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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 How to Grow Fresh Air by Dr. B. C. Wolverton.
I’ve read the book cover to cover and is fascinating! If you’d like to get your own copy, you can click below:
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.
|Areca Palm||Chrysalidocarpus |
|Bamboo Palm||Chamaedorea |
|Boston Fern||Nephrolepsis |
|Lady Palm||Rhapis |
|Ficus Alii||Ficus |
|Peace Lily||Spathiphyllum |
|Florist’s Mum||Chrysanthemum |
|Gerbera Daisy||Gerbera |
|Dwarf Banana||Musa |
|Rubber Plant||Ficus |
|English Ivy||Hedera |
|Corn Plant||Dracaena |
|Golden Pothos||Epipremnum |
|Dragon Tree||Dracaena |
|Dumb Cane||Dieffenbachia |
|Parlor Palm||Chamaedorea |
|Wax Begonia||Begonia |
|Dumb Cane||Dieffenbachia |
|King of Hearts||Homalomena |
|Prayer Plant||Maranta |
|Weeping Fig||Ficus |
|Red Emerald Philodendron||Philodendron |
|Elephant Ear Philodendron||Philodendron |
|Oakleaf Ivy||Cissus |
|Lily Turf||Liriope |
|Spider Plant||Chlorophytum |
|Dwarf Azalea||Rhododendron |
|Moth Orchid||Phalaenopsis |
|Snake Plant||Sansevieria |
|Aloe Vera||Aloe |
|Urn Plant||Aechmea |
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.
For more information on increasing humidity in your home, check out my post below. I also talk about my absolute favorite humidifier that I use in my own home.