The Crunchy Cookie

Equal parts deliciousness and hippiness

When not busy expanding our knowledge of the universe, NASA occasionally researches topics with very practical applications here on Earth.  Like houseplants.  NASA has identified 19 different species of houseplants that are useful in improving indoor air quality and many have the added bonus of treating certain chemicals, like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene that are found in household items like paint and building materials.  All 19 plants are easy to find at your local nursery and NASA recommends one of these plants for every 133 sq. ft. in your home to improve air quality, grown in pots of at least 6 inches in diameter.  Here’s the list of the top 15 (B=reduces benzene, F=reduces formaldehyde, and T= reduces trichloroethylene):

  • Philodendron scandens “oxycardium”, heartleaf philodendron
  • Philodendron domesticum, elephant ear philodendron
  • Dracaena fragrans “Massangeana”, cornstalk dracaena
  • Hedera helix, English ivy, B
  • Chlorophytum comosum, spider plant, F
  • Dracaena deremensis “Janet Craig”, Janet Craig dracaena
  • Dracaena deremensis “Warneckii”, Warneck dracaena, F
  • Ficus benjamina, weeping fig
  • Epipiremnum aureum, golden pothos, F
  • Spathiphyllum “Mauna Loa”, peace lily, B, T, F
  • Philodendron selloum, selloum philodendron
  • Aglaonema modestum, Chinese evergreen
  • Chamaedorea sefritzii, bamboo or reed palm, B, T, F
  • Sansevieria trifasciata, Mother-in-Law’s tongue, B, F
  • Dracaena marginata, red-edged dracaena, F

What’s great about houseplants is that they’re used to flourishing in low light, so they’re good for office environments as well.  Not included in the top 15 are the gerbera daisy and mums, which are considered decorative, seasonal plants and not true houseplants.  Both reduce benzene and the gerbera daisy also reduces trichloroethylene.

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