Oxygen is the most valuable plant by-product of photosynthesis. Though all plants produce oxygen as a result of photosynthesis, some plants are more efficient producers of oxygen than others. High-oxygen plants are not just aesthetically pleasing additions to your interior design; a 1989 study by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration reported that high-oxygen-yielding plants are effective reducers of the hazardous chemicals and airborne bacteria that contribute to indoor air pollution.
English ivy is a climbing evergreen that is classified as an invasive plant due to its rapid and aggressive growth rate. English ivy is a popular choice for outdoor ground cover, but when kept potted indoors, the plant demonstrates impressive oxygen yield and air pollution-reduction properties. A 2005 study published by The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reported that English ivy demonstrated a 75 per cent reduction in airborne mould spores. Researchers concluded that English ivy not only held promise for increasing oxygen production but also for reducing incidences of allergy-related mould reactions. NASA research further confirms that English ivy is one of the top indoor house plants for reducing harmful airborne chemicals and bacteria. Because English ivy is an invasive climbing plant, keep it in a hanging planter in a shady place and maintain regular pruning to prevent unwanted overgrowth.
Spider plants are recognisable by their thin leaves, which feature a distinctive yellow vein down the centre. A 1985 study published by the Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences found that, in a 24-hour time span, spider plants eliminated nearly all traces of carbon dioxide levels in a small room. Beginner indoor gardeners are likely to do well with potted spider plants; spider plants are resistant to disease, and can adjust to several climate conditions as well as a lack of water due to neglect.
Many palms report high levels of oxygen generation, but the bamboo palm is especially well-suited to reducing indoor air pollution because it is easy to grow, adaptable to many soil and climate conditions, and also promotes clean moisture in the air to prevent dry conditions during colder months. Dr. B.C. Wolverton, ecology expert and author of "Foliage Plants for Removing Indoor Air Pollutants from Energy-Efficient Homes," lists the bamboo palm as one of his top suggested plants for the purification of indoor spaces.
If you are looking for a decorative indoor plant with impressive oxygen-yielding properties, consider potted gerbera daisies. Gerbera daisies are notable for their double layer of thin, delicate petals in colours ranging from white to yellow to red. In additional to their decorative value, Gerbera daisies also demonstrate a marked ability to remove harmful airborne chemicals from the air and replace them with fresh, clean oxygen. Gerbera daisies require a bit more maintenance than other high-oxygen-yield plants; keep them in fertile, well-drained soil and in highlight areas for the best growth.
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement
- "What Is English Ivy?"; Presented by the National Park Service; American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology's Annual Meeting; 2005
- "Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences"; Foliage Plants for the Indoor Removal of the Primary Combustion Gases; 1985
- Plant Solutions: Ten Best Plants for Green Interiors
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Greenhouse Production of Gerbera Daisies