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Why You Need Houseplants: The 9 Best Plants for Air Purification

Barett Jett  |  02-06-2024
Why You Need Houseplants for Home and Office - The 9 Best Plants for Air Purification
Why You Need Houseplants: The 9 Best Plants for Air Purification

As an intern at Clockwork 9 who also works for Bremec Garden Centers & Nursery, I’ve gotten to learn a lot about the symbiotic relationship between plants and my home and office. 

Indoor plants are often viewed as just another thing to have to worry about or another object that takes up desk space, but they actually provide so much more.

We can’t control what we breathe outdoors so take control of what you’re inhaling when inside.

Household Pollutants

In a study performed by NASA, it was found that a variety of these listed indoor plants or more drastically improves air quality by removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) commonly found in the home. 

It might surprise you to hear that VOCs like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, and toluene are extremely common pollutants found in a variety of household appliances and even within our walls. 

From paint and insulation to cleaning products and even our paper towels, one or more of these VOCs are likely to be found embedded within. 

Whether through accidental cross contamination or intentionally during production, thousands of seemingly safe products can contain enough VOCs to over time cause memory loss, respiratory diseases, liver and kidney damage, and in extreme cases paralysis. 

This all sounds scary but fear not, researchers found that within a home’s average room (about 13×16 ft) even just one indoor plant can improve the quality of air by up to 25%.

The 9 Best Plants for Air Purification

So what are some of the best plants for indoor air purification? We made a list of our 9 favorites:

  1. Tropical Peace Lily
  2. Snake Plant
  3. Bamboo Palm
  4. Pothos
  5. Boston Fern / Sword Fern
  6. Philodendron
  7. Spider Plant
  8. Dracaena Marginata
  9. Aloe Vera

There’s a ton of different house plants to choose from — so don’t think that these are the only ones! But if you’re not sure where to start, we got you covered.

1) Tropical Peace Lily 

This low maintenance plant is recognized for its uniquely shaped white blooms as well as its fast maturing rate. If well taken care of, a 12 inch Peace lily can grow to be as tall as 4 feet in just 2 years.

2) Snake Plant

If you have the opposite of a green thumb then a snake plant is the one for you. These hardy guys can grow pretty much anywhere except in the back of a closet and don’t require tons of watering nor pruning. 

3) Bamboo Palm

Also less commonly known as a Parlor or Reed Palm, this subtropical evergreen features pinnately divided leaves, yellow flowers when matured, and sometimes even little inedible fruits. These palms can get to be as tall as over 12 feet but do be warned they are very slow growers. 

4) Pothos

Rather than pick just one, the entire genus category of Pothos gets a spot for being one of the best air purifiers out there. This chinese native plant grows fullest when placed in a hanging basket, giving the vines and leaves more space to drape down.

5) Boston Fern / Sword Fern

Known by a couple different names this popular native plant thrives best in humidity, making it perfectly suited for any bathroom needing some greenery. To ensure you get the healthiest leaves possible, place the pot in indirect light rather than directly by a window.

6) Philodendron

This tropical beauty comes in tons of shapes and sizes, with the majority of its varieties preferring to climb upward as it grows. Just secure your philodendron’s vines along a moss pole or wooden stake and watch as it transforms your home environment.

7) Spider Plant

Named for its spindly trailing stems, this indoor plant comes in two main color patterns on its leaves, one solid green and another with a variegated white stripe. They prefer once a week or even biweekly watering, making it great for those of us who are prone to forgetting. 

8) Dracaena Marginata

The Marginata is one of the most popular types of Dracaena both for its air purification and its beautiful coloration. Ranging from solid dark green to lime and red stripes, there’s so many options of colors, shapes, and sizes to pick through. 

9) Aloe Vera

This popular succulent is highly recognizable for its rosette leaf formation and for its medicinal properties. Whether for acne, burns, bug bites, or purifying aloe proves to be one of the most useful houseplants.

A Warning for Pet Owners

Just because these plants are good for us and the air around doesn’t mean it’s safe for our furry friends.

Before buying any indoor plant it’s very important to do some research to make sure it won’t be harmful to your pets.

Of the plants listed above Boston ferns, Spider plants, and Bamboo palm are all completely safe and nontoxic for cats, dogs, and other small animals. 

Now this doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to own an Aloe plant or Philodendron but if you do own animals make sure these plants are kept out of mouths or paws’ reach. 

Additional Benefits

Not only can plants help filter out harmful VOCs but they also offer a plethora of other health benefits. 

For those working in the creative field this is especially for you, getting out in nature is an amazing way to take a step back from the screen and all the noise to let the natural world inspire you. However, for those times when you can’t leave your work space, stock up on some ferns or pothos for your daily doses of mother earth.

Adding some greenery to your work space is a great way to boost your productivity and creativity. The color green alone has been linked to the reduction of stress, and where there’s less stress there’s more room to think.

The act of tending to your houseplants has also been linked to the reduction of stress levels, and the sharpening of attention and memory.

So next time you stop by your local plant nursery, think less about what you’ll have to do for the plant, and more about what the plant will do for you. 

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