The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) published in 1989 its results experimenting with common indoor plants to remove indoor air pollutants.

Their findings may not have been reported thoroughly.

Positive results with indoor plants required the association of activated carbon filters containing fans.

The plant root-soil zone appears to be the most effective area for removing volatile organic chemicals. Therefore, maximizing air exposure to the plant root-soil area should be considered when placing plants in buildings for best air filtration.

Adding a few indoor plants to a room will likely not have much impact on indoor air quality. There are many other benefits they provide, however.

One of the great impacts of houseplants is that they generate happiness.

Keeping flowers and plants throughout the home and the workplace vastly increases happiness and lowers the likelihood of depression. Research on the effects of plants on people has shown, in essence, that plants are essential for people to be at their best.

Join Riley County, K-State Research and Extension Master Gardeners for a program on growing indoor plants. They will be at Blueville Nursery at 10 a.m. Jan. 18.

For plants to be at their best, they need light, water and proper temperatures. Finding good light is challenging during the winter. Proper plant selection is the easiest method to meet the plant’s needs. The use of additional light is another option.

The most common health issue for indoor and perhaps outdoor plants is over-watering. Stick your finger in the media contained in the pot to determine when to water. Apply enough water to moisten the media and discard what drains away. As a general guide, add water after the top inch of media has dried.

Indoor plants are in a resting stage right now. Don’t try to make them grow by fertilizing or pruning until spring. These plants, like us, are anxiously waiting for the growing season.

You can find out more information on this and other horticulture topics by going to the K-State Research and Extension website at

You contact Gregg Eyestone at the Riley County office of K-State Research and Extension.

Gregg may be contacted by calling 537-6350 or stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mail:

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