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Houseplants Clean Air

Dear Dr. Dave & Dr. Dee,

A family just moved into the neighborhood, and my other neighbor and I would like to give a small houseplant as a house warming gift. My neighbor thinks any plant will do, but I would like to give one that is easy to grow as I do not have a green thumb and do not want to assume that this new family has one. Do you recommend any plants?


Picky about plants

Dear Picky about plants,

An easy to grow houseplant is the spider plant, which tolerates low light and is low maintenance. Houseplants make excellent housewarming gifts. Besides their aesthetic appeal, houseplants help clean the air. According to a NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) study conducted by Dr. Wolverton, houseplants remove as much as 87% of indoor pollutants.

Other houseplants that reduce toxic chemical levels in the air are Philodendrons, English Ivy, Palms, Ferns, Dracaenas, Chrysanthemums, Daisies, Peace Lily, Chinese Evergreen, and Ficus. It is recommended to have at least one houseplant per 100 square feet of living space.

More information about clean air can be found at Dr. Wolverton's website:

Indoor pollutants examined in the NASA study were benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. The link below lists common sources of these three pollutants and the best plants to help remove the pollutants.