Common folklore has houseplants able to freshen and oxygenate the air. Alas, not so much.

A review of previous studies and follow-on research found that air ventilation from windows or air conditioning systems quickly overwhelms plant output unless you are surrounded by a literal jungle. “Plants are great, but they don’t actually clean indoor air quickly enough to have an effect on the air quality of your home or office,” said American engineer Michael Waring.


Bryan E. Cummings & Michael S. Waring, “Potted plants do not improve indoor air quality: a review and analysis of reported VOC removal efficiencies,” Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology (6 November 2019).

For decades researchers claimed potted plants improve indoor air quality – they don’t,” SciTechDaily (8 November 2019).