Back in 1980 NASA started investigating ways to provide clean air in enclosed spaces. And after years of research they confirmed that house plants improve air quality in a variety of ways. It’s pretty amazing to think that you can actually grow fresh air. And knowing that house plants can do everything from aiding with depression and removing harmful VOCs from the air to alleviating seasonal allergies and ridding the air of volatile substances like formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia means they’re definitely worth the three minutes a week of watering that they require.
Many people are shocked to learn that the air inside their home can be anywhere from 3 to 10 times more polluted than the air outside- even in a big city! And seemingly innocuous things like carpets, cleaning products and nail polish remover give off vapors that contribute to some seriously polluted indoor air. Of course we do our best to bring natural (and chemical free) jute rugs into our home, use eco-friendly green cleaning products, and I’ve actually sworn off nail polish for the past few months (and maybe forever)- but we’d be fools not to recognize that plants can clean things up even more around the house, especially since the NASA geniuses say so.
And although any kind of plant is beneficial to the air you breathe, those NASA brainiacs actually pinpointed the most effective air-cleansing plants out there. So if you’re in the market for some nice fresh air, try picking up these especially purifying varieties.
- Bamboo Palm
- Rubber Plant
- Spider Plant
- English Ivy (one of our favs)
- Janet Craig Dracaena
- Dwarf Date
- Boston Fern (another one of our favorites)
- Peace Lily
- Corn Plant
They’re all super hardy plants, so you don’t have to worry about having a black thumb with these guys. And you don’t have to pop a plant in every spare inch of your home, two or three per room is plenty. Placing them beside your bed, on your desk, or anywhere else you spend a lot of time (near the TV!) helps you fully reap their air-cleansing benefits. Oh and if you have a puppy who likes to dig, we’ve found that a layer of river rocks atop the soil in each planter is an effective (and attractive) way to keep puppy pawing to a minimum.
What about you guys? Do you have any house plants that make your day (bonus if they’re impossible to kill)? Any other tips for cleaner indoor air and happier lungs?
Update: We chatted about what plants we can manage to keep alive in our own house here, so feel free to check those out.