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Houseplants - Improving Indoor Air Quality, Naturally


What if you could fill your home with countless air purifiers that run on a built-in power source that costs you nothing to operate? In fact, you probably already have a number of these little gems already doing their job all over the house. Houseplants not only absorb carbon dioxide but also other air pollutants common in today's tightly-sealed homes.

Though all plants engage in this type of air purifying behavior, some are more effective than others at removing the most common home air pollutants, like the formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene common in home decor and building materials.

Good Plants to Have in Your Home

So in addition to the plants you already have, supplement your collection with any of the following specimens for optimal air purifying action:

  • Heartleaf Philodendron
  • Elephant Ear Philodendron
  • Cornstalk Dracaena
  • English Ivy
  • Spider Plant
  • Janet Craig Dracaena
  • Warneck Dracaena
  • Ficus Benjamina, Weeping Fig
  • Golden Pothos
  • Peace Lily
  • Selloum Philodendron
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Bamboo or Reed Palm
  • Snake Plant
  • Red-Edged Dracaena
  • Gerbera Daisy
  • Pot Mums
  • Mother-in-Law's Tongue
  • Marginata Dracaena

This list was compiled based on research conducted in the late eighties by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA). The same study found that the optimal ratio is around 15 houseplants per 2,000 square feet.

Look for Sustainable Plant Pots

Unless you already own them or plan on buying them secondhand, make plastic pots a thing of your past. There are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives, including pots made from 100 percent biodegradable and compostable grain husks and rice hulls. These are materials produced as natural by-products of the harvesting process.

You can also find pots made from coir fiber (extracted from coconut shells) and bamboo. Of course, you already have the makings for plenty of pots right there at home. You can get creative with household items that can no longer be used for their original purpose, from old sinks and glass light fixtures, to everyday plastic food and beverage containers.