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Decorative Indoor Plants That Purify the Air – A Lifestyle and Science Guide

I love when form and function collide to produce an optimal result, a list of decorative indoor plants that are easy to take care and purify the air.

Thanks to NASA, Better Homes and Gardens and yours truly we have a list of indoor plants that are the most air purifying, easy to take care of and look beautiful in your home or office space.

Jump to the the 12 Most Decorative Indoor Plants That Purify the Air

Methodologies

The Studies (Data Sets)

  1. NASA conducted a study in 1989 to figure out how to keep air clean in space stations. This data set provides a list of air purifying and toxin removing plants.
  2. Better Homes and Gardens created a list of beautiful plants that are easy to care of.

Analysis

I cross referenced both studies to find the plants that were listed in both data sets. The final result is a list of 12 indoor plants at the center of Lifestyle (Better Homes and Gardens) and Science (NASA).

Jump to more information about the the methodologies

12 Most Decorative Indoor Plants That Purify the Air

 

1. Dracaena fragrans, Massangeana

 

Dracaena fragrans or cornstalk Dracaena house plant

Size: 3-10 feet

Toxin Removal: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene

Care Instructions: 60-75 degrees F. – Medium to bright light – allow the soil surface to dry between waterings

Origin: Tropical Africa


2. Red-edged Dracaena, Dracaena Fragrans, Marginata

Houseplant - dracena marginata

Size: 10 feet tall, 2 feet wide

Toxin Removal: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene

Care Instructions: Medium to bright light – 65-75 degrees F. – allow the soil surface to dry between waterings


3. Dracaena deremensis,  Green Dracaena

Dracaena deremensis, Green Dracaena

 

Size: 10 feet

Toxin Removal: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene

Care Instructions: Medium to bright light – 65-75 degrees F. – allow the soil surface to dry between waterings


4. Weeping Fig, Ficus Benjamina

Weeping Fig, Ficus Benjamina

Size: 4 – 15 feet

Toxin Removal: formaldehyde, xylene and toluene

Care Instructions: Bright indirect light –  60-75 degrees F – allow the soil to dry out between waterings


5. Aloe Vera

aloe-vera-plant

Size: 1-4  feet

Toxin Removal: Benzene, Formaldehyde

Care Instructions: Full sun -60-75 degrees F. – water every week to ten days during the summer; once a month in winter


6. Dumb Canes, Dendrobium spp

Dumb Canes, Dendrobium spp

Size: 6 feet tall, 3 feet wide

Toxin Removal: xylene and toluene

Care Instructions: Low to medium light – 60-80 degrees F. – keep evenly moist


7. Snake Plant, Sansevieria Trifasciata young sansevieria trifasciata a potted plant

Size: 4 feet tall, 4 feet wide (young snake plant pictured)

Toxin Removal: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene

Care Instructions: Low to bright light – 60-85 degrees F. – keep evenly moist


8. English ivy, Hedera Helix

potted-ivy-plant-modern

Size: 6 feet +

Toxin Removal: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene

Care Instructions: Medium to bright light – 55-70 degrees F. – keep evenly moist


9. Spider Plant Chlorophytum Comosum

Spider-Plant-Chlorophytum-Comosum.jpg

Size: 6 feet +

Toxin Removal: formaldehyde, xylene and toluene

Care Instructions: Medium to bright light – 55-70 degrees F. – keep evenly moist


10. Rubber Plant, Ficus Elastica

 

Rubber-Plant-Ficus-Elastica

Size: 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide

Toxin Removal: formaldehyde, xylene and toluene

Care Instructions: Medium to bright light – 60-80 degrees F. – allow the soil surface to dry between waterings


11. Boston fern, Nephrolepis exaltata, Bostoniensis

boston-fern-nephrolepis-exaltata

Size: 4 feet tall, 4 feet wide

Toxin Removal: formaldehyde, xylene and toluene

Care Instructions: Medium to bright light – 60-75 degrees F. – keep evenly moist


12. Devil’s ivy, Money plant, Epipremnum Aureum

Devil’s ivy-Money plant-Epipremnum aureum

Size: 4 feet tall, 4 feet wide

Toxin Removal: benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene

Care Instructions: Low to bright light – 60-75 degrees F. – keep evenly moist


 

Research Overview

Our  Requirements for Getting the Most From Indoor House Plants

  1. The plants must be the most oxygen releasing and toxin removing we could find
  2. Non-toxic (our cats love to chew on plants)
  3. As low maintenance as we could find
    1. Low levels of sunlight
    2. Minimal watering

Data Sets Used To Determine The Best Indoor Plants

With the above requirements I started digging for data sets about plant air purity, toxin removal, low maintenance plants (water and sunlight) and non-toxic to cats and dogs . I found two data sets that fit the bill perfectly.

The first is a study by NASA conducted in 1989 to figure out how to keep air clean in space stations.

The second was from Better Homes and Gardens about indoor plants that are easy to take care of.

The perfect intersection of Science and Lifestyle 🙂

NASA

The study, Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement included plants that eliminated significant amounts of:

benzene – About half the national exposure to benzene comes from exposure to cigarette smoke.

formaldehyde – Found in particle board, household products, glues, permanent press fabrics, paper product coatings, fiberboard and plywood.

trichloroethylene – Often found in cleaning products. Vapor degreasing of fabricated metal parts and some textiles accounts for 80% of its use.

xylene – Consumer contact would most likely come in the form of gasoline, paint, varnish, shellac, rust preventives, and cigarette smoke.

Better Homes and Gardens

Better Homes and Gardens compiled a list of plants that are super easy to take care and thrive in indoor spaces. This means low sunlight, minimal water and general care.

 

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About Me

Hello - happy to have you stop by my adventure of building beautiful things.


Here I provide tutorials for DIY software projects - from UI Design to Database Design.


Believe in yourself - you can build anything if you put your mind to it.


xo Katharine

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