Can Indoor Plants Improve Air Quality

Can Indoor Plants Improve Air Quality – Myth or Reality?

The thing I am about to discuss here with you today has to do with air quality inside your home. It’s not a thing one usually has in mind all the time, but after you learn more about indoor plants that improve air quality, you will have a whole new perspective on the subject.

Having plants in your home goes way beyond just simple aesthetics. I mean, it starts for that reason, but slowly, when you get into the matter deeper, you realize that their powers extend to several fields.

In this article, I shall give some simple explanations on how do plants filtrate the air, and list some of the benefits that come along. Moreover, you will find some brief Q&As on the subject. And the best part of all- the list of those amazing powerful plants is also featured!

Can Indoor Plants Improve Air Quality?

The answer is simple- of course, they CAN! But the whole history behind this one is rather complicated.

A Bit of Science

Upon mentioning this topic, many people usually cite that famous study conducted by NASA in 1989. They wanted to find ways to purify the air in space stations. Their research resulted in a positive outcome as they confirmed that plants are very successful in improving the air quality in limited areas or chambers. Several other studies also proved that some plants remove hazardous gases which have an extremely negative impact on one’s health. Those are volatile organic compounds or VOCs for short.

What comes as a natural question is- why don’t we stuff our house with the mighty greenery of all kinds and shapes, but…

… space stations and indoor environments are NOT the same!  Things that proved to work excellent in restricted areas and chambers do not necessarily work the same in real life settings. While you can artificially modify the conditions when conducting an experiment, real-life surroundings are entirely different, and us humans have no impact over those conditions.

We may be knowledgeable about plant species, type of soil and the properties of the plant itself, but what we cannot precisely determine are lighting and temperature. Variations in these two factors lead to a different impact on air pollution, as it increases or decreases the absorption of pollutants.

There are cases when things turn quite opposite, and instead of improving, they worsen the air quality. For example, when the soil is contaminated, it contributes to unhealthy conditions. Some of them even release the VOCs into the air.

But, the true secret is in the fact that one should know which plants are good for the purpose and use them wisely. That’s why I compiled THIS LIST to help you create healthier air in your living space. In addition to the list, I shall also point out some of the benefits that go along with pure air.

Houseplants for Better Air Quality

Houseplants for Better Air Quality

What majority of these have in common is that they are extremely powerful when it comes to fighting those dangerous compounds such as formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and toluene, trichloroethylene and ammonia.

Some of the plants can be highly toxic for pets, which is why you need to pay close attention where are you going to locate them.

Without further ado, here comes

List of Houseplants for Better Air Quality

  • Aloe Vera
  • Areca Palm
  • Elephant Ear Philodendron
  • Reed Palma aka Bamboo
  • Lady Palm
  • Rubber Plant
  • Corn Plant aka Dracaena “Janet Craig”

Like I said, all of them, more or less fight all the VOCs which are responsible for poor air quality and pollution in general. In addition to this, some of them have extra powers as well.

For example, Aloe Vera comes as excellent for treating sunburns and Lady Palm gets rid of cancer causers.

On the other hand, some of them come with a catch. Ficus is a perfect example to illustrate this. Despite being an excellent fighter for the problems we mentioned, it triggers allergies which are why people with those conditions should not keep one at home.

Of course, this list is not nearly completed! If you want to know which lants to put in your home to make the air cleanrer, you can see my much more detailed list in this article.

Now that you have this list, making the right choice should not be so difficult. All you need to do is eliminate those which would cause troubles to your health (if you are allergic) or harm your pets, and you will know which ones are the most suitable for your home.

In addition to this, be sure to check on maintenance details for the plants of your choice. Different plants require different conditions, and here’s WHAT you need to keep in mind:

  • Choose the proper size pot for your plant.
  • Make sure the soil and the fertilizer (if you use one) are adequate for the species.
  • Mind the watering frequency, as each plant requires various amounts of water on a daily/weekly basis.

Let us put things like this:

If you want the plant to give you’re the best of itself, you need to do the same for it. Plants may not be able to use language to communicate, but they have their own way to express how they feel. Keep that in mind all the time!

More on Pure Air – Positive Side-Effects

Pure Air - Positive Side-Effects

Unpolluted oxygen is by itself a good thing, but once you learn several more benefits that come as a result, it will be even better. Here are the MAIN points:

  • Clean air has a positive influence on the overall health, and particularly for those who have respiratory issues. They increase humidity which plays an important role in the mentioned conditions.
  • Oxygen that is not polluted leads to decreased insomnia. Air quality is also of great significance when it comes to a night of healthy sleep. This also results in feeling more relaxed and satisfied.

As you can see, health comes as the first and foremost factor where all the impacts, be they positive or negative, reflect. People who love growing plants also enjoy the aesthetic side of the hobby, which by itself is also a pleasant activity. And when we do something that makes us feel content, that certainly contributes to our mental health.

There are certainly many more than these two, but that is a subject of some other researches. But what certainly comes as a clear conclusion is that there is a multitude of benefits from spending time surrounded by adorable greenery.


1. Can I use some of these plants to purify bathroom air?

No matter how silly this may sound, the answer is positive. Just make sure that you place it so that the plant itself can grow and develop properly. Pay attention that there’s enough space and light for a plant, otherwise, it will suffer.

2. Is it safe to have different plant species in one place?

Generally speaking, there aren’t any prominent negative sides of having a plethora of various species in one place. The only thing that may bother you is if some of them have an extremely strong scent. To be precise, of several different strong scents mix, it can make you feel unpleasant, that’s all.

3. How do plants filter the oxygen?

They absorb all the particulates, then take in carbon dioxide and through photosynthesis, they process it into oxygen. It’s a small circle of life, isn’t it?

4. How many plants per room is allowed?

It’s hard to make some precise calculations as there are many elements to take into consideration. First of all, the size of the room itself and then the plant size as well. Overcrowding your place with greenery certainly won’t boost the effects. Balance is the key.

Although I am overly emotional when it comes to plants, I do my best to be as objective as possible. I always like to base my opinion on the facts so that even those who are new to all this can have a complete and straight picture of what I am saying.

Let’s make one thing clear-houseplants are indeed very powerful, but they are not magicians. You cannot expect them to transform the air quality extremely if you don’t work on several aspects besides this one.

What I mean here is that you need to keep the pollutants out of the air. This should be your starting point and plants to purify the oxygen should come as extra spice. Do your best to limit the usage of things that decrease and limit the usage of air pollutants in your home. Mind the ventilation- open the window or turn the exhaust fan on.

Only when you combine these with indoor plants that improve air quality you will feel a significant difference.

Feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions on the subject. Tell us which plants do you use for the purpose and what else do you do to keep air quality on a healthy level.