Experts and BHG readers answer.
Is it true that houseplants can improve air quality? If so, which ones are best?
Yes, houseplants can play a role in improving the air quality in your home. Anytime you bring new carpeting or other furnishings into your home, you also bring in the chemicals used in their manufacture. These volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contribute to air pollution inside our homes. Even when you can't smell them anymore, VOCs pollute the air enough to irritate your respiratory tract and cause headaches, sinus congestion, and fatigue. Research from NASA shows that greenery soaks up VOCs, breaks them down, and uses them for food-all this from a simple houseplant! Two or three plants in 8- or 10-inch pots for every 100 square feet helps clean up the air in your breathing zone. Double that, and your indoor environment becomes healthier in less time.
Here are some of nature's air filters:
- areca palm, (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
- bamboo palm (Chamaedorea erumpens)
- corn plant (Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana')
- English ivy (Hedera helix)
- florist's mum (Chrysanthemum grandiflorum)
- gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
- Janet Craig dracena (Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig')
- Kimberly Queen Australian sword fern (Nephrolepis obliterata 'Kimberly Queen')
- lady palm (Rhapis excelsa)
- miniature date palm (Phoenix roebelenii)
- rubber plant (Ficus elastica), spider plant (Cholorphytum comosum)
- Warneckii dracaena (Dracaena deremensis 'Warneckii')w
- eeping fig (Ficus benjamina).