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Which House Plants Produce the Most Oxygen?

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017
The Ficus produces oxygen
Ficus Benjamini image by Westa Zikas from Fotolia.com

One of the advantages of growing houseplants is that they emit oxygen as their waste product. Humans need oxygen to live, so having a higher concentration of this substance in our homes and offices enables our minds and bodies to function at peak efficiency.

Indoor plants also consume carbon dioxide, which humans exhale, helping to clean the air and in turn creating a compatible environment for both plants and humans.

Areca Palm

The Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens), also known as the butterfly palm, the yellow palm, golden cane palm and Madagascar palm removes air toxins and introduces more oxygen into indoor environments than most other plants. It’s easy to grow indoors in large containers because it will remain a compact size.


The heartleaf philodendron and the elephant ear philodendron have proven to be good plants for helping to treat indoor air pollution. NASA studied 19 different houseplants to determine which were most effective in removing pollutants such as benzene and formaldehyde from indoor air. These two philodendrons were at the top of their list.


NASA found that four species of Dracaena are efficient plants for introducing oxygen to the air of indoor spaces and for clearing up air pollution that occurs there. The Dracaena fragrans, or cornstalk Dracaena; two cultivars of Dracaena deremensis (“Janet Craig” and Warneck); and the Dracaena marginata, or red-edged Dracaena, found their way onto the NASA plant list.

Ficus benjamina

The Ficus benjamina, or “weeping fig,” is a popular houseplant. It is another plant that NASA studied for its ability to introduce oxygen into indoor spaces, and it ranks number eight on their list of 15 plants.

Peace Lily

The Peace lily is a member of the Spathiphyllum genus. It serves as an excellent flowering houseplant, with its attractive white flowers that resemble the red anthurium. NASA ranked it as number 10 on their top 15 plant list for improving indoor air quality. Peace lilies are often found growing in shopping malls and airports and are appropriate for homes and offices because they are attractive, easy to grow and add oxygen.


About the Author


Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.