The Mysteries Of Air Purifying Plants Explained

The Mysteries Of Air Purifying Plants Explained

The phrase “health is wealth” is truer than ever at this point in time. With hundreds of chemicals tainting our lives daily, it is always better to find ways to minimize their impact. Instead of buying another machine to do the cleaning, we believe in plant power! Specifically, in our range of air-purifying indoor plants.

Curious about how air purifying indoor plants work?

These little superheroes work miracles and you will be a believer soon enough! This read covers the science behind it.

How do air purifying plants work?

Plants absorb chemicals from the air around us. They convert energy through the process known as photosynthesis. During photosynthesis plants convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into chemical energy, releasing oxygen as a byproduct. Oxygen is an element that is vital to our survival. Organisms cannot thrive in low oxygen conditions. 

When plants absorb gases from the air surrounding them, they also absorb other chemicals along with it. This absorption of chemicals is what allows certain plants to purify the air around them. Microorganisms in the soil also play a role in the purification of air. These friendly bacteria work around the clock to remove contaminants from the atmosphere around them.

Golden Pothos


The science behind it

What substances are removed by air purifying indoor plants?

  • Carbon dioxide is the first chemical that comes into our minds. Eliminating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will remove the stuffy feeling from the air. Having excessive carbon dioxide in the air causes dizziness. Higher carbon dioxide levels can induce headaches followed by drowsiness. And these are just the effects it has on humans. High levels of carbon dioxide are detrimental to the environment.
  • Formaldehyde is a harmful chemical that causes damage to your cell DNA. This gas irritates your nasal passage, throat, and eyes. Plants remove formaldehyde from the air by absorbing it for their metabolic processes.
  • Benzene molecules are classed as human carcinogens. Even minuscule amounts of the substance can cause complications. The deadly carcinogen can damage vital systems in humans. An extended exposure can even cause leukemia. Therefore it is crucial to eliminate as much benzene as possible from one’s surroundings.
  • Nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides are harmful to the human respiratory system. They can weaken the immunity of the respiratory system. This increases the chances of catching an infection and the severity of it. Air purifying indoor plants absorb these chemicals to create amino acids and nutrition to fuel their systems.

Lucky Bamboo 'Gold'

Plant components that absorb chemicals

  1. The foliage: Gases are absorbed through the foliage, or the stomata to be exact. These are small pores or openings present in the leaves of the plants. They allow gases and water to enter the plant. Stems can also contain stomata.

  2. Roots: Roots of air purifying indoor plants also absorb chemicals. However, in this scenario, credits should be given to the microorganisms that inhabit the soil. These microorganisms break down compounds from the air trapped in the soil. This allows plant roots to absorb these chemicals.

Curly Spider Plant

The gas exchange 

Stomata in air purifying indoor plants are responsible for the gas exchanges. These little openings control the intake of oxygen and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The absorption is regulated by a concentration gradient. When a substance passes a limit, the plant prevents absorption by closing the stomata.

Leaves of plants contain the highest number of stomata. Stems of the plants also contain stomata to a lesser degree. 

Gases absorbed by stomata

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Formaldehyde
  • Sulfur oxides
  • Traces of carcinogenic gases

Critters in the roots

The roots absorb a good amount of carbon dioxide as well through the air pockets in the soil. But the main focus of this section are the microorganisms that dwell within the roots. These microorganisms break down gasses that cannot be directly absorbed into their respective ions. This cleans the air as the pesky gases are broken down and absorbed by the plants.

These harmful contaminants are called VOCs. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. VOCs are harmful chemicals that are released into the air by humans. They are mostly off-gases produced from homes. Common sources of VOCs are paints, foam and upholstery, wood composites, and aerosols.

Janet Craig Compacta

Best indoor plants for clean air

The best indoor plants for clean air are those that purify the highest number of contaminants. The term phytoremediation refers to the use of plants to clean the surroundings instead of artificial machines. It is a concept that is backed by NASA!

Our choices for the best indoor plants for air purification are as follows.

  1. Lucky Bamboo
  2. Dragon Tree
  3. Pothos
  4. Spider Plant
  5. Janet Craig
  6. Snake plant

Why did we pick them?

  • Pothos and spider plants are exceptionally good at removing formaldehyde from the air.
  • Lucky bamboo absorbs a lot more carbon dioxide than the average plant.
  • Janet Craig works wonders at removing trichloroethylene.
  • The snake plant(mother-in-law's tongue) is rated by NASA to be one of the best plants to purify your indoor environment.

It’s a complete system!

Air purifying indoor plants have a miraculous cycle that has no flaws. Every component is necessary to complete the cycle. The leaves of the plants filter out gases such as carbon dioxide and sulfur oxides. Thus, it preserves the organic cycle of life by maintaining balance.

The roots absorb carbon dioxide from the soil, thereby maintaining its pH. The stable pH allows the microorganisms present in the soil to thrive. These friendly bacteria break down the nitrates keeping the nitrogen cycle intact, allowing life to go on. The friendly microorganisms cover up the problems caused by humans by eliminating VOCs from the air. 

What plant works best for you?

Picking a plant that works for you is a challenge at first. The air purifying indoor plants mentioned above are all good choices. 

But when it comes to indoor plants that clean air and remove toxins, you cannot go wrong with the lucky bamboo and the pothos! These are easy to grow and take care of. The pothos needs a sprinkle every few weeks and pruning once a month to keep the growth in check. Lucky bamboo requires a cleanup once every few weeks. Just pluck off the yellow leaves.

If you want a challenge, go with the Chinese evergreen and add a Janet Craig to the mix! These plants require attention as the soil must be kept damp but it would never feel like a chore. Watching these beauties grow is a therapy of its own! Just make sure to grow all these plants in soil.