The Best Air-Purifying Plants for Your Home

Plants are some of the best air-cleaners around. You know they absorb carbon dioxide, but did you know they also filter out other harmful chemicals from the air? Some of the products in our homes contain synthetic materials, like paint, pressed wood, carpet, and upholstery, that release trace amounts of chemicals into the air that can make us sick.

As we head into the spring season here in Bismarck, we're starting to open up our windows and welcome the fresh air. With some carefully selected houseplants from our garden center, we can make sure the air we're breathing inside is clean and healthy. With some carefully selected houseplants from our garden center, we can make sure the air we're breathing inside is still clean and healthy.

Space-Sick? Not on NASA's Watch!

Being an astronaut sounds pretty cool. But think for a minute about what space suits and shuttles are made from - mostly synthetic materials!
NASA knew they needed to keep astronauts healthy while they were in a sealed environment in space. So, in the '80s, they launched a study to figure out what the best air-purifying plants were. They built the Biohome, a living space entirely from synthetic materials

Before they added plants, they tested the space as it was. Within minutes, anyone who entered the building experienced burning eyes and breathing problems from the chemicals released into the air from the building materials.

Next, NASA added a whole bunch of houseplants. Within a few days, the plants had purified the air enough that visitors were no longer showing symptoms of sickness. They found that the plants were pulling off-gases like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene out of the air.

Best Air Purifying Plants

Plants breathe through their leaves, absorbing toxins in the air and pulling them down to their root systems. Microorganisms in the soil feed on these toxins, and can even increase the overall health of our plants. It's hard to believe, but our Boston Ferns can actually benefit from formaldehyde that can make us so sick!

Scientists have identified over 50 houseplants that are excellent for indoor air purification. That's way too many for one list, so here are our five favorites.

1. Areca Palm

1. Areca Palm

The areca palm removes more toluene and xylene than any other plant. It also puts out more water vapor than other plants, increasing humidity in the room. It can grow up to 12 feet tall.

2. Bamboo Palm

2. Bamboo Palm

The bamboo palm removes formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air. It has a distinct appearance and adds a tropical style to any room.

3. Rubber Plant

3. Rubber Plant

Rubber plants are excellent for removing formaldehyde from the air. These attractive plants can grow up to 8 feet tall and can tolerate low-light environments well. Wear gloves if you're going to prune a rubber plant, as their sap is a skin irritant.

4. Dracaena

4. Dracaena "Janet Craig"

Plants in the dracaena family are great air cleaners. The Janet Craig variety, in particular, is very efficient at pulling trichloroethylene from the air. Janet Craig can grow up to 10 feet tall.

5. Philodendron

5. Philodendron

Most varieties of Philodendron are excellent air purifiers, but the highest-ranking ones are Red Emerald, Lacy Tree, Heart-Leaf, and Elephant Ear. Philodendrons are super easy to grow and don't require much attention.

For maximum air purification, NASA recommends two air-cleaning plants per 100 square feet. We've got a selection of plants from NASA's list at our garden center here in Bismarck, so visit us to see them in person! We can help you find air-cleaning plants fit for outer space-but perfect for your interior space!

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