NASA study on indoor plants for cleaner air


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Photo of a snake plant, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

By Genevva Pattison

MMaintaining the air quality of your home can seem like an easy task. However, living in built-up urban areas, using central heating and ubiquitous dust means that we do not always realize it could be better and sometimes we need some help.

NASA – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has published an accessible online study on the relationships between some indoor plants and the quality of the plants. ;air. The ultimate goal of the survey was to measure the effectiveness of these plants for filtration purposes, with the hope of improving the quality of life for future life outside the planet.

The study was undertaken in 1989 and covers the plants that best filter some residual toxins from the house in order to avoid the phenomenon called "unhealthy building syndrome", which can cause unpleasant symptoms.

Dr. Tony Pickering of Manchester studied this phenomenon and found that symptoms were minimized "in naturally ventilated buildings containing the highest rate of micro-organisms".

In this exploration of nine plant varieties, NASA has been studying soil roots, leaves and microorganisms to examine the potential of each of these factors to help filter certain pollutants. Here is a list of the best and easiest to maintain for the plant specimens in the list.

Variegated snake plant

With its thorny leaves and relaxed nature, the snake plant is a welcome addition to any home. Also known as the "mother-in-law's tongue", this low-maintenance perennial can thrive in all conditions and conditions. It can survive up to six weeks without water when it is in the shelter of direct light. However, you should check the soil moisture of this plant every two weeks.

This architectural specimen can eliminate formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide from your living space. We are generally advised to keep the plants out of the bedroom because they secrete carbon monoxide at night, but the snake plant is totally opposite, because it releases oxygen at night, so it's perfect for the room.

A word of warning: it is toxic to cats and dogs, so it is best to keep pets away if you have them.

Lily of peace

The lilies of peace are perfect for shaded areas. If your house is not very bright, this is the plant that you need. Ranked high on the NASA evaluation list, this plant filters ammonia, formaldehyde, benzene and many other common air pollutants. They are relatively easy to grow, but watch for warning signs such as leaf yellowing, wilting or non-flowering. Any of these signs may indicate that something is wrong and you may need to re-evaluate the positioning.

Like all flowering plant species, the peace lily releases pollen in full bloom, so consider if allergies are a problem. Again, it is best to keep pets away from this plant.

Aloe Vera

Ideal to soothe sunburn and long associated with its healing properties, aloe vera can also serve as a natural alarm for some toxins that invade your home. If they develop brown marks on their leaves without relevant cause, such as excessive watering or burning of leaves, this can be a sign that toxins have accumulated in your home. It is also mentioned in the report as a filter of lower level toxins, but not in very large quantities.

This plant will thrive under certain conditions and intense indirect light is recommended. Do not forget to water carefully, but let the soil dry thoroughly between each watering.

Benjamin Fig

The air purification properties of the fig Benjamin, tested by NASA in a controlled environment, were also very promising. It has been shown that 47.4% of formaldehyde and 30% of benzene are removed from the air of the experimental chamber. This particular tree has recently become very popular for introducing intrigue into the interior spaces. Its multiple sprouting branches can be driven in a visually striking twined design, like growing your own sculpture in the interior.

Dracena "Janet Craig"

The Dracena plant of the genus "Janet Craig" has also been evaluated as part of the experiment and has proven very effective in removing trichlorethylene from the air. It shows that 18,330 micrograms of the toxin were removed from the test chamber over a 24-hour period. As for the benzene content in the room air, it was reduced by 77.6%. Dracenas would be a excellent plant for someone who is always on the go. They need little water and light, but have a visual impact. Their leaves are dark green and arrive at striking points; so they are ideal if you want to introduce a tropical element into your home.

Where to start

Living in a big city means that pollutants encountered outdoors can not always be avoided. However, by improving the quality of the air in our homes, we can afford to regain control and do it in style.

If you are new to the world of indoor plants, offers a lot of information on everything related to maintenance, including a plant encyclopedia.

Energia has also published information on the correlation between indoor plants and the quality of the air for a better life. To learn more, visit their blog at–air -in-your-home

Find the full report from NASA at

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