Three essential houseplants for clean indoor air. [Kamal Meattle on TED video, via GreenUpgrader ]

Via Waylon Lewis
on Mar 30, 2009
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kamal meattle TED

Bonus: more. Top 30 Plants to Detox Your Home.

Buy 3 plants this weekend, get cleaned air in your home or office all year long.

Love is all you need?

If you live in New Delhi—or any polluted city—love is not enough. But these three houseplants are…all you need for a clean, fresh air that provides a measurably healthier environment for your body, and its brain.


Three-minute Video detailing how many plants, how high, per person, with cleaning instructions. Via TED.

With thanks for the tip to GreenUpgrader, one of my favorite green sites:

Seventeen years ago Kamal Meattle found out that the air in his home city of Dehli was killing him.  He had grown allergic to the pollutants in the air and his lung capacity started declined to 70%.  He began researching and found that these three plants can provide a human with all the fresh air they need indoors to be healthy.  The three plants are the Areca Palm, the Mother-in-law’s Tongue , and the Money Plant….

  • The Areca Palm (or Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) is does great air cleansing work during the day.  About 4 shoulder height plants per person should do the trick.
  • The Mother-in-law’s Tongue (or Sansevieria trifasciata) takes over by converting CO2 to O2 at night.  You want about 6 to 8 of these waist high plants per person.
  • The Money Plant (or Epipremnum aureum) does the job of filtering out removing Formaldehyde and other VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds).

…According to Meattle if you have sufficient quantities of these plants you could live in an air tight bubble and as long as the plants are living you’d have enough fresh air to live.  Now this isn’t just some half-baked theory he had one morning over coffee, he has been testing this theory out for the last 15 years at the at Paharpur Business Centre, a 20 year old, 50,000 sq ft building by filling it with over 1,200 plants for 300 building occupants.

The Indian Government has rated the building the healthiest buidling in Delhi, and studies have shown that after spending 10 hours in the building your body will be working better than before.

Aside from being a natural and beatiful source of fresh air, this method also helps reduce energy consumption, because you don’t need to filter or bring fresh air in.

Now Meattle, has big plans. …


Bonus: NASA spent time working out the best plants to clean the air in space stations


Bonus: plants air home eco


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


14 Responses to “Three essential houseplants for clean indoor air. [Kamal Meattle on TED video, via GreenUpgrader ]”

  1. Allya Francesca Canepa at 6:12am March 26
    Have you ever been to Delhi? The first hit of "air" when exiting the Indira Gandhi Airport is enough to give you a soul-threatening fever and life-time recurring susceptibility to infection. Maybe there's an organic green snuff for the snoz, or an aerosol-free green spray to use on a nicely pressed bandana upon stepping out. 17.3 million folks doing time in Delhi – that's half of all of Canada. A minimum of 50 million pollution eating plants needed.

    Waylon Hart Lewis at 9:34am March 26
    and/or, we could stop polluting so much! The $2500 Nano doesn't help!

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  3. Julz says:

    Do you know of a supplier for these plants? Please advise.

  4. GreenMystic says:

    A pilot study, nonetheless, but this needs more research.

  5. […] want plants in my bedroom (especially in the winter, when indoor pollution spikes). She doesn’t, because: Very good shui feng question, thank you for asking. […]

  6. Karyn says:

    Where does one purchase these plants?

  7. […] Bring a plant into the room to clean the air. Research shows that plants are effective at counteracting off gassing chemicals and balancing internal humidity! (The most effective include: Florist Mum, Dracaena, Gerbera Daisy, Areca palm, Boston fern, Australian sword fern, Rubber plant, D…). […]

  8. Vox says:


  9. G.C.Aloha says:

    According to a NASA study, there are plants that are excellent for cleaning the air of toxic pollutants like benzenes (from computers) and formaldehyde (in carpets and furniture). Dracaena (several types), philodendron, chrysanthemum, English ivy, bamboo palm, gerbera daisy, pothos and spider plants are all excellent air cleaners.

  10. Noa says:

    The Areca Palm, what type of manure do you need to grow them in? I didnt catch what he said…Thanks

  11. […] being watered and they last for many days detached from their roots. As such, they’re the perfect plants for wreaths, garlands, bouquets and wedding […]

  12. yogajanet says:

    There are loads more. Spider plants, spathyphyllum, dracena, etc. I used to be an interior plant care professional(plant lady)

  13. Did you know that NASA recommends plants for cleaning the air? Read my blog post here:

  14. Ana says:

    Great article – thanks.