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Office Plants: Cleaning your Air, Bringing the Outdoors In

Apr 18, 2022

Most of us spend thousands of hours a year at work, sitting at our desks in our offices for what adds up to days on end. During these hours we’re breathing in what is all too often stale, stagnant indoor air. Plants do a fantastic job of making an environment feel more natural and welcoming, and though that’d be awesome enough by itself, there’ve been countless studies done that show how great plants are at tearing through the various VOCs in our air and pumping out clean, pure oxygen in their place. What’s a VOC? Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are the chemicals released by furniture, cleaning supplies, and more, that actively make the air in your office building into the stale, stagnant stuff that you don’t want to be breathing. These aren’t things to underestimate! VOCs can cause some serious health issues with long-term exposure, being linked to shortness of breath, reduced cognitive function, and dizziness. There’s also mounting evidence that consistent enough exposure might be carcinogenic or lead to permanent nervous damage.

So what can you do about it? How can you make your office a healthier place to spend so much time? Well, as we mentioned earlier, many different types of plants are experts at knocking out VOCs from the air. In fact, in the late 80s a study released by NASA confirmed for certain how great plants are at filtering indoor air of various VOCs. The best solution is to spend more time outdoors during the workday, but given that that’s not an option for most of us, bringing a little bit of the outdoors in is just about as good. Let’s go over a few different office plants that hit the trifecta of being beautiful, easy to care for, and stellar purifiers of VOCs.

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

The sansevieria, also known as the mother-in-law’s tongue and snake plant, is a highly versatile plant that is widely used in offices because it’s pretty much people-proof. The mother-in-law’s tongue can withstand long periods of neglect and is often thought of as impossible to kill. They were one of the highest rated plants in the NASA VOC study, which determined that their ability to filter out VOCs was nearly unsurpassed. Mother-in-law’s tongue is best at filtering out VOCs like benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, and formaldehyde.

Dragon Plant

In office spaces that receive even a moderate amount of light, the dragon plant, or dracaena marginata, can become huge, growing to be up to six feet tall. They’re also rather unique looking plants, with leaves that vary in color from red to bright green. Like the mother-in-law’s tongue, dragon plants are very easy to grow and are hard to kill by neglect, making them well-suited to office environments. Also much like the mother-in-law’s tongue, the dragon plant scored very well during the NASA study, and they are amazing at filtering out the same harmful VOCs as mother-in-law’s tongue, including benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene.

At PLANTZ, we have a simple mission in mind: to make people happy with plants. To make this mission a reality, we offer a ton of different plant services, ranging from office plant consultation, to installation, to maintenance and care. Contact our team to find out how you can make your office a healthier, happier place to be, and to order the plants you need today!

Sansevieria and Fiddle Leaf Fig in open lobby
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