Do houseplants actually improve indoor air quality?


Do houseplants actually improve indoor air quality?


Houseplants have received much attention as options for improving indoor air quality. In 1989, scientists from NASA discovered that plants could remove VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from the air inside sealed test chambers. Since this study was released, dozens of plants like philodendron (Philodendron), peace lily (Spathiphyllum), and spider plant (Chlorophytum) have been suggested as houseplants to purify the air of gases like formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, toluene, ammonia, acetone, methyl alcohol, ethyl acetate, and trichloroethylene. 

In reality, these houseplants have little effect on air quality in the home or office. The highly controlled testing environment of the study just doesn't directly translate to our "real world" conditions.  The dynamics of indoor air quality are far more complex, and when you consider that, houseplants don't affect indoor air quality.

Of course, this also doesn't mean you should toss out all your houseplants!  Indoor plants beautify the home and help you nurture a green thumb even in the dead of winter.  There are still many reasons to grow houseplants, so buy that orchid or philodendron and enjoy it!

Learn more in this article: Improving Indoor Air Quality with Houseplants.

Answered by
  • Specialist
  • Consumer Horticulture Extension
Last updated on
March 20, 2024