyment and convenience. Plantquility is committed to making the beauty and health benefits of potted house plants accessible for every customer. If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry! In addition to our transparent pricing and fresh plant selection, we provide in-depth care guides tailored to each houseplant you order.
Bring the beauty of the outdoors inside with fresh potted house plants from Plantquility. Let us help you plan your next indoor air purifying plant project from start to finish.