WATCH: The Hidden Health Benefits of Indoor Plants
BRB, buying a houseplant.
A well-placed houseplant can add life to a room, but it can also bring health benefits to the people tending it.
This knowledge traces to the 1980s, when a study from NASA (the "NASA Clean Air Study") measured the ability of plants to remove organic chemicals—specifically benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde—from the air. The results of the study indicated that, in addition to taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, certain common houseplants have the ability to purify indoor air by scrubbing the air of chemicals and toxins that can potentially make you sick.
Of the plants included in the study, many are leafy tropical or subtropical species. They are popular houseplants because they are able to flourish in challenging environments with low light. These plants include bamboo palms, Chinese evergreens, English ivy, mums, peace lilies, snake plants, and ficuses, as well as plants from the philodendron family, including golden pothos, elephant ear philodendrons, and spider plants, all of which take in different levels of airborne chemicals.
In 2016, researchers presented work to the American Chemical Society that examines ways to abate the harmful effects of VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, often found indoors. Researchers tested five indoor plants, including dracaena and bromeliad, and found that different plants removed different amounts of the compounds from the air. The results of this study also indicate that certain houseplants have the potential to improve the quality of air in your home.
Last year, additional analysis from the University of Melbourne and RMIT University touted the ability of indoor plants not only to clean the air and remove toxins through both leaves and roots, but also to promote wellbeing and productivity—a happy result of bringing nature indoors.
All that is to say, you should probably invest in a houseplant or two. The research into the benefits of indoor plants continues, but we're already convinced. If houseplants can improve general wellbeing and are both beautiful in and beneficial to our homes, we'll always find a place for them.
This has us thinking…we should probably pay a visit to our local nursery or garden store as soon as possible. The Southern Living Plant Collection is a great resource too, as is our guide to picking the perfect houseplants for your space.
Do you have any indoor plants in your home? What are your favorite houseplants to tend throughout the year?