Top 20 Best Indoor Air Purifying Plants


 

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We all feel safe inside our homes, considering that outdoors are enveloped by extreme pollution. The Air Quality Index all over India is not at all satisfactory. Many people are suffering from short term or chronic diseases related to bad air quality they breathe. Did you know that we have a solution? Yes the plants "The Natural Air Purifiers".

Indoor Air Pollution

Have you ever thought about the air indoors? Especially when the outdoor pollution is already burdening and penetrating indoors too. To add more the indoor air is already laden with harmful chemicals. The oxygen level inside a closed space may be a challenge along with the indoor air pollution problems. We are inhaling toxic pollutants even sitting inside emitted from the household furniture and other items.

We are surrounded by Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), and other organic compounds and harmful gases indoors. VOCs also emanate from home electronic equipment, furniture, carpet and construction materials. Toxic air pollutants include benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia, when we spend too much time inside surrounded by these chemicals it can have adverse health effects such as headaches, dizziness, eye irritation and much more.

We urbanites stay mostly indoors according to a study by Environmental Protection Agency (USA). For all this time spent indoors, we tend to focus much more on outdoor air quality than on indoor air quality. We all are suffering from Sick building Syndrome and Covid 19 situations have worsened and further more compromised indoor air quality. We are all trying to breathe fresh, using equipment such as air purifiers and humidifiers indoors but they are expensive and please not these artificial air purifying machines cannot replenish oxygen levels. That can be done only by addition of live natural plants indoors.

House Plants come in as a rescue!

As per the study by University of Copenhagen “ Plants affect the levels of VOCs in indoor environments, thus they represent a potential green solution for improving indoor air quality that at the same time can improve human health”.

To battle the battle, let’s create a safe niche for us and our families very conveniently in our own homes and offices just by a little change. All we need is to become a plant parent and bring garden indoors to breathe fresh! Yes it’s indulging yet affordable to grow your plants. There are lots of scientific and psychological both proven benefits that are clearly attached to this. However what to pick and what not is a dilemma. Just a bunch of plants and you get constantly replenished oxygen, good levels of humidity and filtered indoor air devoid of pollutants. Bringing nature indoors also give you oodles of benefits of good health and mental wellbeing. The plants are soothing yet appealing to look at, they add joy to your life. Plants lift your mood, ease anxiety, and might even make you more productive. Plus, they're an easy way to beautify while strengthening your connection to nature. Let the power of plants heal you and make you happier than ever!

We have listed the top 20 plants that you can choose to include in your homes or offices. These plants are air purifying plants that filter the toxic indoor pollutants effectively through phytoremediation. They are top recommendations based on several studies/research by top organizations, institutes or universities. NASA recommends one plant every 100 square feet - which is about 9.2 square meters. In a home of about 1800 square feet in size (roughly 167 square meters), NASA clean air study led by Dr. B. C. Wolverton, recommends 15-18 houseplants. However, the exact number depends on what plants you opt for - you’ll need fewer plants if they are larger or have larger leaf surface are which more efficient at reducing toxins.

For maximum benefit, multiple species of houseplants would likely be needed on a site to remove the relevant toxicants in a particular space, given that houseplants vary in the types of chemicals they are able to remove from the environment and the efficiency with which they do their work. “For effective phytoremediation, the number and type of plants selected would need to be tailored to each individual building,” says Stanley J. Kays of the University of Georgia.

  1. Golden Pothos/ Money Plant

Also called as devil’s ivy, pothos plant or money plant (epipremnum aureum) was featured by NASA, the Money Plant is renowned for its ability to remove chemicals and other pollutants from the air, specifically benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene. NASA observed results with the high concentration chamber. A concentration of 35 ppm trichloroethylene and 37 ppm benzene dropped to between 0 and 1 ppm over the same two-hour span. It’s really effective. Vadoud Niri’s 2016 research on plant VOC uptake at the State University of New York at Oswego recommends the money plant as one of the best houseplant to purify indoor air.

A study published in Harvard University Extension says it produces highest oxygen concentration. Money Plant’s high purification rate of filtering the pollutants along with low maintenance of this plant makes it one of the most popular choice for air purifying plants. Just water the plant when the top soil is dry and it will keep growing well for years. It perfectly stays indoors as it needs daylight or shade. Keep it totally away from harsh sun as its foliage can get burned completely. You also can choose from many varieties such as variegated money plant, neon or golden pothos, N’joy money plant with green and white striking foliage or marble money plant. They all look lovely and does the work perfectly. Shop Money Plants Here

  1. Snake plant

Snake plant aka Mother-in-Law’s tongue absorbs CO2 effectively and gives out enormous amount of oxygen content. An abstract of the study published in Harvard University Extension observes that snake plant is one of the most oxygen producing houseplants. A study conducted at Naresuan University, Thailand with 60-80 cm tall snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata) revealed that CO2 level in offices was reduced with 4-5 snake plants.

If you see NASA study, you’ll see that snake plant (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue) removed 52.6 percent benzene in a sealed chamber. The initial p/m was 0.156, which reduced to 0.074 p/m in final reading after 24 hours. Impressive right! Snake plant is one of the finest indoor plants that lowers the formaldehyde levels! In the NASA experiment, a single plant removed 31,294 micrograms in a 24 hours exposure. It’s true that snake plant reduces the CO2 even in the night. It is due to the Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM), the capability to perform a particular type of photosynthesis. CAM plants are drought tolerant, dry climate plants, for example, succulents.

The plant care for snake plant is super easy, it’s happy in sunlight or indoors with bright lights. Water requirement is low too as it’s a succulent ad can thrive on less water. Shop Now

  1. Spider Plant

Chrolophytum Comosum or aeroplane plant is one of the top rated recommended plant for air purification. Let’s know why? The spider plant was one of the most potent plants shown to purify the air in the NASA studies and was able to remove 95% of chemicals like formaldehyde, xylene, toluene in a 24-hour period. Additionally, the spider plant is an easy-to-maintain houseplant and is non-toxic to pets. Vadoud Niri’s 2016 research on plant VOC uptake at the State University of New York at Oswego examined the spider plant too. Niri rated this plant as “lightning fast,” noting that the concentration of VOCs immediately began to go down in the spider plant’s test chamber as soon as the plant was placed inside.

For those of you who are houseplant newbies, the resilient spider plant is a perfect choice. It will quietly battle toxins including carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the printing and rubber industries.

Spider plants come in green or variegated varieties. It grows best in bright day light and need watering when the soil turns dry. Shop Now Spider Plants

  1. Aglaonema

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) is an excellent choice for indoor dwellers. It effectively removes   benzene, formaldehyde and other toxins and improves Indoor Air quality (IAQ).  There has been several studies where Chinese evergreen effectively absorbs high concentrations of formaldehyde by NASA & other universities.

The plant definitely strikes a balance between being tough and good looking. This versatile houseplant offers beautiful foliage which ensures highest oxygen content yet requires minimal care. It is popular in both homes and offices because it adds great interest in low-light areas and works very well even in artificial light. The water requirement of plant is also minimal.

Say yes to Aglaonema if you think you want to break free from the busy plant care schedules. The long, narrow leaves can reach up to two feet long, and the plants themselves typically grow one to three feet tall and equally as wide. Shop Aglaonema Here

  1. Boston Fern

Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis foliage is a charmer. It looks enchanting with those fronds, purifies air as well as humidifies the indoor environment. Boston ferns were found to be excellent at removing a variety of indoor air pollutants including formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene, and others. 

Helena Fernandez, Ashwani Kumar and Maria Angeles Revilla, writing in their book, "Working With Ferns: Issues and Applications," note that Boston ferns seem particularly adept at this process, ranking 9 in NASA’s list of air-purifying plants, and they also were found to be most efficient at removing formaldehyde. Boston fern plant removes most of the toxic volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) as per NASA study in 1989 (44,712 microgram VOC removes by per  Boston Fern plant per day).

The Boston or sword ferns love bright light, warm humid weather. Too much extreme sun can burn their fronds. Ferns are water loving kind, make sure you water them enough. Avoid fluoridated water which may tend to brown the tips of fronds. They love misting and will grow really well if proper care is taken. These vibrant ferns enhance your interiors and look truly appealing! Shop Now 

  1. Anthurium

This evergreen plant, red anthurium, is also known as flamingo lily for its flamboyant flowers. Researchers for NASA’s Clean Air Study report their large, dark leaves suck up ammonia, formaldehyde, toluene, xylene and ammonia. They also absorb many other allergens.

Recent research by Wageningen University & Research shows that the Anthurium has excellent air-purifying properties, so it positively contributes to a healthy living environment. Anthurium filters more than 50% of harmful substances within 24 hours and almost 100% in three days. And in return, the plants give off oxygen. The larger the plant, the greater the effects. Additionally, Anthuriums improves the relative humidity. This means that you are less likely to suffer from a dry indoor climate.

Anthuriums need bright, indirect light and high humidity, so mist them regularly and keep their soil moist, but not soggy. They need bright light so that they can regularly have their red attractive spadix. This exotic plant is also easy to care for, has few demands and still remains attractive for a long period of time. Shop Re Anthuriums Here

  1. Parlour Palm

Like all the other palms in the list Chamaedorea elegans adds that tropical look to your indoor décor. The palm is cute and doesn’t grow more than 2 feet, so it’s kind of a miniature or mini palm that can be used at home and offices. The parlor palms are able to remove potentially harmful pollutants from the air, making your home safer for you and your family.

These plants are gorgeous and have lowest maintenance requirements. They survive well low, medium or bright light indoor settings. They are happy plants when they are watered when the top soil completely turns dry. Parlour palms are very much in trend as they are stylish yet air purifying. Shop Now Parlour Palms

  1. Bamboo Palm

Chamaedorea seifrizii is a beautiful palm that blends with indoor interiors. They look ravishing and are very effective on filtering out toxic indoor pollutants. The exceptionally high transpiration rate of bamboo palm makes them the best choice for removing benzene. It also effectively removes xylene and toluene. Even a baby specimen can make a big difference to air quality in a room.

The bamboo palms grow well in bright day light and will not grow well in dark environments. Keeping them away from sun is a good idea. They need frequent waterings on schedule as their transpiration rates are too high. They hate fluoridated water and may get brown leaves due to this.

  1. Janet Craig

Dracaena deremensis “Janet Craig” is one of the favorite indoor plants with stylish appearance suiting modern apartments or workspace. Dracaena Janet Craig is one of the most loved houseplants. These plants look great indoors because of their lush, textured nature that add form and greenery to the living space or work place.

 In 1973, NASA found that the Dracaena, also called the Janet Craig compacta, was beneficial in removing hazardous substances such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air. Its air cleaning abilities, compact size and robustness makes the Dracaena compacta a decent houseplant choice. .They're among the easiest indoor plants around, and their changing features will ensure you never get tired of them.

This plant loves Medium to bright indirect light. Direct sunlight is a big "No". Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ is an excellent indoor plant. If you don’t consider yourself a green thumb, this may be the plant for you! Shop Janet Craig here

  1. Lady Palm

Rhapis excelsa is a beautiful indoor plant that not only looks good but also known for its excellent air-purifying properties. It adds those tropical accents to you homes or workplaces. It gives out good amount of oxygen and filters the toxic indoor pollutants to gve you better and cleaner air to breathe.

A minimal care is needed for Lady Palm. Because this palm is extremely tolerant of low-light conditions, it's popular to grow indoors as a houseplant. Water it generously when top soil turns dry. The plant leaves need regular misting to maintain that shine.

  1. Peace Lily

Spathiphyllum or Peace Lilies are NASA-approved one of the best houseplants that clean air by eliminating 60% of the pollutants from the air. These tropical indoor plants can break down and equalize harmful pollutants such as Benzene, Carbon Monoxide, Xylene, and Formaldehyde from the indoor air.

The peace lily is a striking indoor plant with elegant dark green leaves. It loves humid soil to grow well and bright light. Water it generously for a full-fledged growth. The white attractive spathes look serene and ethereal. You will love this plant for many reasons.  

Peace Lilies are NASA-approved one of the best houseplants that clean air by eliminating 60% of the pollutants from the air. These tropical indoor plants can break down and equalize harmful pollutants such as Benzene, Carbon Monoxide, Xylene, and Formaldehyde from the indoor air. Shop Peace Lily

  1. ZZ plant

The upward feathered leaves make Zamioculcas an ideal eye-catching plant for bringing greenery into an interior. The non-demanding plant works in both modern and traditional interiors.

The plant has air purifying qualities for the indoor environment. Although this plant could not make it in the NASA clean air study but there have been extensive study on the air filtering capabilities of plant. A Study from Department of Plant and Environmental Science at the University of Copenhagen from 2014 shows the plant is able to remove volatile organic compounds in this order of effectiveness: benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene at a molar flux of around 0.01 mol/(m2 day). 

The uber modern plants as it looks the ZZ plant or Zamioculcas zamiifolia works well almost at all places. It’s stylish and unbelievably easy to care for. The plant fares well in all light conditions and doesn’t need water frequently so it is a great choice for urban busy dweller. Shop Now

  1. AloeVera

The very renowned Aloe for all good reasons! Yes it also purifies the indoor air naturally. The aloevera plant acts as an air purifier by removing harmful pollutants known as VOCs from the air, taking up carbon dioxide, and providing abundant oxygen back into the air around it.

The plant is a succulent, so it’s easy to maintain and doesn’t require much water at all. It also uses Crassulacean Acid Metabolism a particular photosynthesis. They are drought tolerant and love bright sun or day light. If you have an aloe at your place it definitely will keep a check on indoor pollutants. Aloevera leaves show brown spot damage and serve as bio monitor for air pollution.

  1. Areca Palm

Dypsis lutescens is known for its air-purifying properties and also a perfect choice for people suffering from respiratory ailments like sinusitis, bronchitis, and asthma. Why? The Areca palm tree is the very best air purifying plant according to the rating from

NASA’s research and has the 8th highest removal rate for formaldehyde according to Dr Wolverton’s data. This Palm should be kept in carpeted rooms or freshly painted furniture room as it reduces negative impact of xylene, toluene, formaldehyde and mostly all indoor air toxins.

According to a study done at a Japanese University Purification Effect of Areca Palm for Continuously Emitting Formaldehyde in a Real Office Environment was examined. It was found that installing plants considerably reduced the level of formaldehydes in offices. The study concluded at Council of Scientific and Industrial Research- Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT) Palampur, Himachal concludes that Areca palm potted plants offer an efficient, cost-effective, self-regulating, sustainable solution for improving indoor air quality and thereby human well-being and productivity in closed and confined spaces.

The Areca palm is one the most sought for plant that grows 3 to 6 feet and grows happily indoors with minimal care and just bright day light. It gives a very rustic look the corners and hallways. The plant is fairly used in greenscaping and green décor.

  1. Rubber Plant

Ficus Elastica robusta is a characterized by its leathery dark brown leaves that just resemble dark chocolate. It also is available in green and variegated form. Do not underestimate the air purifying abilities of this plant, as it will cleanse and refresh the indoor air without doubt. It removes most of the VOC’s. It emits a good amount of oxygen due to bigger foliage.

This rubber tree or rubber fig as it’s commonly called is also good to keep at home and office due to its antifungal properties. The rubber tree effectively removes mold spores and bacteria from the air (by up to 60%). Fighting off mold and bacteria is part of the plant’s defense mechanism to protect its soil. Rubber trees filter toxins including: formaldehyde. This one is great to keep sinusitis or mold allergies at bay.

Rubber plant is a very attractive plant. It loves strong day light and adequate watering. Leaving it dried out for a prolonged period is not a good idea. The plant hates overwatering too so striking a right balance is the key to its survival. Turn the plant for an even growth.  Misting the plant is a necessity. You can try to clean the leaves regularly with a damp cloth if misting is not possible. This one but looks lustrous with rich leathery feel and does the air purification job well.

  1. Red Edged Dracaena

The red edged dracaena is one of the most popular air purifying plant. The Red Edged Dracaena or Madagascar Dragon Tree is on NASA's list of top 10 air cleaning plants. This amazing natural air purifier doesn't just add oxygen to your home. It filters and remove the pollutants inside your place effectively.

The glossy thin tapered green leaves with red edge is a colorful riot to look at. It’s pleasing and is easy to care for. It’s durable when watered enough when soil dries out and receives ample light. Can grow indoors in moderate light and also in sunlight. This ensures that the plant doesn’t lose its colors. Avoid putting it in low lit areas which may cause discoloration of foliage. Shop Now

  1. Weeping Fig

Ficus Benjamina or as it's more commonly known, the Weeping Fig, is a common indoor houseplant which comes in multiple different looks and styles. This is available in variegated or green varieties having prominent shiny leaves. It looks graceful and tranquil and gives much needed warmth to your indoor green décor. It’s an excellent plant that will filter the indoor air pollution and helps you to have better Indoor Air Quality. It removes benzene, toluene and formaldehyde.

The plant is also available in form of beautiful bonsais or braided forms. They really add that extra style statement to your décor. These are easy to care for provided it is not moved around much. Let it stay in a same spot where it receives enough light. A little sun and shade would do the best to the plant.  The plant needs watering whenever the soil turns dry. This particular fig is beautiful addition to your home or office.

  1. Gerbera

Gerbera is one of the most popular flowering plants with diverse colored shining flowers, it is a genus of plants in the flowering plants family asteraceae (daisy family). Gerbera jamesonii is considered one of the most useful plants for improving indoor air quality to living and working spaces.  Being an air purifying flowering plant in the NASA list this beauty removes Trichloroethane and benzene from the surroundings.

The flowering plants pollen may trigger or cause allergies in some people suffering from asthma or sinusitis. In that case you can avoid using this plant completely.

All the flowering plants need adequate sunlight and gerberas do well in a sunny spot. Make sure you water them enough so that they keep well. Trim these plants dead parts to rebloom.

  1. Chrysanthemum

The flowering air-purifying champion of NASA’s research, mums effectively reduced ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene in the air. The garden mum is easy to find plant, looks pretty with all the colorful flowers and fragrance it emanates is very appealing.

Again if you have allergy issues with pollens then this one is not recommended. It needs sunlight and proper watering schedule when it comes to the plant care part.

  1. Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana often goes by the shortened name of Kalanchoe or by its more common names of Widow's-thrill and Flaming Katy, derived from its colorful and vibrant blooms. Kalanchoes are succulents but flowering ones. The plant is effective in removing all kind of VOC’s from indoors and helps improve the air quality.

Kalanchoes need bright light, and ideally an hour or so of sun a day. Failure to provide this will eventually kill the plant off and the flowers won't be back. Aim for good light locations and the plant will be happy. Watering the plant well when dry is the key to its survival as it is a flowering plant although it’s a succulent.  Shop Now

That was a list of plants that will come handy when you pick your air purifying plant. The nature has so much to offer. These are the solutions that work! The indoor garden right in your living room or your homes dotted with these live natural air purifying plants can play a major role in your overall wellbeing. These plants give fresh oxygen supply, neutralize harmful gases and render the indoor pollutants harmless. Get rid of indoor air pollution! Breathe fresh Indoors by bringing garden indoors! 

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 References:

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/19930073077/downloads/19930073077.pdf

 

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/19930073077/downloads/19930073077.pdf

 

http://www.wolvertonenvironmental.com/NASA-Report-89.pdf

 

https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/of-39.pdf

 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/234470571_Purification_Effect_of_Areca_Palm_for_Continuously_Emitting_Formaldehyde_in_a_Real_Office_Environment

 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/344782834_Mitigation_of_indoor_air_pollutants_using_Areca_palm_potted_plants_in_real-life_settings

 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33074430/

 

https://www.worldwidejournals.com/international-journal-of-scientific-research-(IJSR)/recent_issues_pdf/2018/August/August_2018_1533219136__236.pdf

 

https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2016/august/selecting-the-right-house-plant-could-improve-indoor-air-animation.html

 

https://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/IR/00/00/25/81/00001/he35600.pdf

 

 

 


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