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Houseplants are Great for Your Health!

While most people who love gardening in Colorado appreciate houseplants for their ability to add life to long winter days, few understand just how healthful it is to have these green beauties inside of the house. Houseplants have been shown to increase happiness, speed up the healing process and even lower blood pressure; all by simply adding a bit of calm and green to our indoor environment.In the late 1980s, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America studied the effect of houseplants working as air purification systems in space facilities. The study showed that indoor plants actually significantly reduce volatile organic compounds (or VOCs).

What does that mean for us? VOCs can cause headaches and other nasty ailments, so with plants in your home, you will naturally feel better. Plants are also natural humidifiers and can soften the air, and increase the moisture level in your home. This helps to moisturize dry skin and reduces cold-related illnesses. Some plants, like eucalyptus, can even help clear phlegm and congestion from your system.

NASA researchers suggest efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space. So an 1800 hundred square foot house would need 18 plants.

How do houseplants clean the air? Plants absorb some of the particulates from the air at the same time that they take in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen through photosynthesis. But that’s not all... microorganisms associated with the plants are present in the potting soil, and these microbes are also responsible for much of the cleaning effect.

The following list of air filtering plants was compiled as part of the NASA Clean Air Study, which researched ways to clean air in space stations.

Plant, removes:BenzeneFormaldehydeTrichloroethyleneXylene and TolueneAmmoniaToxic to dogs, cats
Aloe vera (Aloe vera)YesYesNoNoNotoxic
Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)NoYesNoYesNonon-toxic
Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)NoYesNoYesNonon-toxic
Banana (Musa Oriana)NoYesNoNoNonon-toxic
Barberton Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)YesYesYesNoNonon-toxic
Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis')NoYesNoYesNonon-toxic
Broadleaf lady palm (Rhapis excelsa)NoYesNoYesYesnon-toxic
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestum)YesYesNoNoNotoxic
Cornstalk dracaena (Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana')YesYesYesNoNotoxic
Dendrobium orchids (Dendrobium spp.)NoNoNoYesNonon-toxic
Devil's ivy, Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)YesYesNoYesNotoxic
Dumb canes (Dieffenbachia spp.)NoNoNoYesNotoxic
Dwarf date palm (Phoenix roebelenii)NoYesNoYesNonon-toxic
Elephant ear philodendron (Philodendron domesticum)NoYesNoNoNotoxic
English ivy (Hedera helix)YesYesYesYesNotoxic
Flamingo lily (Anthurium andraeanum)NoYesNoYesYestoxic
Florist's chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)YesYesYesYesYestoxic
Heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron cordatum)NoYesNoNoNotoxic
Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis "Janet Craig")YesYesYesNoNotoxic
Kimberly queen fern (Nephrolepis obliterata)NoYesNoYesNonon-toxic
King of hearts (Homalomena wallisii)NoNoNoYesNotoxic
Lilyturf (Liriope spicata)NoYesNoYesYesnon-toxic
Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis spp.)NoNoNoYesNonon-toxic
Peace lily (Spathiphyllum 'Mauna Loa')YesYesYesYesYestoxic
Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)YesYesYesYesNotoxic
Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)NoYesNoNoNotoxic
Selloum philodendron


(Philodendron bipinnatifidum)

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)NoYesNoYesNonon-toxic
Variegated snake plant, mother-in-law's tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii')YesYesYesYesNotoxic
Warneckei (Dracaena deremensis "Warneckei")YesYesYesNoNotoxic
Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)NoYesNoYesNotoxic

Here is the link to the original 1989 Nasa Indoor Air Pollutant Abatement study. Lots of scientific terms but really fascinating! Clean Air Study

Information credit: Wikipedia

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