Did you know the plants in your home do more than just beautify your space indoors? They’re nature’s air purifiers, each uniquely skilled at filtering the air.

Explore the world of the most effective CO2 absorbing houseplants and see how they can transform your home into a fresher, healthier environment.

Which Houseplants Absorb The Most CO2

In the quest to find which houseplants are the most adept at absorbing CO2, the evidence points to a few standout performers.

💡 For this article (and to find the best plants that absorb carbon dioxide), we’ve relied on expert and scientific data from the study Effectiveness of Indoor Plant to Reduce CO2 in Indoor Environment by the Faculty of Engineering Technology, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, and other associated faculties (Faculty of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, UTHM; Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UTHM), ensuring our insights are backed by thorough research.

#1 Prayer Plant


At the forefront, in terms of plants that absorb the most carbon, is the Prayer Plant, a true champion in CO2 reduction, enhancing indoor air quality.

Under 300 lux light, it starts strong with a 7.00% reduction, but it’s under 700 lux where it truly shines, reaching an impressive 14.40% reduction.

This remarkable ability translates to a total CO2 reduction of 154.63 ppm, making it a frontrunner in air purification.

#2 Kadaka Fern (Bird’s nest Fern)


Not far behind is the Kadaka Fern, with a notable performance at both light levels.

At 700 lux, it achieves a 12.48% CO2 reduction, translating to a substantial 123.30 ppm reduction in total CO2.

#3 Syngonium


Similarly, the Syngonium showcases its prowess, particularly at 700 lux with a 10.8% reduction, amounting to a significant 104.00 ppm in CO2 reduction.

#4 Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)


The Dumb Cane stands out with its ability to absorb CO2, showing an 11.10% reduction at 700 lux. This highlights its effectiveness in brighter settings.

#5 Golden Pothos


Similarly, the Golden Pothos also showcases its air-purifying capabilities under increased light, achieving a 10.3% reduction in CO2 at 700 lux.

#6 Anthurium


Even the Anthurium, though starting modestly at 300 lux, ramps up its CO2 reduction capacity at 700 lux, achieving a 10.80% reduction.

Rate of CO2 Reduction by Plants (Based on Different Lightning)

The ability of houseplants to purify air by reducing CO2 through photosynthesis is greatly influenced by lighting conditions.

At a gentle 300 lux, typical of indoor environments, plants begin their air-purifying role at a steady pace.

However, under brighter light at 700 lux, their CO2 absorption rates increase significantly. This highlights the dynamic nature of plants in response to light.

The Prayer Plant, Kadaka Fern, and Dumb Cane, for example, show a notable boost in their air-cleansing capabilities with increased light.

The table below illustrates the varied CO2 absorption rates and total reductions of several houseplants under different light intensities, highlighting their effectiveness in indoor air purification.

Plant Light Intensity CO2 Reduction (%) Total CO2 Reduction (ppm)
Prayer Plant 300 lux 7.00 71.67
700 lux 14.40 154.63
Kadaka Fern 300 lux 6.50 64.60
700 lux 12.48 123.30
Syngonium 300 lux 6.72 64.67
700 lux 10.8 104.00
Dumb Cane 300 lux 5.50 55.40
700 lux 11.10 111.33
Golden Pothos 300 lux 6.10 60.67
700 lux 10.3 101.33
Anthurium 300 lux 2.20 18.30
700 lux 10.80 101.00
Spider Plant 300 lux *0.20 *0.67
700 lux 0.10 1.2
*Percentage of CO2 increased

Impact of Light Intensity on CO2 Absorption

It becomes evident that the rate at which plants also absorb CO2 is greatly enhanced under higher light levels, particularly at 700 lux compared to 300 lux.

This observation underscores the importance of proper lighting in optimizing the CO2 absorption efficiency of houseplants.

Top Performers at High Light Intensity

In the realm of high light intensity, a few plants distinguish themselves with exceptional CO2 reduction capabilities.

Leading the pack at 700 lux is the Prayer Plant with an impressive 14.40% reduction, closely followed by the Kadaka Fern at 12.48% and the Dumb Cane at 11.10%. These plants are especially potent in environments that are rich in light.

Overall Effectiveness

Focusing on the overall CO2 reduction, measured in parts per million (ppm), the Prayer Plant takes the lead at 700 lux, achieving a remarkable reduction of 154.63 ppm.

It’s followed by the Kadaka Fern with 123.30 ppm and the Dumb Cane with 111.33 ppm. These figures place them at the forefront of CO2 absorption efficiency.

Anomalies and Special Considerations

A unique case is presented by the Spider Plant, which shows a minimal or even reversed CO2 reduction at 300 lux, indicating a potential increase in CO2 in these specific conditions.

This serves as a reminder of the need to consider the unique environmental needs and responses of each plant type.

Houseplants: Natural Air Fresheners and CO2 Absorbers

Houseplants are not only natural air fresheners but also efficient at absorbing CO2.

They brighten up a room and play a crucial role in cleaning the air we breathe.

💡 According to the NASA Clean Air Study, plants like the Dumb Cane and Flamingo lily (Anthurium) are exceptional in filtering out harmful chemicals and reducing carbon dioxide levels.

The Dumb cane, while not effective against benzene or trichloroethylene, excels in removing formaldehyde, eliminating 754 micrograms an hour from the air. It’s also highly effective in transforming CO2 into oxygen, contributing to the overall air quality.

The Flamingo lily (Anthurium) is versatile, tackling formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, and ammonia, though it doesn’t address benzene and trichloroethylene.

These plants demonstrate that to improve the air in our homes and indoor spaces, we don’t always need fancy gadgets; sometimes, the best solutions are green and leafy, purifying the air and maintaining a healthy balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide, especially during the night.

Orchids: Nighttime CO2 Absorption

Phalaenopsis orchids, a dominant commercial pot plant, show a remarkable ability to absorb CO2 at night, with their optimal CO2 uptake observed around 20°C.

This nocturnal absorption process, a key part of their crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM), increases in response to rising CO2 levels.

Interestingly, the highest rate of CO2 absorption occurs the day before watering, highlighting the intricate balance between water, temperature, and CO2 absorption in these orchids.

This phenomenon of absorbing carbon dioxide at night, while releasing oxygen, underscores the unique adaptations of Phalaenopsis orchids to their environment.

FAQ – Which Houseplants Absorb The Most CO2

1. Which houseplant is most effective at absorbing CO2 at high light intensities?

The Prayer Plant is the most effective, absorbing 14.40% of CO2 at 700 lux, significantly reducing air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions in your home.

2. Do houseplants contribute to reducing CO2 emissions even at night?

While most plants, including the Prayer Plant and Kadaka Fern, primarily absorb carbon dioxide during the day through photosynthesis, certain plants can remove CO2 from the air at night too, contributing to lower CO2 levels.

3. How does light intensity affect a plant’s ability to purify air?

Higher light intensity, like 700 lux, greatly enhances a plant’s ability to absorb harmful CO2 from the air, with plants like Dumb Cane showing a notable increase in CO2 absorption.

4. Can houseplants impact the concentration of CO2 in indoor environments?

Yes, houseplants significantly impact indoor CO2 levels, with top performers like the Prayer Plant and Kadaka Fern able to absorb much carbon dioxide, thereby improving air quality.

5. Are all plants equally effective in taking in carbon dioxide from the air?

No, not all plants are equally effective in absorbing CO2; for example, the Spider Plant shows an increase in CO2 levels at 300 lux, emphasizing the need to select specific plants for optimal CO2 absorption and air purification.

6. Do indoor plants help in reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in air during the day?

Yes, indoor plants like the Prayer Plant and Kadaka Fern are effective during the day at reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in air through photosynthesis.

Houseplants also remove toxins from the air through a process called phytoremediation, where they absorb pollutants and convert them into harmless byproducts.

7. Can houseplants produce oxygen while absorbing CO2?

Houseplants not only absorb CO2 but also produce oxygen, contributing to a healthier indoor environment by improving the air quality in your home.

Houseplants also help in reducing indoor air pollution by absorbing pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon dioxide, and releasing oxygen.

George Brown

George Brown

I’m George Brown, a keen gardener, passionate about helping beginners grow fresh herbs and plants. My guidance focuses on the essentials of plant growth and the pleasure of cultivating greenery. In my blog posts, I share practical tips on how anyone can transform their space into a thriving area for plants and herbs.

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