Did you know that Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors? Not only that, but the Environmental Protection Agency has found that indoor air is often worse than the air outside. Indoor air has been found to contain pollutants, and can directly impact health.
If you’re looking to improve air quality in your office or home while also receiving the benefits of being closer to nature, adding plants is the way to go. In this post, we’re going to share the best indoor plants for air purification and keep you healthy.
We selected our favorites based on different lighting levels commonly encountered in the indoor environment:
Low light - receiving no direct sunlight, or is further than 5’ away from any window, mostly relying on indoor lighting.
Medium light - Receiving less than 3 hours of direct sunlight, within 5’ of an East or North-facing window.
Bright light - Receiving less than 3hrs of direct sunlight, but generally is bright with indirect light. Within 5’ of an East or Southeast window.
High light - Receiving at least 3 hours of direct sunlight, within 5’ of a South or Southwest facing window.
Here are our top picks!
1. Snake Plant (Sansevieria) - Low Light.
The Snake Plant is also known by its much more interesting moniker ‘mother-in-law’s tongue,’. It's one of the many plants studied by the NASA Clean Air Study for its air-purifying qualities.
Researchers found that the snake plant is able to remove significant concentrations of four damaging compounds from the air:
Each of these compounds is associated with drowsiness, headaches, ear/eye/throat irritation, nausea, and more. Not only can these plants remove harmful pollutants, but they’re also great for beginner gardeners because of their low maintenance.
2. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) - Low to Bright Light
Pothos, otherwise known as 'Devil's Ivy' is another plant included in the NASA study that showed its ability to clear indoor air of toxins and VOCs from the air. Its namesake comes from the plant's amazing flexibility to do well when it comes to lighting and watering.
In certain parts of the country such as Florida, Pothos grows naturally outdoors and can stretch up to 30ft high! In indoor environments, avoid extended exposure to strong sunlight because it can burn the sturdy leaves and bleach it pale.
3. Aloe Vera - High Light
Aloe is a natural healing plant that’s been used for hundreds of years for its medicinal properties like soothing burns and high antioxidant concentration. It also does a great job at absorbing harmful pollutants and chemicals in the air, especially its heightened ability to reduce carbon dioxide in the air. Many refer to Aloe vera as an “oxygen bomb” because it takes in high levels of carbon dioxide throughout the night and then releases oxygen in the morning. This makes it perfect for office or home life.
4. Bromeliad - High Light
Next up is the Bromeliad group of plants. There are two main types of Bromeliads: air plants & terrestrial bromeliads. Both are not only good for your air, but also bound to grab your attention.
Many terrestrial Bromeliads bloom in bright tropical colors, making them stand out among typical neutral office decorations. Air plants are usually smaller, but are striking for their ability to grow without soil and otherworldly beauty.
Studies show that bromeliads remove toxins from the air and release high levels of oxygen in exchange.
5. Peace Lily (Spathiphylum) - Low to Medium Light
The Peace Lily is another plant in the NASA Clean Air Study. Of over 30 plants included in the study, this was one of just five that was found to remove five chemicals from the air. Not only are these plants great at cleaning air, but they also come with bonus long-lasting flowers of pure white.
Peace Lilies are relatively low-maintenance, adding to their popularity. This plant is great for the beginner gardener because its leaves droop visibly when dry, sending a clear signal that it needs water. Yet it perks right up when given the water that it needs, making it a great ‘training plant’.
Final Thoughts on the Best Indoor Plants for Air Purification
Many plants would make a great addition to your office and home environment, but these are our picks for air purification because they’re easy to grow, look beautiful, and proven to reduce harmful compounds in the air. For higher impact, get one of these as a desk plant or place in a high-traffic area to increase their 'face time' with you!