Garden Guide: Improve the air quality in your house... with plants!

It's no secret that plants are a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. They bring life to indoor spaces, encourage us to spend time outside, and some give us delicious food. These plants work hard to look that pretty, and along the way, they're making the air in our homes just a little bit cleaner. Here are a few traits to look out for when selecting the best plants to purify your home.  

Large leaves purify more air

Plants with larger leaves often absorb more air. Leaves absorb air through respiration in their leaves. It makes sense that larger leaves would absorb more than their smaller counterparts. Plants require carbon dioxide to live, but some studies show in the process, they are also removing some harmful chemicals from the air too. 
Peace lilies, Dracaena, Fiddle leaf figs, Dieffenbachia, Schefflera, and Monstera have large leaves that are great for purifying air. Calathea area a great option for tabletops.  

The more plants the better

There's no risk of health issue from having too many plants in the house - despite occasional internet rumors about keeping plants out of the bedroom. 
During the daytime plants release oxygen and absorb CO2, but at night, they release small amounts of CO2. That's where there's some confusion about lots of plants pumping too much CO2 back into a room at night. It's not the case!
CO2, carbon dioxide, is totally harmless and our homes are not air tight so there's plenty of oxygen coming in also. So even a room filled to the rim with plants is perfectly safe to sleep in!  

An important note

Plants are truly the lungs of our planet and have major benefits in our lives, but in most homes, houseplants are only going to have marginal benefits in air quality. In 1989, NASA conducted a study to see if plants could be used to purify the air in human living quarters in space, but when the study was conducted, it used airtight chambers. That's not exactly realistic conditions in our everyday homes. Houses are constantly getting air from the outside - at a much faster rate than plants can filter it! There have also been issues replicating the impressive results from that study.
Gardeners can fill their homes with endless plants and reap some benefits, but they won't replace the need for air filters. Most houseplants won't cause any issues for Asthma suffers, but their potting soil can contain spores that trigger some symptoms.