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Why You Need These NASA-Approved Plants in Your Home

NASA, along with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, conducted a study to discover what plants would best filter the air of a space station for astronauts during their extended stays. What they found might convince you that these unassuming plants have superpowers—like boosting mood and productivity and removing up to 87 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a.k.a. air-borne toxins, in 24 hours.

Other studies have corroborated NASA’s findings and even expanded on them. In addition to purifying the air, brightening a space with natural colors, increasing oxygen levels, and creating relaxing and restful spaces, a University of Michigan study found that in rooms with plants, memory retention improved up to 20 percent. Further, a Kansas State University study concluded that hospital patients sharing a room with indoor plants required less pain medication, had lower blood pressure, and experienced less fatigue and anxiety.

You don’t need an expensive day at the space to reduce stress levels and relieve tension—just bring home some low-maintenance house plants and scatter them throughout your house! Be sure to place the orchids, succulents, snake plants, and bromeliads in your bedroom, as unlike other plants, they emit oxygen at night.


Inside your home, a few friendly house plants will:

  • Remove air pollutants and toxins from the air, including:
    • Formaldehyde (released by lacquers, varnishes, gasoline, plywood and particleboard, paper bags and wax papers, foam insulation, synthetic fibers)
    • Xylene (released by printing, rubber, certain leathers and paints, tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust)
    • Trichloroethylene (found in printing inks, lacquers, varnishes, adhesives, paint remover/stripper)
    • Benzene (found in glue, plastics, resins, synthetic fibers, rubber lubricants, detergent, dyes, pesticides, paint and furniture wax, tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust)
    • Ammonia (found in window cleaners, floor waxes, smelling salts, and fertilizers)
    • Toluene (found in paint thinners, glues, industrial solvents, and fuels)
    • Mold and dog feces
  • Absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen
  • Improve the humidity in a home, which can prevent dry skin, colds, sore throat, and dry cough
  • Reduce eye irritation, respiratory problems, headaches, lung impairment, and asthma

House Plant Suggestions

There are many suitable house plants that accommodate a range of spaces, climates, and maintenance schedules. Be aware that some of these plants are toxic to pets and young children. If you have questions about which plants are best for your house and family, ask your local gardening specialty store. Give one or two of these a try and reap the benefits within a few hours!

  • Areca palm
  • Aloe plant
  • Bamboo plant
  • Boston fern
  • Chinese evergreen
  • English ivy
  • Flamingo lily
  • Golden pothos
  • Kimberley queen fern
  • Lilyturf
  • Mint
  • Peace lily
  • Peperomia
  • Philodendron
  • Red-edged dracaena
  • Rubber tree
  • Snake plant
  • Spider plant
  • Variety of succulents
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