Biology was one of my favorite subjects in school. Weird, I know, but believe it or not, it was fun to find God in the anatomic and physiologic details. When you learn the intricate workings of the human body, it is difficult to deny God’s omniscience and His goodness. For example, house plants that purify your air also increase oxygen and provide several other health benefits. Indoor plants are actually on my Detox Your Home for Free list because they can be incorporated at no cost or can be multiplied after an initial investment!
Why should I have plants in my home?
- Plants improve air quality on so many levels.
- Through photosynthesis, they produce oxygen.
- Through transpiration, they increase the humidity.
- This reduces dry skin, improves breathing, AND reduces the influeza virus’ (and probably others’) ability to infect!!
- AND MY FAVORITE, plants remove a significant amount of harmful volatile organic compounds from your air including benzene, formaldehyde, and trichlorethylene.
- In a NASA report published by Wolverton in 1989, he said, ““If man is to move into closed environments (such as a home), on Earth or in space, he must take along nature’s life support system (plants).”
- Plants improve memory!
- Studies show that tasks done while under the influence of nature are performed better and with greater accuracy.
- Being outside in nature can improve memory and attention span by 20%
- I may turn my house into a jungle for this reason alone, anyone else?
- Plants promote productivity, attentiveness, and relaxation.
- All great qualities to add to your working environment.
- Children learn better when around plants!
- Including children with attention disorders
- Physical interaction with plants has shown to reduce recovery time after medical procedures.
Clearly, plants provide health benefits to our respiratory, immune, and mental systems. So where do we start with bringing these beauties into our homes?
Top Performing House Plants That Purify Your Air
Spider Plants remove formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and benzene. Did you know that formaldehyde has been found in furniture, fabrics, cleaners, and even napkins?! These plants also release oxygen at night (if you remember from above, typically plants release more oxygen during the day so this is a desirable characteristic for rooms you sleep in). Other pros include not requiring direct sunlight, AND they are non-toxic to pets if ingested (a rarity for sure).
CARE: Easy peasy – keep their soil moist, and they will keep working for you! They also produce “baby” plants in the form of tendrils at the tip of the leaves which can be cut off to grow a new plant.
Snake Plants (let’s just get all the creepy crawlers over with 😉) filter out several common VOCs, and they release oxygen at night (another great bedroom plant). This plant is also known as “Mother-In-Law’s Tongue.” This one also does well in indirect sunlight.
CARE: plant in a pot with good drainage as over-watering is the only concern; does well in dry soil so water every couple weeks – super easy!
English Ivy filters out the most VOCs per centimeter of leaf than the other plants tested by NASA. It also removes poop particles from the air and combats mold! Get this guy in your bathroom quick 🙂
CARE: hanging pot is best, does well in all light situations, keep soil moist – humidity in bathroom helps with this and lessens watering needs
Succulents are wonderful because they are super easy to care for, produce oxygen through the night, and remove toxins from the air. Several are also pet-friendly; so, if you have curious snackers for pets, consider purchasing Burro’s Tail or Haworthia. There are so many fun succulents and potting options on Amazon – the picture below-right is a really cute one!
CARE: varies from succulent to succulent so be sure to look up proper care of the ones you choose; however, most of the are very resilient and great for those who don’t have a green thumb! Watering with an ice cube once a week has worked for my various succulents so consider trying that.
Aloe Vera filters out benzene and formaldehyde. An added benefit of this succulent is the clear gel-like substance inside the leaves can be used as a natural remedy for skin irritations such as sunburns, frost bite, or cold sores. These things grow like weeds if not contained in a pot; so, before you spend $ on these at a store, ask friends/family/facebook marketplace if they might have a piece to share! I found these for 0.15 at a garage sale and put it in a pot I already had. This is why indoor plants also made my Detox Your Home for Free list!!
CARE: pot in a sunny window and soak the plant every few weeks; allow soil to totally dry out at least 1 inch deep between waterings; this one is easy to multiply
A Peace Lily will absorb ammonia, formaldehyde, benzene, a few other VOCs, AND mold spores making it a potent air purifier. It too ranked well in the NASA study for overall VOC removal. It is a flowering plant; so, in the spring/summer, you will have the added benefit of beautiful lilies – one of my favorite flowers! This one ALSO releases oxygen at night. And, while lilies are toxic to pets, the peace lily is more of a cousin in the lily family and shouldn’t cause any major issues if your pet did eat it. This plant checks pretty much every box making it my #1 indoor plant!
CARE: does well in most light situations but the more light it gets the more blooms you will get; do not overwater – typically just once a week – just pay attention as the plant’s droop/wilt is a very accurate indicator it needs a drink
Plant TIP: NASA study also showed that the larger your plant’s leaves, the more toxins it removed from the air. So look for big leaves rather than number of flower blooms next time you’re shopping for indoor plants!
I have struggled to get plants into my house in the past because we have a more modern style, and it is difficult to find pots and such to match. However, I have found a super cool, very unique, and yes even modern way to display plants. Have you heard of Air Plants??
- Air plants do not require soil to grow! They attach themselves to rocks or trees to thrive and thus can grow in your house without dirt. This allows for fun and unique display ideas! Options are endless!
- Air plants do need water. You can 1) spritz with a water bottle once or twice a week, or 2) their favorite is to be submerged in water overnight every couple weeks. The second options is great if you’re going to be out of town.
- It is best to DIY a displayed plant by purchasing containers and various plants. You can buy them ready made or as a quick kit (such as “jellyfish” above) but be sure to read the fine print to be sure plants are included. Check your local garden shops as well.
- For a very special gift, find a local air plant artist that can create a custom piece for you or your loved one. The coolest part is they can include mementos in the display such a sand or shells from a vacation, jewelry pieces or other special items.
If you are looking for gifts on a budget, use plants you currently have to create starters in vintage pots, which are easy to find at thrift stores! This is why indoor plants made my Detox Your Home for Free list; don’t forget to check it out for more budget friendly tips!
If you are buying several plants to use as gifts, buy an assortment of air purifying plants in bulk to save money! (Linked picture to the left)
Lastly, if the person you are buying for has a green thumb, consider gifting them a few nice pots, seeds for your favorite of the above list plants, and some organic fiber soil. Just add the soil discs and water into the provided bag for a mess-free indoor planting job!
Will you be adding house plants that purify your air (and so much more) to your Christmas list this year? Or gifting them? Or BOTH?! I’ve added several of these to my Amazon Wish list this year. Comment below with your favorite plant on this list or any plant tips you have for us.