Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

The 5 Best Houseplants to Purify the Air In Your Home

Popular
The 5 Best Houseplants to Purify the Air In Your Home

House plants are seeing a resurgence. They're taking over Instagram feeds and are the subject of millennial trend pieces. Their popularity is with good reason: Aside from looking nice and providing a hobby, the benefits of having greenery throughout the house are extensive. They can act as humidifiers, lessening dry skin and coughs caused by dry air. Some studies have indicated that they can serve as a stress reducer. One of the best effects? Houseplants are known to actually clean the air in your home.


This may sound far-fetched, but in fact NASA has spent a great deal of time and effort understanding the precise effects of houseplants on air quality, which is very important in enclosed spaces with recirculated air, like a spacecraft (or, say, your apartment in the middle of winter). The following plants can have a mitigating effect on airborne chemicals like ammonia, formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene, which, depending on their concentration, can cause irritation to the breathing systems, headaches, coughing, and more. Here are five of the plants most recommended by NASA.

1. Peace Lily

Linnaean name: Spathiphyllum wallisii

Light needs: Indirect

Water needs: Medium (keep soil moist, but don't over-water)

The peace lily is a large, lush tropical plant that can grow up to a few feet high. They grow big, deep green leaves and simple white flowers. Very easy to care for.

2. Spider Plant

Linnaean name: Chlorophytum comosum

Light needs: Indirect

Water needs: Medium

With green-edged white spiky leaves, the spider plant is another easy houseplant for beginners. As they mature, they extend baby spider offshoots, which look really great—especially in a hanging basket.

3. Snake Plant

Linnaean name: Sansevieria trifasciata

Light needs: Indirect

Water needs: Little

One of the easiest and most common plants to care for, the snake plant can survive long periods of little watering or sunlight, making it perfect for those with whatever the opposite of a green thumb is.

4. Ficus

Linnaean name: Ficus benjamina

Light needs: Indirect

Water needs: Light to medium

Sometimes known as a weeping fig, this ficus tree can grow to a few feet tall. Its beautiful leaves and large but not-too-bushy appearance make it a favorite among those looking to to make a decorative statement, but but careful not to overwater: they like less H2O than you'd think.

5. Pothos

Linnaean name: Epipremnum aureum

Light needs: Indirect

Water needs: Light to medium

The great thing about pothos plants is that they're incredibly resilient—they'll put up with an absurd amount of neglect—and one of the best for air quality. This viney all-star tolerates a wide variety of light and water scenarios, and will continue to put out cheerful green-white leaves with minimal intervention (for real: the vines will grow and grow if you don't trim them back). This favorite is also incredibly easy to propagate.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.

A dugong, also called a sea cow, swims with golden pilot jacks near Marsa Alam, Egypt, Red Sea. Alexis Rosenfeld / Getty Images

In 2010, world leaders agreed to 20 targets to protect Earth's biodiversity over the next decade. By 2020, none of them had been met. Now, the question is whether the world can do any better once new targets are set during the meeting of the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Kunming, China later this year.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Jan. 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

By Andrew Rosenberg

The first 24 hours of the administration of President Joe Biden were filled not only with ceremony, but also with real action. Executive orders and other directives were quickly signed. More actions have followed. All consequential. Many provide a basis for not just undoing actions of the previous administration, but also making real advances in public policy to protect public health, safety, and the environment.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Melting ice forms a lake on free-floating ice jammed into the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather on July 30, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

A first-of-its-kind study has examined the satellite record to see how the climate crisis is impacting all of the planet's ice.

Read More Show Less
Probiotic rich foods. bit245 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Ana Maldonado-Contreras

Takeaways

  • Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria that are vital for keeping you healthy.
  • Some of these microbes help to regulate the immune system.
  • New research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, shows the presence of certain bacteria in the gut may reveal which people are more vulnerable to a more severe case of COVID-19.

You may not know it, but you have an army of microbes living inside of you that are essential for fighting off threats, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Michael Mann photo inset by Joshua Yospyn.

By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.

The New Climate War: the fight to take back our planet is the latest must-read book by leading climate change scientist and communicator Michael Mann of Penn State University.

Read More Show Less