Plants are widely known to be one of the main producers of oxygen. Areas that are heavily surrounded by different kinds of greenery and vegetation are known to have healthier, fresher air.
Plants, animals, and humans definitely live in a symbiotic relationship with plants, which is why they’re so important. If we don’t take proper action, keep taking natural (not to mention free) oxygen sources for granted, and man-made structures keep popping up in their places, we will eventually live in codependency with artificial oxygen sources.
The oxygen that comes from plants balance out the ratios of chemicals in the air, like carbon dioxide and nitrogen. This is why green living is highly encouraged by the widespread effects of global warming and overall climate change.
So how exactly do plants even make oxygen in the first place?
Oxygen is actually a by-product of the photosynthesis that plants go through to make their own food. Imagine, they’re working for themselves, while also producing oxygen that is essential to us! They do so much of the heavy-lifting in mother nature.
Photosynthesis is typically a complicated process that is crucial for overall plant growth. But it’s also a pretty cool one.
It starts with the roots of a plant, of course. Roots are the ones that absorb both moisture and nutrients from the ground. Moisture is crucial in transporting all vital nutrients to the different parts of the plant. The plant, in turn, uses this water to help break down carbon dioxide molecules to use for producing glucose, which is a plant’s stored energy.
Of course, the plants will need light as a source of energy. Naturally, they use the sun’s natural light for this, but with recent developments and the possibility of indoor gardening, artificial growing light can also mimic the sun’s work.
Stomata are microscopic pores on a plant’s surface or tissue which is where carbon dioxide molecules enter the plant. Carbon dioxide comes from both animals and man, but it can also come from decaying mass.
Water is again needed to break down the molecules of carbon dioxide, which results in a chemical reaction and then reassembles whatever is left of those molecules into glucose. The rest of the carbon dioxide molecules mixed with water also produces oxygen, which is then expelled into the atmosphere, for us beings to consume and enjoy!
This is why houseplants and indoor gardens are apparently good for air purifying and overall air circulation in a home. The environment of the plant also has much to do with how much oxygen a plant can produce within a certain time frame, as well as if the plant grows really slowly.
Although the average oxygen a plant can produce is pretty difficult to calculate, an adult typically consumes 550 liters of oxygen per day, which might be too much for plants to account for, but they still give so many benefits.
Many of those who may turn to plants as an alternative source of oxygen are those who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or those who take care of those who suffer from it.
Despite there being many technological advances and options like oxygenators and air purifiers, plants can still be a great, natural alternative that helps with the body and mind.
Here are 10 examples of plants that produce the most oxygen:
1. Areca Palm (Dypsis or Chrystalidocarpus lutescens)
These are known as the golden palm, butterfly palm, and yellow palm. Native to tropical forests, they are typically found in parts of India and the Philippines.
A mature, full-grown areca palm can grow as tall as 7 feet, and add 6 to 10 inches of growth per year but can be grown in tight pots or containers to manage its height. It is one of the few genus of palms that can tolerate trimming, and can survive for up to 10 years, but will need to be repotted every couple of years.
They can be placed indoors and usually require moderately moist soil during the dry season, and moderately dry soil during the colder months. It does well in filtered lights, so keep it away from direct exposure to the sun if possible. Leaves of the palm tend to turn yellow-green in direct sunlight. They may also need fertilizer and amounts of water quite often.
These beautiful areca palms are tropical trees that are great for oxygen production, and keeping two large plants within a fairly near placement to each other can definitely increase the oxygen levels in your home.
Not only do they produce high-oxygen levels, but they also purify the air of harmful pollutants like formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, and toluene. This can really help a multitude of sinus problems, helps to improve breathing patterns (which may help those who have trouble sleeping at night), and overall strengthens the nervous system of those who have this around.
2. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata zeylanica)
Sometimes known as “mother-in-law’s tongue”, this plant is considered highly efficient in oxygen production and is native to Africa and Brazil.
It has been one of the most loved indoor plants even before its oxygen-producing properties, finding its way into both households and offices. It is considered succulent and is pretty low-maintenance and easy to take care of.
They are typically dark green or yellow in appearance with different beautiful patterns and can grow between 1 and 3 feet. There is a vast range of snake plant species to choose from and are considered a kind of succulent.
Since they are a kind of succulent, too much watering may be bad for them and can cause root-rotting from soggy, overly moist soil. Put them in pots with proper drainage holes like terra cotta pots, as opposed to plastic pots. It is also recommended that they are bottom-watered.
Snake plants do like indirect sunlight, but can tolerate some amount of direct sunlight. They are also known to survive in low-light areas of the home.
Keep in mind that these plants grow quite fast, which may require dividing and repotting. They may also produce flowers occasionally.
A clean air study facilitated by NASA recognizes this plant to also purify the air by absorbing formaldehyde, nitrogen oxide, xylene, benzene, and trichloroethylene.
What is unique to this plant is that while most plants photosynthesize during the day time and respirate during the night time, which means they absorb oxygen at night time and ideally should not be kept in the bedroom.
Snake plants continue to produce oxygen throughout the night time because it does not rely on the entire photosynthesis cycle to produce it.
This makes for a better sleep experience because of how much it improves breathing, reduces eye irritation and allergies, and overall encourages deeper slumber, making it a great plant for the bedroom.
3. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Considered another easily adaptable plant, these spider plants also make common appearances inside the home.
The plant is named so because of the shape of its leaves and the way that they grow is similar to that of a spider’s. They usually start out as small white flowers and have varieties of green but can sometimes be susceptible to brown tips.
Well-drained soil and the bright but indirect sun will definitely help this plant grow very well. They are also susceptible to root rot, so make sure that their soil dries out before the next watering schedule.
The fluoride often found in water may also cause a buildup of salt in the soil, which causes the tips of this plant to turn brown. This is also why proper draining will be needed.
They thrive in cooler temperatures, somewhere around 55 to 65°F.
4. Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
Also known as a ficus tree, is actually a small but elegant plant with full, dense, glossy leaves.
Quite common in interior landscaping, it is highly adaptable to limited-light conditions.
Grown indoors, weeping fig plants are pruned and grow anywhere between 3 to 6 feet tall, but when they are grown outdoors they can reach up to 60 feet in height.
Potting these plants can be fairly easy because they are quite low-maintenance, but they do require regular watering during their growing period. They can be given less water during fall to winter.
Any fast-draining potting soil will help ficus trees, and make sure not to leave them undrained as this can result in root rot.
Research made in Busan Korea at the Pukyong National University states that the weeping fig was able to bump up oxygen levels.
It is also known to filter out harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.
5. Gerbera Daisy (Gerebra Jamesonii or viridfolia)
Apart from its stunning appearance, this colorful plant offers much more than just meets the eye.
Native to South Africa, this plant comes in a multitude of different sizes and colors. Orange, pink, yellow, and white are some of its most common hues. They can go from 8 to 24 inches tall, and the flowers grow somewhere between 2 to 5 inches across. They have single, double, or multiple-petalled flowers.
You can grow gerbera daisies in 3 different ways: seedlings, seeds, or division. Growing from seedlings or divided plants makes for an easier experience.
This plant loves bright sunlight during the summer and spring, but indirect sunlight during the winter, as this plant can miraculously bloom through the winter. It is best to place them in areas that have much light streaming in and in sand-textured soil that is kept moist.
The crown of this plant should be visible above the soil. Plant them too deeply and leave them susceptible to crown rot.
They are also prone to other fungal diseases, which is why the correct planting and watering schedule is crucial to this plant. With proper care, this beautiful plant can survive for up to two years!
Per NASA’s clean air study, the gerbera daisy also removes pollutants from the air such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. They also release oxygen at night, just like the snake plant.
6. Peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)
This striking white plant is another pretty plant that is both pleasing to the eye and functional.
This is also another low-maintenance and adaptable houseplant. Its flower features a spathe, which is a white, hoodlike appearance. They require moist soil and humidity.
It is native to tropical rainforests in America, and the white flower really makes for a graceful appearance.
NASA also regards it as one of the most effective air-purifying plants, as it also releases oxygen during the night time, as well as increases humidity by 5% and in turn makes for a good night’s sleep.
However, be careful because these plants are highly poisonous to cats.
7. Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis miller)
A hall-of-famer for having a ton of different benefits, the aloe vera plant does it again.
While widely known for its medicinal properties, the aloe vera plant also does its fair share in producing oxygen. It is sometimes referred to as the “wonder plant”.
It is FDA-approved for flavoring, used in cosmetics, and many different skin-care products can be used as food supplements and is widely used for herbal remedies.
This short-stemmed shrub has over 400 species of different succulent plants, and are native to North Africa. This plant also thrives in sunny environments, but can be susceptible to sunburn, and needs minimal watering.
They are part of the cacti genus, which means they adapt to dry soil better.
It is best known for clearing the air of toxins like aldehydes and benzene, and it produces oxygen at night which also makes it a great plant for bedrooms.
8. Orchids (Orchidaceae)
These usually white, pink, or purple-hued flowers are pretty as they are functional. They symbolize elegance, love, and even fertility.
Orchids require lots of drainages to make sure that the moisture in the soil drains completely. Moss or bark-based soil is suggested so that it also drains quickly.
They require a lot of light and should be strategically placed near a south or east-facing window. They love the light but not direct exposure to it.
Climate affects how much or how little an orchid should be watered. Usually, orchids need to be watered every couple of days, but overwatering may cause their roots to rot. Drier climates or air-conditioned homes may also require misting on a daily basis using a spray bottle.
9. Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
Also known as Holy Basil and spiritual foliage, this plant is native to India and other parts of Southeast Asia.
Since it is a tropical-grown plant, it will require warmer temperatures of at least 70°F. Soil should be significantly moist and ensure a 4 to 6-hour window-frame of sunlight daily.
It is also regarded as the queen of herbs and is used for several important things such as the treatment for asthma, colds, sore throat, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, as well as stress relaxants and controlling inflammation.
It is known for giving out oxygen 20 hours per day, apart from absorbing harmful toxins like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.
10. Pothos plant (Epipremnun aureum)
Another easy-to-care-for plant, the pothos plant is regarded as a great plant to start out with.
They grow well in bright, indirect light, as well as low-light areas. They also can adapt to both dry soil types and vases full of water. Nutrient-rich or poor soil, you bet your pothos will still flourish!
It is beautiful and lively. Likely to improve air quality by also absorbing formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide. It also releases oxygen at night.