Breathe Easier with Houseplants!


You may have heard before that plants produce oxygen and that indoor plants will improve the oxygen in your home. While this is partly true, it can be misleading to assume that house plants will fill your home with oxygen.Through photosynthesis plants do produce oxygen. However, even in the average house with an unusually large number of houseplants, the oxygen produced by the foliage is fairly insignificant. The extra oxygen produced is of course a benefit but the real advantage to having houseplants is their air purifying abilities.

Studies done by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) have proven that the air in an average American home is actually worse than outdoor pollution by as much as 2x to 5x. Indoor air pollution can be caused by many things, such as:

  • Smoke from tobacco products
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Ozone from air purifying machines
  • Off-gas from new paint
  • Toxins trapped in carpets and rugs
  • Litterboxes
  • Smoke or carbon monoxide from fireplaces

These sources of indoor air pollution are just the tip of the iceberg. Many aspects of our lifestyles can cause toxins in the air, from pet dander to hairspray. Breathing in these toxins can cause long term damage to our bodies through illness and allergies. One of the most natural ways of reducing indoor air pollution is by introducing plants into your home. If you already suffer from allergies, asthma, or chronic illness you may find that adding houseplants to your home can really improve your condition and how you feel.

While all houseplants can help the air quality in our homes there are certain species that are particularly efficient at cleansing the air. Generally, the larger the leaf the better. Some of these houseplants include:

  • Rubber Plant
  • Ficus
  • Spider Plant
  • English Ivy
  • Gerbera Daisies
  • Boston Fern
  • Golden Pothos

There are many plants that are excellent houseplants, for both sunny and low-light areas of your home. Before purchasing any plant consider children or pets in your home. There are some wonderful houseplants, like ivy and lilies, that are toxic if ingested. Also, if you are sensitive to pollen you also should keep this in mind if buying flowering plants. You can buy the plants online through Amazon or Ebay. This is a great option if your local stores have poor selection.

You don’t have to have a green thumb to enjoy houseplants. Most of the species are easy to care for and are very forgiving of beginner’s mistakes. It’s wise to buy well-started plants just to help you keep the plants alive if you aren’t too plant-savvy. It’s estimated that an average of 10-15 houseplants can drastically improve the air quality of a house. Why not start improving your health and your home today?


*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

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