Do Indoor Plants Really Purify the Air?

indoor plants

Everybody knows that green leaves absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen in the process of photosynthesis — that is why large forest zones are so important for the planet. It seems logical to endow useful qualities and indoor plants. It is often said that they filter the air — and on the Internet, it is easy to find lists like “The # Houseplants That Will Purify the Air Best.” We figure out how potted flowers are actually useful and whether they make the air cleaner.

What Does NASA Have to Do with It?

In 1989, the results of a study conducted by NASA were published — it is most often referred to in texts about the cleansing properties of plants. However, the conclusion was: for indoor plants, in combination with activated carbon filters, the potential has been demonstrated to improve indoor air quality by eliminating traces of organic pollutants. That is, there was no talk of improving air quality thanks to plants alone — only in combination with charcoal filters. However, the situation is entirely different with outdoor plants — they appear to be not only useful but also beautiful. By planting flowers like lilies, you will make your garden very attractive.

How Many Plants Do You Need?

A standard office ventilation system allows you to completely change the air in the room once an hour; to ensure the same effect, a thousand plants must be placed in a small office (3×3 meters)! More and more experts say that plants can undoubtedly remove some pollutants from the air — but only partially and, most importantly, in laboratory conditions.

What About Oxygen?

Plants can convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, there is no doubt about that — but how many houseplants do you need to make the amount of oxygen in the air noticeably higher? A person consumes about 550 liters of oxygen per day. How much oxygen a plant produces is influenced by various factors, including the rate at which it grows and the light intensity of its leaves. It is estimated that:

  • 22 liters of oxygen will be released while the weight of the plant increases by 150 grams;
  • and to receive 550 liters per day, the increase must be 3.75 kilograms per day.

Such growth of green mass can be imagined in the park, but definitely not at home — you just don’t have enough space for plants.

What Is the Use of Indoor Plants Then?

Indoor flowers cheer up and soothe; caring for them can be a meditative activity, and to just water them, you need at least distract yourself from gadgets or screens, get up and move a little. If you grow edible herbs or fruits, then your kitchen works partly according to the principle of 0 KM — so the environment suffers a little less. Houseplants are known to reduce psychological and physiological stress and help people feel happier. And even if they do not purify the air and do not add oxygen, they look great and allow you to change the appearance of the room at no special cost.