Plant Information Fact Sheet No. 7
CLEAN AIR WITH AN INDOOR VICTORY GARDEN* Revised 11/1/01

Popular during the two world wars, Victory Gardens were home vegetable gardens designed to increase food production as one of many contributions of the home front to the war effort.

Today’s Version: The new indoor Victory Garden can be an assortment of common houseplants that are able to clean the air and increase oxygen supply, thereby making the air healthier for every indoor living space.

How It Works: Studies conducted by NASA have shown that certain common houseplants have the ability to clean the air in their vicinity. Small openings in the leaves of plants take in air; plant cells absorb carbon dioxide and other substances from the air. Carbon dioxide is used by plants to make food and pure oxygen and water vapor are released back into the air as a by-product of this process. Other substances including pollutants can be translocated to the roots, where the plants may use them, metabolize them or release them into the soil. The ability of plants to move air around, to take in air and release oxygen, is important in the process of pollutant removal.

How It Helps: Growing an indoor garden is morale-boosting and aesthetically pleasing in this time of distress, and growing an indoor garden is a way of providing cleaner air.

How You Can Help: If everybody has just one plant, the cumulative effect of millions of plants will enhance our mental and physical well-being.

The following is a list of easy to grow houseplants that have been shown to improve indoor air quality.

Houseplants for Eastern Light Exposure (Direct Morning Sun):
 
Common Name
Scientific Name
Areca Palm Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
Australian Umbrella Tree Schefflera actinophylla
Boston Fern Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’
Parlor Palm Chamaedorea elegans
Corn Plant Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’
Dendrobium Orchid Dendrobium hybrids
Dracaena ‘Marginata’ Dracaena marginata
Dracaena ‘Warneckei’ Dracaena fragrans (Deremensis Group) ‘Warneckei’
Dumb Cane Dieffenbachia maculata
Grape Ivy Cissus rhombifolia
Pothos Epipremnum aureum
Rubber Plant Ficus elastica
Snake Plant Sansevieria trifasciata
Spider Plant Chlorophytum comosum

 
 
 

Houseplants for Northern Light Exposure (Bright Light- No Direct Sun):
 
Common Name
Scientific Name
Boston Fern Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’
Cast Iron Plant Aspidistra elatior
Chinese Evergreen Aglaonema commutatum
English Ivy Hedera helix
Heart Leaf Philodendron Philodendron scandens
Peace Lily Spathiphyllum wallisii ‘Clevelandii’
Pothos Epipremnum aureum
Snake Plant Sansevieria trifasciata
Syngonium Syngonium podophyllum

Houseplants for Southern Light Exposure (Direct Afternoon Sun):
 
Common Name
Scientific Name
Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum 
Croton Codiaeum variegatum ‘Pictum’
Weeping Fig Ficus benjamina
Veitch Screw Pine Pandanus veitchii

Houseplants for Western Light Exposure (Direct Late Afternoon Sun):
 
Common Name
Scientific Name
Australian Umbrella Tree Schefflera actinophylla
Areca Palm Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
Corn Plant Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’
Dracaena ‘Marginata’ Dracaena marginata
Dracaena ‘Warneckei’ Dracaena fragrans (Deremensis Group) ‘Warneckei’
Dumb Cane Dieffenbachia maculata
Grape Ivy Cissus rhombifolia
Parlor Palm Chamaedorea elegans
Rubber Plant Ficus elastica
Spider Plant Chlorophytum comosum

*Please note: If you are allergic to mold and pollen, it is best to check with your doctor before cultivating your indoor Victory Garden.

For more information and assistance visit us on the Web at http://www.nybg.org/plants/, or send e-mail questions to: pltinfo@nybg.org. You may also call NYBG Plant Information Telephone Service at 718-817-8681, 9:30am-12:30pm, Monday through Friday.