Can Houseplants Really Clean the Air?

July 23, 2021

Friday, July 23, 2021

Can Houseplants Really Clean the Air?

While indoor plants provide a touch of nature to your décor, can they clean the air?

While houseplants may significantly enhance your life (more on that later), if you expect the peace lily on your desk to purify your home of pollutants, you're in for a rude awakening.

NASA conducted a 1989 research to develop new methods for cleaning the air in space stations. Despite some interesting results, the research never said that houseplants are particularly effective at eliminating toxins from the air in your home — even though many publications have subsequently referenced the study as evidence of that argument.

Furthermore, the title "Houseplants Eliminate Toxins" sounds much more thrilling than the report's actual statement:

“Low-light-requirement houseplants, in conjunction with activated carbon plant filters, have shown the potential for enhancing indoor air quality in energy-efficient buildings by eliminating trace organic pollutants.”

And if you believed that was a buzzkill, consider the paper's summary:

“Activated carbon filters equipped with fans are capable of quickly filtering huge quantities of dirty air and should be regarded an essential component of any strategy including the use of houseplants to address indoor air pollution issues.”

In other words, even if your dracaena was capable of removing trace pollutants from your energy-efficient house, you would still need to replicate NASA's complex system for blowing air through the activated carbon in the plant's root zone.

Additionally, if you find a list of the greatest plants for detoxification, it is just listing the plants utilised in the research.

So, do houseplants remove pollutants from the air, or not?

In theory, it's possible. But if you want to make your air-filtration system from botanicals, you'll need to put in a lot of effort.

In a 1992 EPA assessment, an environmental agency employee said, "You'd need to put 680 plants in a normal home to get the same pollutant removal rate as that shown in the NASA chamber study."

Buying a natural air filtering system, or at the absolute least, vacuuming more frequently, is definitely the preferable option.

Some of the plants on the NASA list, such as Cryptanthus species, were shown to be more efficient in removing benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde than others. However, the effectiveness is different, not significant enough to warrant using houseplants to enhance your air quality.

Not only that, but both of these groups claim that houseplants may make the air in your home worse, introducing germs and chemicals from a wet potting mix or the nursery.

That doesn't mean you should give up planting plants inside, however. Never walk outdoors if you're so concerned about your air quality.

No matter what, follow these instructions to keep your houseplants tidy:

•Tree leaves should be dusted. By the way, wipe the home while you're there.
•You may use an attractive mulch of river pebbles or gravel to keep the potting mix in place.
•Whenever possible, avoid applying pesticides.
•to collect extra potting mix, place saucers beneath each plant
•When the top one-half inch of the potting mix is dry, only water plants.
•While removing sick, yellowed, damaged, or fallen leaves, be sure to remove all of them.

Grow houseplants to bring pleasure into your life

Real story: I once cultivated over a hundred plants in my teeny-tiny apartment, and I can testify that the experience was everything from tidy.

The air was thick with dust, tree frogs and lizards sprang from the foliage, and some plants even had smelly fertilizers in their potting mix. While those plants did not significantly improve my air quality, the growing rainforest in the comfort of my own house made me a happier person.

Houseplants are much more interesting than you would believe. I was looking forward to waking up each morning since each day promised a new leaf, a different bloom to admire, or another solid orchid root to spray with water.

Contributing to the growth and survival of these live plants provided me with a feeling of purpose and a link to the natural world. They also caused me to sneeze, but only because I often spilled potting mix on the floor.

Nobody would bother cultivating houseplants unless they brought us joy.