The prospect of long periods of time spent in the home is upon us, therefore it might be worth considering ways we can bring the outdoors in. Not only have plants been very trendy decorative accessories lately, but they have been proven to help improve the quality of our indoor air. Scientists at NASA stated in a study:
"Plant roots and their associated microorganisms then destroy the pathogenic viruses, bacteria, and the organic chemicals, eventually converting all of these air pollutants into new plant tissue."
To determine popularity, OnBuy.com looked up how many times each plant (19 in total) were Googled a month using the SEO tool SEMRush - and then we had a look at how effective each is at cleansing your indoor air!
We have decided to take a look at the plants studied in the NASA research, alongside others to find out the most popular air purifying plants to line your home office shelves with.
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has been the most searched for indoor plant, with 608,610 green fingered Googlers looking to get their hands on the plant every month in the UK.
Interest in the plant has shot up since the coronavirus outbreak, as shown here on Google trends. As well as having antioxidant and antibacterial properties (often being used in hand sanitisers), it's super effective at purifying the air and removing toxins.
Popularity of the "pot mum", or chrysanthemums, has probably increased due to Mother's Day - OnBuy found that people were searching for these plants around 97,020 times a month.
NASA's study revealed that chrysanthemums are able to absorb 53% of chemicals like Benzene - a carcinogenic substance found in products like paint, detergents and varnish removers. Not only an air purifier, according to Chinese lore, Chrysanthemums bring happiness and laughter in the house too!
The 3rd most commonly searched for indoor plant that can purify the air is the Ficus tree. Also known as "fig trees" - these plants get around 86,610 searches every month. The most popular type is the weeping fig (googled over 5,000 times a month). These plants are great at purifying certain chemicals in the air and are able to remove around 47.4% of chemicals like formaldehyde.
4. Peace Lily
The beautiful peace lily is the 4th most popular indoor plant for purifying the air with 74,410 searches a month. Studies have shown this plant to be one of the most effective at purifying air, even more so than Aloe Vera! Whilst Aloe Vera is able to reduce chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde from the air, it was not as effective as the Peace Lily in cleaning the air of trichloroethylene and ammonia. These plants are great for keeping as bathroom accessories too, as they help curb mildew!
5. Spider Plant
Spider plants have massively increased in popularity over the last 5 years as a house plant (peaking in popularity around June last year) and garner around 57,480 Google searches a month. However, not only are they trendy, they are known to purify the air too being great carbon monoxide absorbers- city dwellers take note and ditch your man-made air purifiers!
6. Snake Plant
Also known as the "mother-in-law's-tongue", the snake plant has slid in at number 6 of the top 10 air purifying plants, being googled about 45,000 times a month! It is not as effective at making cleaner indoor air as other plants on this list, but the NASA study found it has potential to filter 4 of the 5 main toxins involved in the effects of what is known as "sick building syndrome."
7. Dragon Tree
An extremely easy to grow house plant, the Dragon tree comes in 7th place of the most popular indoor air purifying plants, being searched for over 21,000 times a month. Studies have shown it filters out many toxins in the air, including xylene and toluene.
8. Gerbera Daisy
A colourful addition to your home office, Gerbera Daisies are extremely good at purifying your indoor air. Of all the plants tested, they came in third place! They are also pretty popular too, with over 16,000 internet users looking to purchase these flowers each month.
9. Chinese Evergreen
This leafy plant garners over 12,000 searches a month, and looks great in any homes, no matter your interior décor style. In addition to cleansing your indoor air, the Chinese Evergreen represents positive energy in Feng Shui and is thus the perfect plant to bring some positivity into our working from home environments.
It's no secret that hanging planters are extremely popular in interior design, which could account for the 12,030 searches a month that English Ivy gets. They are great at purifying the air in your home and have medicinal properties too. Herbalists use it for many respiratory conditions, like asthma.