Indoor plants are not miracle solutions against air pollution: there is no scientific study that validates the capacity of houseplants to depollute the air inside the house. But having some some plants in pots can still help improve air quality! It is also important to choose them well. A palm tree? A spider plant? A weeping fig? Every houseplant has different effects, so be sure to buy the right one for your home.
Do houseplants really have a purifying effect on indoor air?
You must know about photosynthesis, the principle by which plants and trees convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into oxygen. The advantage of having a plant is that it can help to reduce indoor air pollution by absorbing pollutants which are harmful to health, such as carbon monoxide, benzene or formaldehyde.
But doing so is not simple.
Indeed, it is only under experimental conditions and in space, such as in the NASA houseplant study (not the conditions found in a conventional home), that houseplants have shown results in reducing air pollution.
Scientifically, it cannot yet be said that indoor plants keep the air in the house healthy and clean. The effect, if any, is unproven and minimal. But it does seem to be present.
Better a small effect than nothing! Having a plant at home isn't just good for your health; it's also a question of interior decoration and atmosphere. It's nice to have a beautiful plant on the desk or in a pot in the living room! So one thing is for sure, adopting a beautiful potted plant is not something you're likely to regret.
To effectively measure the indoor air quality in your home, the Netatmo Smart Weather Station uses its sensors and provides you with clear data. Receive an immediate alert on your smartphone in the event of too much indoor pollution! Having houseplants is good, but it's not enough.
5 indoor plants for better air quality in your house
Weeping fig or rubber fig
No doubt you can see which pot plant we are talking about here. The ficus, commonly known as weeping fig, is one of the most popular indoor plants and is also known as the rubber fig. Made up of large leaves only, it is an ideal buy for anyone, even those without green fingers. It is almost as easy to care for as a cactus!
Indeed, like many indoor plants, it does not require much light or sun. The ficus requires little maintenance, just well-draining potting soil and a little water every two weeks, plus it is also very hardy.
Above all, the ficus absorbs formaldehyde, a pollutant found in many products, very well. A very common toxic and dangerous substance, it is a harmful VOC (volatile organic compound). To combat this, you can rely on the ficus as a pollution-busting option!
Chlorophytum or spider plant
Among the best air purifying plants, it is impossible not to mention the spider plant (which has nothing to do with Marvel's Spider-Man).
Just as easy to grow as the ficus, this potted indoor plant is said to be effective against air pollution, especially carbon monoxide (and formaldehyde, to an extent). This plant is known for its effectiveness against indoor air pollution! Meaning it helps to improve the air quality inside a room.
It is advisable to make sure this houseplant is positioned in indirect light so it can develop properly indoors. However, unlike some indoor plants, it requires little water (although more than a cactus).
Let's move on to another plant which can help to purify the air inside the home: the Boston fern, often grown in pots in bathrooms. It is also a plant that is easy to care for, while it is said to be able to absorb and therefore eliminate various pollutants and VOCs.
Boston ferns like cool, very humid places with indirect light. If you were wondering why this potted plant is often placed in the bathroom, now you know why!
It is a fern, so you can expect to see dense foliage but no flowers.
You may be familiar with this indoor plant for its known ability to absorb ammonia, a harmful pollutant found in some homes due to household products, among other things. Bringing a potted Azalea into your home will help to clean and purify the air.
More than just leaves, the Azalea brings colour to your home with its pink, orange, red or white flowers. There is nothing like combining this plant with other flowerless indoor plants, such as the ficus or the spider plant! In addition to boosting the anti-pollution effects, it will transform your interior for the better.
Let's finish with Aglaonema, a popular potted plant that is said to absorb indoor pollution rather well. No need for sun or even for much light or maintenance, it is an abundant plant that becomes more effective as it grows. Heating and air conditioning are not a problem for this robust houseplant either.
You can count on Aglaonema to absorb various pollutants such as formaldehyde (a word you're getting used to hearing by now), benzene, toluene, and other toxic VOCs that pollute the air in your home. It is one of the best-loved indoor plants!
Don't know where to put the Aglaonema at home? Ideally, these plants like to be in a darkened room or the hallway.
Indoor plants have positive effects on the air quality in a house. Their benefits may not yet be scientifically proven but they are real. Combating indoor pollution (carbon monoxide, VOCs, etc.) is a priority, so in addition to good ventilation, regular cleaning, and monitoring, think about potted indoor plants!