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NASA-approved Houseplants for Fresher Air: Part 2

Posted by Johnine Larsen on April 18, 2017
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Part Two of our Houseplants for Fresher Air guide, based on NASA’s studies and recommendations. The best houseplants, in my book, meet three criteria: (1) they add vitality, color, and beauty to your home; (2) they improve air quality; and (3) they’re hard to kill. This guide takes all three criteria into account, focusing primarily on the most often overlooked criteria: air quality. Read Part 1 here.


Air Quality Villains

First off, what everyday chemicals pollute the air in our homes? The five main villains are:

Effects: mild respiratory tract irritant, can produce contact dermatitis, reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen, neurological abnormalities
Found in: paint, lacquer, varnish, printer ink, adhesives, paint remover

Effects: irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; asthma
Found in: paper bags, waxed paper, napkins, paper towels, plywood, particle board, synthetic fabric

Effects: disrupted blood production, leukemia, harmful to reproductive organs
Found in: detergent, glue, furniture wax, plastics, resins, dye, automobile exhaust

Effects: harmful to nervous system
Found in: automobile exhaust, tobacco smoke, paint, varnish, pesticides

Effects: irritation of skin, eyes, mouth, and lungs; coughing and sore throat
Found in: window cleaner, floor wax, fertilizer


Air Quality Heroes

Boston Fern

Filters: Formaldehyde, Xylene

Needs: High humidity, indirect light, moist soil

To provide a Boston fern with the necessary humidity, set the fern’s pot on a tray of pebbles filled with water, or mist the fern once or twice a week. A Boston fern’s leaves will turn yellow if the humidity is not high enough. Read more


Kimberley Queen Fern

Filters: Formaldehyde, Xylene

Needs: temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees Farhenheit

More compact, tidier, and easier to care for than other house ferns. Its fronds don’t leave a mess. When the fern needs water, the fronds turn pale green; when the fern has too much water, the center fronds turn brown and crispy; when the fern receives hard water, the fronds will develop white marks. Read more


Chinese Evergreen

Filters: Formaldehyde, Benzene

Needs: indirect sunlight

One of the most durable houseplants you can buy. Older Chinese Evergreens can produce flowers like calla or peace lilies. Read more


Devil’s Ivy

Filters: Formaldehyde, Benzene, Xylene

Needs: indirect sunlight

When Devil’s Ivy doesn’t getting enough light, its leaves lose their yellow variegation. You can use support hooks to make the vines to climb around a window, or you can simply let the vines dangle. Read more


*Flamingo Lily*

Filters: Formaldehyde, Xylene, Ammonia

Needs: low light, high humidity

Flamingo flowers bloom nearly year round, and one plant produces as many as six flowers in one year (colored red, pink, or white). Each flower lasts around six weeks. Read more

Gals recommend!


Barberton Daisy

Filters: Trichloroethylene, Formaldehyde, Xylene

Needs: direct sunlight

Flowers may be red, pink, yellow, or white. When grown indoors, they can flower at any time in the year, and each flower lasts about four to six weeks. Read more


*Dracaenan Corn Plant*

Filters: Trichloroethylene, Formaldehyde, Benzene

Needs: indirect sunlight

A large plant that can grow up to six feet tall, well suited for large living rooms or hallways. The Dracaenan Corn Plant is unlikely to bloom indoors. Tolerant of low light and underwatering. Read more

Gals recommend!


*Varigated Snake Plant*

Filters: Trichloroethylene, Formaldehyde, Benzene, Xylene

Needs: indirect light

A very tolerant plant, capable of surviving weeks of neglect without looking any worse for the wear. Read more

Gals recommend!


Florist’s Chrysanthemum

Filters: Trichloroethylene, Formaldehyde, Benzene, Xylene, Ammonia

Needs: a cool, bright location

Flowers last for six to eight weeks, but when they cease, the plants are difficult to coax into reblooming. Most people treat Florist’s Chrysanthemum as an a short-term visitor. Read more




Note: If you have pets than you should be aware that most indoor plants aren’t safe for pet consumption. If you plan on growing plants in or outside of your home you should be aware of their toxicity. You can consult with your vet and see how it may affect your dog, cat, or any other animal that may consume it.

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    Virginia Bunker
    14:08 14 Feb 20
    Johnine Larsen and her team are absolutely fabulous. I've bought and sold many properties over the years, and Real Estate Gals surpassed all of my previous experiences with agents. Johnine designed the perfect selling strategy. She then handled every detail leading up to the day we listed, including cleaning, yard work, repairs, staging and more! Johnine has a heart of gold, and I can't say enough great things about my experience. Thank you!
    linda wright
    linda wright
    00:45 04 Dec 19
    I have bought and sold many homes in my forty plus years of being a Seattleite and I couldn't be more pleased with the way Johnine Larsen and her team handled the sale of my previous home. I moved into my new place and they took it from there. Contacted the right people to do the minor repairs at a reasonable cost, staged the home, and had professional photos done within a few weeks. The sale went smoothly as well. I am so thankful that I found her.
    Paddy Lazar
    Paddy Lazar
    23:42 03 Dec 19
    I was lucky enough to work with Johnine and her very competent team to sell my home. I have to tell you how easy the entire process was. On her wise suggestion I had my home inspected, as there actually were a number of maintenance items that came up in that inspection and she even arranged to have all of the repairs completed in a very short time. The only thing I had to do was to let the repair folks in. Then, to my surprise, Johnine , had all the windows and the whole house cleaned before listing it. She then had the house beautifully staged and had the yard cleaned up with even a little landscaping thrown in. The house sold within the week for OVER full price! Everyone I dealt with was always kind, helpful and professional, their communication was exemplary all through the process. I’ve decided to rent for a while but you can be assured that it will be Johnine and her team that I will go back to when ready to purchase a new house. I have sung her praises to all that I know.
    soumak ghosh
    soumak ghosh
    00:00 14 Nov 19
    They were representing the seller and I was the buyer. Very limited communication from the agents. Waited days for a response for any email/text. Would eventually get a response after multiple follow ups. Almost cost us the deal. [Update] I have seen all the text/conversations of my agent with your agency. Regarding the oil tank decommissioning, according to the contract, the tank was to be decommissioned 5 days before closing. When asked about so 5 days before closing ( which I have seen the text/email conversations of), you gave my agent very little to no information about it and even said it was on schedule. It was only after my agent called the oil decommissioning company that we got know that it was not even scheduled to decommission it 2 day before closing. Any buyer who was not as intent on buying the property could have walked away due to breach of contract. We got the final documentation 2 hours before the end of closing. It was only after I wrote the review that your agents became responsive. P.S. If you find my review unjust I’m sure it would be overshadowed by stellar reviews from future customers.
    Sarah Donaldson
    Sarah Donaldson
    18:44 18 Jul 19
    Darcie was such a joy to work with. She felt like family during the sale of our house and the search for our new home. We may have found our forever home, but if we ever need a Realtor in future, Darcie from Real Estate Gals will be our first call.
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    16:55 02 Jun 19
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    18:03 25 May 19
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    19:13 24 May 19
    Real Estate Gals made sure we found our perfect house! Then, when we were up against other bidders, Johnine worked tirelessly to ensure we were tops! Her extensive real estate experience combined with exceptional character and integrity provided peace of mind throughout the process. She also made sure we received the right value as a seller and got the transaction done quickly and efficiently. Simply stated: there is nobody better to help you find your dream home.
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    22:21 19 May 19
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    Beth Guerra
    01:14 18 May 19
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    Aidan Key
    Aidan Key
    15:44 17 May 19
    Johnine and the Real Estate Gals brilliantly took us through the home buying process two different times. Their willingness to educate (I was new), hear our home hopes, and support us through the process are a few of the reasons that I highly recommend this team. Speaking of a team, I love their collaborative business model - it meant that we--the home buyers--always had a returned phone call and an ability to look at a house on OUR schedule. Truly felt like they place the customer first!
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