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Houseplants That Humidify the Air: 50 Plants Evaluated

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Did you know that plants can increase their own humidity? Plants naturally release water, and some are better at it than others. This post will look at the results of a NASA study to look at which houseplants humidify the air the best!

Do Plants Add Humidity to the Air?

The short answer is…yes they do! Plants add humidity to the air by a process called transpiration, where water evaporates from the leaves.

Plants only use a small percentage of water for growth and biological processes. More than 90% of water is lost through transpiration and is released into the air!

Some houseplants naturally transpire more water than others.

Houseplants That Add Humidity to the Air

Dr. B. C. Wolverton, the scientist who discovered the ability of houseplants to clear toxins out of indoor air, conducted research in order to make the air breathable in a NASA lunar habitat.

The study mainly looked at the ability of houseplants to remove many airborne toxins including formaldehyde, xylene, and other compounds that are released into the air by many household items such as carpeting, particle board, and even paper towels.

If you are interested in the easiest toxin-removing houseplants to grow from this study, check out my blog post 9 Easiest Indoor Plants for Air Purification.

From this study, I extracted just the transpiration rate for this blog post and included the results in the table below.

50 plants were studied and rated. Please note that the botanical names were taken directly from the book.

Some of these names have actually changed, but I kept the names that were published in the fascinating book, that you can purchase on Amazon, How to Grow Fresh Air by Dr. B. C. Wolverton.

I’ve read the book cover to cover and is fascinating! Brings a whole new perspective to growing plants.

Some of the plants described below are popular houseplants. Others are just seasonal plants that are just temporary “houseplants.”

Here are the 50 houseplants, ranked in descending order of transpiration rate. For plants that I have blog posts for, I’ve included a clickable link in the table.

The houseplants at the top of the list release the most water into the air (10 being the highest rate), and the houseplants at the bottom of the list release the least moisture into the air.

NAMEBOTANICAL
NAME
TRANSPIRATION RATE
Areca PalmChrysalidocarpus
lutescens
10
Bamboo PalmChamaedorea
seifrizii
9
Boston FernNephrolepsis
exaltata
“Bostoniensis”
9
Kimberley
Queen
Fern
Nephrolepsis
obliterata
9
Lady PalmRhapis
excelsa
8
Ficus AliiFicus
macleilandii
“Alii”
8
Peace LilySpathiphyllum
sp.
8
Florist’s MumChrysanthemum
morifolium
8
Gerbera DaisyGerbera
jamesonii
8
Dracaena
“Warneckei”
Dracaena
deremensis
“Warneckei”
8
Dwarf BananaMusa
cavendishii
8
Rubber PlantFicus
robusta
7
Dracaena
“Janet Craig”
Dracaena
deremensis
“Janet Craig”
7
English IvyHedera
helix
7
Dwarf
Date Palm
Phoenix
roebelenii
7
Corn PlantDracaena
fragrans
“Massangeana”
7
Golden PothosEpipremnum
aureum
7
Dragon TreeDracaena
marginata
7
SyngoniumSyngonium
podophyllum
7
Dumb CaneDieffenbachia
“Exotica
Compacta”
7
Parlor PalmChamaedorea
elegans
7
Schefflera Brassaia
actinophylla
7
Wax BegoniaBegonia
semperflorens
7
Dumb CaneDieffenbachia
camilla
7
King of HeartsHomalomena
wallisii
7
Prayer PlantMaranta
leuconeura
“Kerchoveana”
7
AnthuriumAnthurium
andraeanum
7
Weeping FigFicus
benjamina
6
Lacy
Tree
Philodendron
Philodendron
selloum
6
Norfolk
Island Pine
Araucaria
heterophylla
6
Chinese
Evergreen
Aglaonema
crispum
“Silver Queen”
6
Peacock
Plant
Calathea
makoyana
6
Red Emerald PhilodendronPhilodendron
erubescens
5
Elephant Ear PhilodendronPhilodendron
domesticum or
Philodendron
tuxla)
5
Oakleaf IvyCissus
rhombifolia
“Ellen
Danika”
5
Lily TurfLiriope
spicata
5
Dendrobium
Orchid
Dendrobium
sp.
5
Spider PlantChlorophytum
comosum
“Vittatum”
5
CrotonCodiaeum
variegato
pictum
5
Pointsettia Euphorbia
pulcherrima
5
Dwarf AzaleaRhododendron
simsii
“Compacta”
5
CyclamenCyclamen
persicum
5
Heart-Leaf
Philodendron
Philodendron
exycardium
4
Christmas
and
Easter Cactus
Schlumbergera
bridgesii:
Schlumbergera rhipsalidopsis
3
TulipTulipa
gesneriana
3
Moth OrchidPhalaenopsis
sp.
3
Snake PlantSansevieria
trifasciata
2
Aloe Vera Aloe
barbadensis
2
Urn PlantAechmea
fasciata
2
KalanchoeKalanchoe
blossfeldiana
2

Humidity and Houseplants

Grouping many houseplants together, especially ones that have high transpiration rates, will create a more humid microclimate.

Pretty cool right? Of course you’d need a lot of plants for this to happen, but it is possible.

There are a few ways to increase humidity for your plants in your home. In the blog post I just linked to, I also talk about my absolute favorite humidifier that I use in my own home so be sure not to miss it!

I’ve tested many humidifiers and I found a tremendous one!

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media because it will help me spread the Ohio Tropics houseplant care tips to the masses! Also, check out my shop on Amazon for all your houseplant care needs:

OHIO TROPICS PLANT CARE STOREFRONT

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kylo Succapunch.com

Thursday 23rd of January 2020

So many great plants here except Tillandsia??? Air plants are one of the greater purifiers in the home because they derive all their nutrients from the air and thus, make great purifiers!

Raffaele

Thursday 23rd of January 2020

I only included whatever was published in the study, but all plants will purify the air to some extent! :-)