3 Top Indoor Plants Picks

From Jim DelPrince, Professor of Floral Design at Mississippi State University

Indoor plants are gaining in popular awareness these days. Interior designers are using them to create beautiful indoor environments … the number of web searches for "indoor plants” are on the rise … and people are collecting images of them in Pintrest bulletin boards (see below).

Image Credit Pinterest.com

A Pintrest.com bulletin board about indoor plants.

Image Credit MissStateExtension at YouTube



Clean Air Machines

Floral Design Professor Jim DelPrince, shown in the video above, explains that indoor plants are also catching the public’s eye because they are clean air machines. Their leaves do more than collect sunshine! They:

  • Take in carbon dioxide and give off pure oxygen.
  • Keep humidity levels inside buildings from being "too moist” or "too dry”.
  • Remove toxins from the air.

Image Credit MissStateExtension at YouTube

The root zones of plants: powerful air purifiers.

Professor DelPrince says that the root zones of living plants are beneficial too - much of the air cleaning is done in this hidden zone - by tiny microbial elements that absorb toxic substances and make them harmless.



What Are VOCs, Anyway?

According to the EPA,

"VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands.”

Unfortunately, many of the materials inside buildings release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These include:

  • Computers
  • Paints
  • Building Materials
  • Office Equipment (such as copiers and printers)
  • Carpet
  • Cleaning Products
  • Glues and Adhesives
  • Permanent Markers

People who spend lots of time indoors – especially those with chemical sensitivities – may develop cold or flu-like symptoms when exposed to the concentrated levels of VOCs found indoors. Some people experience even worse symptoms.



Living Plants To the Rescue

But the solution is at hand – in the form of living plants.

With enough plants, indoor VOC levels are lowered drastically. Professor DelPrince says that for an average-sized room (30-40 square feet), 3 floor plants or 6 tabletop plants are enough.



Top Picks for Plants as Clean Air Machines

So what plants are the Professor’s favorites for clean air machines? His top picks are:

  • Philodendron Neon
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Dracaena Lemon Light

All of them are low maintenance plants you can easily find in local stores and nurseries. Plus, they all make excellent air cleaners because of their plentiful foliage and their fibrous root systems.



Philodendron Neon

Image Credit MissStateExtension at YouTube - Philodendron Neon

The philodendron has been popular as an indoor plant for a long time. But this version has an updated look, with its interesting variegation pattern and cascading habit.



Chinese Evergreen

Image Credit MissStateExtension at YouTube - Chinese Evergreen

Horticulturists have created many different hybrids of Chinese Evergreen (or Aglaonema). They are a versatile plant:

  • They tolerate a good bit of neglect.
  • They are resistant to many pests.
  • They display attractive color patterns.


Dracaena Lemon Light

Image Credit MissStateExtension at YouTube - Dracaena Lemon Light

The Professor’s last pick is Dracaena Lemon Light. He recommends it because of its shiny leaves, eye-catching chartreuse color, and upright stance.

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