Do Succulents Purify the Air?
The 7 Best Air-Purifying Succulents.

There are some plants that can purify the air easily with their presence. Read ahead to learn more about them!

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Jimena Bolívar

April 12, 2021


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Introduction

Do you wish to purify the air in your home? Household Air Pollution (HAP) is now one of the most critical public health risk, with over 90% of people spending most of their time in an indoor environment.

Succulents can purify the air by removing toxins present in the atmosphere. Succulents that can do this includes the Jade plant, the Snake plant, Dracaena ‘JANET Craig’, Red-Edged Dracaena (Dracaena Marginate) and ‘Warneckii (Dracaena Fragrans).

Can Succulent Plants Purify Your Indoor Air?

Growing succulents indoors will purify your air quality by cleaning and removing toxins, i.e., Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The plant increases oxygen levels and reduces carbon dioxide. It also filters toxins which are later trapped into the soil and converted as food for the plant.

The 7 Best Air-Purifiying Succulents

Based on research, the Snake plant and the Aloe vera plant are the best air purifying succulents.

Here is the list of excellent succulents that are great at purifying air quality.

1. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

Aloe vera improves air quality because of its wonderful nature. Aloe removes 90% of formaldehyde with other VOCs and converts them into nutrients. This is why it is in the NASA’s list of best air purifying plants.

Recommendation and Care: Aloe Vera is one of the most popular succulents and it will need to be watered but not too often. Always let the top third of the potting soil to dry out before watering the houseplant. It will also thrive in a sunny location.

aloe vera air purifying succulents house plants.jpg

If you’re in love with the beauty of Aloe Vera and want it at your home, here is a great place you can get one:

Aloe Vera in 4 Inch Pot

I wholeheartedly recommend this product for you as it is worth getting!

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2. Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)

The Snake plant is another excellent succulent that will purify your air by absorbing toxins through the leaves. At the same time, it converts carbon dioxide (CO2) into oxygen during the night. It is an excellent plant that can be placed at your bedside table because of its ability to convert CO2 to O2.

Recommendation and Care: Avoid overwatering this succulent. Just water once in ten days. Snake plants love indirect bright light. Therefore, place them in a location where they can get filtered sunlight easily.

how do snake plants purify the air

Looking to get this gorgeous plant? Here is where you can buy the Snake Plant!

Snake Plant 4 Inch Pot

I wholeheartedly recommend this snake plant! It is a healthy addition to your home!

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3. Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’

Dracaena’ Janet Craig’, also referred to as Cornstalk dracaena, originates from South Sudan and Mozambique. Dracaena’ Janet Craig’ is on NASA’s list for air-purifying succulent plants.

Recommendation and Care: The plant can perform well if given adequate attention. Janet Craig needs less light, and is a slower-growing air-purifying plant. Overwatering must be avoided to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

are succulents air purifying

4. Red-Edged Dracaena (Dracaena marginate)

The Red-edged Dracaena (Dragon Tree) is one of the best succulent species which gets rid of most toxins present in the air. Red-Edged succulents will cleanse and purify your air by eliminating benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.

Recommendation and Care: Red-Edged Dracaena does not need a lot of sunlight and can survive a lot of watering. The soil must be drained to avoid root rot. It can grow slowly but can get as tall as 14 feet, needing a room with high ceilings.

Purifying Red-edged Dracaena Succulents plants

5. ‘Warneckii’ (Dracaena fragrans)

The Dracaena Warneckii will clean your air by removing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). The plant was tested in the clean air study by NASA and was found effective. It is known to filter and purify indoor air with the help of its great white striped green leaves.

Recommendation and Care: Dracaena Warneckii will need less watering than other air purifying succulents. Ensure that the topmost soil in the pot is dry before watering it again. It is one of the shortest dracaenas, but it will need moderate levels of indirect light to grow.

dracaena Warneckii succulent plant

6. Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)

The Corn Plant is an ideal houseplant that will naturally purify your air by absorbing toxins. It requires low light and can photosynthesize even at night. Corn Plant will tolerate a fair amount of neglect because it is able to.

Recommendation and Care: The Corn Plant is easy to take care of and does excellently when given a bright but indirect light source. You must keep its potting soil moist consistently and can only fertilize it once every six months.

corn succulents plants dracaena fragrans

7. Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata)

Jade Plant, also referred to as Crassula Ovata, is another succulent that is perfect to purify the indoor air. Jade plant doesn’t just appeal to you visually. It is also a catalyst for cleansing the air. It does this by effectively removing and absorbing toxins.

Recommendation and Care: The Jade plant will grow at room temperature with medium-light, but weekly watering. You will fertilize it about once in six months with a water-soluble fertilizer. Jade plants are one of the easiest succulents to grow and should be kept in a location with bright, indirect sunlight.

jade succulent plants purify our indoor air. You shouldn’t think too much about it and get the Jade Plant. It is a symbol of luck that might open up good fortune for you!

Sunset Jade Plant 4 Inch Pot

I wholeheartedly recommend this Jade plant, it is so elegant and classy that you will love it!

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How Many Plants You Need to Clean Your Indoor Air

The NASA research done in 1989 on indoor air pollution recommends 15 to 18 succulents plants in 6 to 8-inch diameter pot to clean and purify the air in an average 1,800 square foot home. That is a succulent plant in every 100 square feet of floor space for effective air purification.

Bill Wolverton, the NASA scientist that conducted this study, suggested an idea of what to look out for in a succulent for effective air purification. They stated that the leafier and more giant the plant, the better because the leaves’ surface will influence the air purification.

You may need multiple species of succulents to purify your indoor air. It is also crucial to test how suitable the chosen succulent is for your home before embarking on this project.

Another research and study funded by the Hort Innovation Australia concluded that one Succulent in a room (i.e., roughly 4 meters by 5 meters room, and or 13 by 16 feet); will bring about an improvement in air quality by 25%. They recommended that placing more succulents in a room will further improve the air quality.

Here are a few plants you can consider purchasing:

American Plant Exchange Dracaena Marginata

I recommend this Red Edged Marginata Colorama plant. It is live plant in a 6-inch pot, which you grow.

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Three Different Aloe Plants

Check out these three different Aloe Plants. They are 3 inch pots of live plants which can be used as decor.

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Assortment of Succulents

Get this beautiful collection of live succulents.

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Harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in The Air

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are the toxic compounds in your air emitted from products or processes such as burning fuel. The byproducts are formaldehyde, benzene, Xylene, etc. Exposure to these gases can result in nausea, sore throat, headaches, itchy eyes and eventually cause cancer.

There are abundant sources of toxins in the home which disturb the air quality. According to the World Health Organization, 3.8 million people die prematurely every year from illness associated with household air pollution.

Sources of Volatile Organic Compounds at home or in your offices are printers, shopping bags, detergent, paint, paper towels, glue, tissues, cigarette smoke, books, cleaning products, photocopiers, and printer ink.

Research has shown that the level of Volatile Organic Compounds found in homes can be 2 to 5 times greater than that found outdoors. In some cases, the level of VOC gases indoors is ten times that which is outdoors.

Pollutants can take a long time to disperse from indoor air. This is why you need succulents to continue to help you clean and purifying your indoor air.

Signs and symptoms that are related to exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds include:

  • Fatigue
  • Allergic skin reaction
  • Dizziness
  • Eye and respiratory tract irritation
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Visual disorders and memory impairment

Risk of High Exposure to Toxins

Exposure to high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can damage your body's vital organs, such as the liver and kidney

Summary Table: Air Purifying Succulents Plants, VOCs Pollutants, and Its Source.

Volatile organic compounds Source of VOC Succulents that can help
Ammonia Tobacco smoke, Building materials, and air conditioning Aloe Vera, Corn Plant Dracaena fragrans Janet Craig ’ and Dracaena fragrans Red-edged Dracaena,
Benzene Tobacco smoke, Cooking Gas stations, and Furniture Aloe Vera, Janet Craig, Snake Plant, Red-edged Dracaena, ‘Warneckii’, Dracaena fragrans and Jade Plants
Formaldehyde Plywood, particleboard, glue, drapes, fabrics, foam insulation, adhesive binders, wood, kerosene, waxed paper, grocery bags, and tobacco products. Aloe Vera, Janet Craig, Snake Plant, ‘Warneckii’, Dracaena fragrans, Red-edged Dracaena and Jade Plants
Nitrogen Dioxide Tobacco smoke, gas, wood, oil, kerosene, coal-burning appliances, stoves, space heaters, water heaters, furnaces, boilers, and fireplaces. Janet Craig, Snake Plant, Red-edged Dracaena, ‘Warneckii’, Dracaena fragrans, Jade Plants
Toluene Spray paints, Primers, Multipurpose cleaners, Contact cement, Floor polish, Paint thinners, Bathmats and Wood sealers. Janet Craig, Snake Plant, Red-edged Dracaena, ‘Warneckii’, Dracaena fragrans, Jade Plants
Trichloroethylene Wood finishes, adhesives, paint removers, and stain removers. Janet Craig, Snake Plant, Red-edged Dracaena, ‘Warneckii’, Dracaena fragrans and Jade Plant
Xylene Paints, lacquers, adhesives, rust preventers, thinners, gasoline, and magic markers. Janet Craig, Snake Plan, Red-edged Dracaena, ‘Warneckii’, Dracaena fragrans and Jade Plant

Here is a product that could be useful for you:

Air Quality Pollution Detector & Monitor

I recommend this pollution detector. It measures and detects temperature, humidity meter, check indoor air (VOCs Gases ) quality.

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NASA Clean Air Study Project

The theory of using Succulents to purify air was first studied a long time ago at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration - NASA and Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) Clean Air Study project. It aimed to study ways to purify the air in space stations for future long-term space habitation.

Their findings suggest that through photosynthesis the plant absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen back to the air.

The result showed that purer air was achieved by placing a plant every 100 square feet (9.3 m2) of gap or space (though the experiment was conducted under sealed conditions).

The study noted that though most plants are beneficial, some specific plants (i.e., succulents) are more effective at cleaning and purifying the polluted air.

How to Remove Harmful Toxins with Succulents?

Succulents absorb Volatile Organic Compounds from the indoor air. The plant later converts toxins to nutrients for the plants. The succulents use the bioremediation process to clean the air.

According to NASA, succulents can clean and purify 87% of the volatile organic compounds present in indoor air within 24 hours. It is because they can continue to keep exhaling oxygen even when you turn off their light at night.

Conclusion

The famous Nasa studies and experiments published in 1989 have shown succulents to be great air purifiers. They need little sunlight, and can photosynthesize even in the night. They purify, clean, and convert harmful VOCs in the air to nutrients.

But do all succulents purify the air? Any succulent will help improve your indoor air quality. However, if you had to pick two, perhaps Aloe Vera and Snake plant would be best for your home.

If you’re interested in learning more about succulents, I recommend you visit our post about succulents for beginners!

The Best 8 Succulents for Beginners. Easy Succulents for New Gardeners

Are you a beginner and confused about how to start in the world of succulents? Follow my lead as we explore the top 8 succulents for beginners.

Jimena Bolívar Picture

By Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Jimena Bolívar Picture

Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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