Updated: Sep 28, 2021
In 1980s, a NASA scientist Dr. Wolverton tested the efficiency of various houseplants in removing common indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, benzene, to name a few. To everyone's surprise, he found most of those plants were very successful in cleaning the indoor air. The study also suggested that 1 medium sized plant per 100 sq. ft is needed to effectively remove the harmful chemicals.
Here we have selected the best 5 plants from the NASA's published list of air purifying indoor plants, that are not only excellent air purifiers but also aesthetic and stylish for home décor and office space.
1. ZZ plant (Zanzibar gem)
The look of this plant is simply satisfying. Caring is simple, making it ideal for all the busy one’s out there.
Water when the soil is completely dry and even if you happen to miss it once a while, it will thrive. Keep it in a medium-low lit place, avoiding any direct sun exposure.
No special potting soil is needed either, regular gardening soil will do the magic.
Also don't be in a hurry to repot it. ZZ plant does well in small containers and once it starts outgrowing the pot, it can be propagated by separating the baby stem along with few roots/bulb on them.
Why ZZ plant -
Vehicular emissions release such as toluene and xylene are very efficiently reduced by ZZ plant.
2. Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
You will mostly come across two types of rubber plant, a burgundy coloured, and a variegated one. It will grow tall and can be used in your living spaces to give an illusion of elongated walls.
Here is how you can care for it:
Moistened soil is the trick to the perfect looking rubber plant, avoid over watering or drying out.
If soil sticks to your hand when you touch, that is the right soil condition.
Rubber plant also enjoys good light. However, the leaves burn from the tip if kept in direct sun, place it in a well-lit space.
Why Rubber Plant - Small term irritation to long term effects on immunity and blood related health problems can be caused by formaldehyde, which is majorly found in crude oil, paints, detergents, and furniture. Rubber plants do a fabulous job in removing it from the air.
3. Fiddle Leaf fig (Ficus lyrata)
Growing Fiddle leaf can reduce moisture, which in return hinders fungal growth; bright light, warm and humid are key words for caring.
Why Fiddle leaf - Not only it is efficient at removing pollutants, it is also good at reducing humidity. Place it where it is home to moulds or fungus due to high in humidity.
4. Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
Areca adds beauty wherever it is kept, with its widespread long leaves. It does not need a lot of light and direct sun is a big no, a problem that arises due to direct sun exposure is yellowing of the stem. A well-lit space is enough for this plant. if you see the tips become brown then fix the water routine, keep the soil moist.
Why Areca - Formaldehyde and benzene, a carcinogen, both known to have alterations to good health, is very well eliminated.
5. Monstera (Monstera deliciosa)
Monstera comes in different varieties. Our recommendation for you is the Monstera deliciosa , also known as Swiss cheese plant. The leaves burn if exposed to extreme sunlight, however it prefers a bright lit room. Always leave the soil moistened.
Why Monstera - It is again effective in removing formaldehyde from the environment which are irritants, especially for children.
A green touch of plants in the background brings not just purified air but also a calming surrounding. Areca, Fiddle leaf, Monstera and ZZ plants are available in different size ranges. Corners of houses to office desks can be homed and styled by them. To know more on how to propagate indoor plants in water see below:
- By Joice Mathew, Team Garden Up