Air-Filtering Plants to Accentuate Your Home

We all love to decorate our homes based on the trending styles of interior designers we follow online. Rearranging furniture, adding or removing some of these and that in our room, or experimenting with tones and colors are the things we often do. These are to ensure that aside from having a comfortable space, it would also be pleasing to the eye. And, since everyone I know seems to be joining the plant-craze, why don’t we try to accentuate our home with air-filtering plants?


What Are Air-Filtering Plants?

Air-filtering plants are different species of plants tested to have the ability to remove organic pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, and the likes, aside from the power of plants to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen through photosynthesis.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in association with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA), conducted a study called NASA Clean Air Study in 1989. This research aimed to find ways to clean the air in space stations. Initially, NASA tested 19 plants, and additional plants were added to the list when B. C. Wolverton did a further study (a 1993 paper and 1996 book). 

Below is a table that listed some of these air-filtering plants and the pollutants they can remove.

Plant NameBenzeneFormalde-hydeTrichloro-ethyleneXyleneTolueneAmmonia
Snake PlantYesYesYesYesYesNo
Areca PalmNoYesNoYesYesNo
Spider PlantNoYesNoYesYesNo
Boston FernNoYesNoYesYesNo
Aloe VeraYesYesNoNoNoNo
Philoden-
dron
NoYesNoNoNoNo
Devil’s IvyYesYesNoYesYesNo
English IvyYesYesYesYesYesNo
Chinese EvergreenYesYesNoNoNoNo
Lady PalmYesYesYesYesYesYes
Dumb CanesNoYesNoYesYesNo
King of HeartsNoYesNoYesYesNo
Peace LilyYesYesYesYesYesYes
Flamingo LilyNoYesNoYesYesYes
Barberton DaisyYesYesYesNoNoNo
Florist’s Chrysan-themumYesYesYesYesYesYes
Dendro-
bium Orchids
NoYesNoYesYesNo
Moth OrchidsNoYesNoYesYesNo


List of Air-filtering Plants as Houseplants

Here are some of the plants that were tested and proven that could help filter the air. These plants are ideal as houseplants and are easy to grow.

Snake Plant

Snake Plants

A native to West Africa, this evergreen perennial plant has stiff leaves that grow vertically from a basal rosette. The leaves usually grow from 70 90 centimeters (28 – 35 in) long and 5 – 6 centimeters (2.0 – 2.4 in) wide.

The plant is easy to take care of and is a good start for those novices in gardening. It can tolerate any light conditions so that it can survive anywhere in your home. It does not require pruning and frequent watering. However, when watering the snake plant, make sure not to overwater and check the soil if it is dry in between watering. There are several varieties of this plant; you can check <title> for the list. 

You can check the different snake plant varieties in Snake Plants – An Indoor Plant that Aids Air Purification.

Areca Palm

Areca Plant

It’s a flowering plant that is native to Madagascar and India. In tropical and subtropical regions, this plant is grown as an ornamental plant. At the same time, others have these indoors as a houseplant. It bears yellow flowers and can grow between 6 – 12 meters (20 – 39 ft).

You must place areca palms in a partly-shaded area with moist and well-drained slightly acidic soil when grown outdoors. If you want to grow it indoors, make sure to put it in an area where there is constant filtered sunlight. Occasionally, place it under direct sunlight but not too much as the leaves will turn yellowish-green. Do not overwater. Make sure that the soil dries out slightly between watering. It is best to water this plant with distilled water or collected rainwater as it is sensitive to fluoridated water like most tap water.

Spider Plant

Spider Plant

The spider plant is a species of perennial flowering plant that is native to tropical and southern Africa. It grows to about 60 centimeters (24 in) tall with fleshy, tuberous roots of about 5 – 10 centimeters (2 -4 in) long. Flowers of this plant are produced in its long, branched inflorescence and are greenish-white in color.

This plant is easy to care for and one of the most adaptable of houseplants. And, gardening newbies can quickly grow this plant. Please place them in an area with bright, indirect light, a cooler temperature, and water them appropriately. Water the plant occasionally in their initial growth or moderately when fully developed, which should be within a year. It will also require occasional pruning.

Boston Fern

Boston Fern

Boston fern is a species of fern native to tropical regions of the world. It can reach as high as 10 – 90 centimeters (16 – 35 in) and, in extreme cases, up to 1.5 meters (4 ft 11 in). This houseplant has arching fronds that can reach 50 – 250 centimeters (20 – 98 in) long and 6 -15 centimeters (2.4 – 5.9 in) broad with alternate pinnae. 

If you decide to get one of these as a houseplant, you need to note that it requires a cool place with high humidity and indirect light. If you place it indoors, make sure to provide additional moisture like a light misting once or twice a week. And the soil should remain damp.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that originates in Arabian Peninsula. It is grown for its uses in cosmetics and medicines. Besides cosmetics, aloe vera is an ingredient in many consumer products, including beverages and skin lotion. However, it is also commonly grown as a houseplant. 

Taking care of your houseplant Aloe Vera is easy. Just place it in a bright area – indirect sunlight or artificial light. When watering the plant, make sure that the soil is dry. The earth on the pot should be thoroughly soaked when you water the plant and freely drain the water. It does not require frequent watering. You can water the plant every three weeks and sparingly during cold weather. And, make sure to re-pot when the root is bound. 

Elephant’s Ear Philodendron

Elephant_s Ear Philodendron

It has arrow-shaped glossy leaves that grow 56 centimeters (22 in) long and 23 centimeters (23 in) wide. In temperate climates, the elephant ear philodendron is commonly grown as a houseplant. In rare cases, this houseplant bears yellowish-white flowers. 

When taking care of this houseplant, make sure to keep the soil evenly moist. You can place them in a shaded or semi-shaded area. The leaves should be misted often and wiped with a damp cloth or sponge. 

Devil’s Ivy

Devils Ivy

Devil’s ivy or devil’s vine is a flowering plant native to Moorea in the Society Islands of French Polynesia. It is a popular houseplant in temperate regions and tropical and subtropical regions, including Australia, South and Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the West Indies.

The plant can grow up to 20 meters (66 ft) tall and with stems up to 4 centimeters (2 in) in diameter. The leaves are in a heart-shaped form that is variegated in green and yellow. True to its name, the plant is hard to kill and can thrive even when kept in the dark. So, this is another recommended houseplant for plant growing beginners. Although it is a flowering plant, it takes a while for it to bear flowers naturally.

Caring for the plant is pretty much easy – as mentioned above, it thrives even when kept in the dark so that you can place it anywhere inside your home. However, do put it in an area where there is full, direct sun. When watering the plant, make sure that there is enough water to penetrate its roots. But, avoid soaking the soil thoroughly. Pruning is also recommended for this plant to control its shape over the year.

English Ivy

English Ivy

English ivy is native to most of Europe and western Asia. It is a clinging evergreen vine that is a familiar sight in gardens, on walls, and tree trunks. It can grow to 20 – 30 meters (66 – 98 ft) high in cliffs, walls, or trees. The leaves are alternate petiole and are of two types: palmately five-lobed juvenile leaves and unlobed cordate adult leaves.

This house plant can thrive in areas where there is bright filtered or low light. Please place the plant in the room with a consistent temperature, away from drafts or open doors or vents. 

In watering, freely water the plants during their growth. Keep it moist in cold weather and soft spray it with water weekly to prevent spider mites from infesting the plant.

Chinese Evergreen

Chinese Evergreen

These Chinese evergreens are perennial herbs native to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and New Guinea. This plant became popular for indoor growers as ornamental or decorative plants because of its many varieties. The varieties include plain green, speckled, mottled, and variegated types.

The leaves are either elongated with parallel sides or oval-shaped, which can grow up to 30 centimeters in length and about 5 – 8 centimeters wide. Once the plant matures and aged, it can produce tiny flowers that grow between the leaves and are negligible. These flowers will later turn into berries.

The all-green variety of this plant can tolerate low lighting conditions, so in general, place your Chinese evergreen (any type) in the shaded spot of a room. Avoid direct sunlight. Always keep the soil moist and water it less during cold weather.

Lady Palm

Lady Palm

This plant is probably native to southern China and Taiwan. It has an oriental appeal due to its broad, dark green, fan-shaped foliage. Outdoors, the plant can reach 2 – 3.5 meters (6 – 12 feet) in height and 3 – 12 feet wide. It stays smaller when grown indoors since they are in containers or pots.

When grown indoors, place the lady palm plant out of direct sunlight. Then, water the plant when the soil is dry. When watering the plant, make sure to empty the saucer under the pot of water after 20-30 minutes. 

Dumb Canes

Dumb Cane

The dumb cane plant is a herbaceous plant native to the Caribbean and South America. It includes a large group of beautiful tropical perennial species with Dieffenbachia sequine as the most grown variety. These plants have pointed, ovate leaves in different combinations of green, cream, and white colors—dumb canes, when grown outdoor, can reach up to 10 feet with leaves 20 inches long. However, when grown indoors, it would rarely reach this size.

When the plant is still growing, it prefers dappled shade or indirect light. This houseplant likes regular moisture so that it might need w twice a week. However, make sure to check the soil of the plant before watering to avoid overwatering. You can also use a pot with good drainage to avoid damaging the roots with soggy soil.

King of Hearts

King of Hearts

The king of hearts is a flowering plant native to Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama. It can reach a height of 20 – 25 centimeters (8 – 10 in) and has elliptic to ovate-oblong shape leaf blades that are about 13-20 centimeters (5 – 8 in) in length. The leaves are bright green with markings of a marbled yellow. It can be confused with Chinese evergreen.

When grown outdoors, you can place it in a partially shaded area. For indoors, it likes medium to low light. It loves moisture, so make sure to water it a lot, as much as necessary. Dry soil can turn the foliage yellow. However, make sure to empty the plant saucers after watering as stagnant water can damage the roots. 

Peace Lily

Peace Lily

A perennial plant native to the Americas and southeastern Asia with large leaves that reach 12 – 65 centimeters long and 3 – 25 centimeter broad. Its flowers bloomed in a spadix surrounded by a 10 – 30 centimeter long white, yellowish or greenish spathe (specialized leaf bract).

The peace lilies can thrive in medium to low light. When placed in a room where there is more light, the plant tends to produce more lovely white spathes and flowers. And, those in low lighted rooms bloom less and will look more like traditional foliage plants.

The plant does not require large amounts of water to survive. It is tolerant of underwatering, so never overwater your peace lilies. Check the soil if it is dry before watering. If the soil is damp, then the plant does not need to be watered.

Flamingo Lily

Flamingo Lily

Flamingo lily is a common name shared by two species of Anthurium (Anthurium scherzerianum and Anthurium andraeanum) because of their brightly colored waxy flowers. It is a short-erected plant with heart-shaped leaves. The bloom that everyone commonly refers to is a brightly colored (red or pink) spathe leaf with a protruding (white or yellow) spadix.

It prefers warm, shady, and humid climates like in the tropical rainforest and does not like direct sunlight. If you plan on having this as a houseplant, make sure to put it in a place where it can get filtered bright light, like in front of your window. If it is too sunny, you can place a curtain between the plant and your window. When watering the plant, make sure not to overwater as roots can quickly rot. Just water the plant enough to have evenly moist soil but not watery.

Barberton Daisy

Barberton Daisy

This perennial species of flowering plant is indigenous to South-Eastern Africa. It reproduces asexually and produces tall, colorful flowers that may be red, yellow, pink, or orange. Stalks of Barberton daisy can grow up to 2 feet tall. When grown indoors, the flower of this plant can last up to about 4 – 6 weeks. The leaves are rhomboid-shaped with jagged or wavy edges and are relatively thin.

The Barberton daisy loves direct sunlight, so you can place them in window sills facing the window to provide enough sunlight. Keep the soil moist. You can touch the ground to check if it is slightly dry and provide water straight away to prevent the plant from wilting.

Florist Chrysanthemum

Florist Chrysanthemum

Florist’s chrysanthemum is a member of the Asteraceae family and was cultivated in China as a flowering herb thousands of years ago. It has big, beautiful flowers crowning a mass of dark-green foliage. The flowers are available in shades of pink, purple, red, burgundy, white, and golden yellow.

The plant is easy to grow. They love bright light and sunshine to ensure that they bloom. Watering is essential to florist chrysanthemums as they are often root-bound; they tend to wilt if not adequately watered. You may need to water it every day or two. Check the soil if it is dry before watering; we don’t want to overwater the plant.

Dendrobium Orchids

Dendrobium Orchids

Dendrobium orchids are part of the genus Dendrobium, native to Southeast Asia, and is one of the largest of all orchid groups. These are mostly epiphytic (grow on other plants) or lithophytic (grows on rocks). These orchids’ flowers range in different colors, sizes, and shapes and can last for about six to eight weeks.

These plants are unlikely to bloom well when grown in lower-light conditions as they like strong natural sunlight. If you want to have one indoors, make sure that they are placed in window sills or in an area where they can get natural sunlight. When watering dendrobium orchids, you need to note that it requires lots of water during the growing season, but this depends on the growing conditions. You can water it weekly during summer and after the growing season, maybe every ten days. However, please don’t leave them in a tray of water. The roots may rot when exposed to water for too long. If you wish to fertilize for dendrobium orchids, make sure to get one created for orchids.

Moth Orchids

Moth Orchids

Moth orchids are native to southeastern Asia and part of Australia. Most of these orchids are epiphytic with thick roots and do not require soil to survive. The orchids’ leaves are broad leathery, while the flowers consist of two lateral petals, a central modified petal known as labellum, and three petals like sepals.

A moderately bright windowsill or similar spot is an excellent place to grow these orchids. Water the plant when it begins to dry out. You can water it every 7 to 10 days. And fertilize it with a fertilizer made for orchids. 

Takeaway

The studies made were done in a contained, controlled room with these plants in optimal condition; so, there is a significant difference between these plants in our homes. 

A recent study done by the researchers for the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology in 2019 reveals that you would need about 93 plants per square foot of floor to compete with an office ventilation system. So, having these plants as houseplants may not significantly impact the t room’s air quality.

However, the effects of these plants are undeniable. Aside from their interior design, these plants can increase one’s mood and productivity and enhance concentration. Also, these plants are known to reduce stress and fatigue because of their different colors and shapes. And, as insignificant as it might be, these plants still help improve the air we breathe. 

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