Improve Indoor Air Quality with Houseplants

Going green — By Stephanie on October 5, 2010 at 6:13 am
12 20 2007plants Improve Indoor Air Quality with Houseplants

Indoor houseplants beautify your home and clean the air

With the seasons changing, chances are you are closing the windows and doors of your home, trapping contaminants and affecting indoor air quality.  In fact, somewhat ironically, today’s better insulation and tight building construction to minimize energy loss are actually making some people sick!

But, there is a simple, inexpensive solution.  You can improve indoor air quality with houseplants.

Research by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) shows that common plants can fight indoor air pollution and clean the atmosphere we breathe.  Over 20 years ago, NASA sought methods of keeping the air inside space stations healthy for humans over a long period of time.  Their studies proved that plants can remove three common toxins – formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide – from the air.

NASA has determined that plants are one of the “most promising means of alleviating the sick building syndrome.”

You might be surprised to learn that some construction materials (carpets, paint, etc.) can off-gas for up to 10 years.  But plants take in CO2 and other harmful gases and clean them out of the air, releasing oxygen.  The result is a healthier indoor atmosphere.  Some people report getting fewer headaches and feeling more energetic after adding a few plants to their interior.

So, what plants work best?  You’ll want to look for these specimens at your local nursery:

  • Eureka Palm
  • Spathiphyllum (The Peace Lily)
  • Golden Pothos
  • Yucca – good for sunny locations, needs less water
  • Arboracola
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Austin Fern – a hanging plant, good for bathrooms
  • Succulents -require little maintenance
garden1 Improve Indoor Air Quality with Houseplants

Easy care succulent plants

For best results, you’ll want to have 1 plant per 100 square feet.

Be careful not to over water your houseplants – that is the most common reason for their demise.  During winter months, plants tend to retain moisture longer and do not need to be watered as frequently.  Test your plants’ soil by inserting a chopstick several inches towards the root.  If it comes back damp, wait a few more days before watering.

Photosynthesis is a marvelous way to use nature to help us all breathe easier!  Why not add a few houseplants to your indoor living space?

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3 Comments

  1. Tara says:

    Thankfully with the hot weather we’ve been having, we are now starting to be able to open our windows again and let in some fresh air.

    But yes, I definitely need to get some good indoor plants! Not only do they help with air, but they are great for decorating too – really lighten up a room.

    Thanks for the ratio info too – 1 plant per 100 sq feet. :)

  2. admin says:

    Glad the information helped, Tara! I love green plants as décor, and also to help clean the air. Cheers, Stephanie

  3. Mary says:

    I Love the succulent plants in the picture and have been looking for something just like that! What are they?

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