Are Succulents Good for Air?

We have known for hundreds of years now how good plants are for cleaning the air. Remember classes in elementary school?

We would learn about how plants give off Oxygen and absorb Carbon Dioxide. This is how they clean the air.

So are succulents part of the same package, or do they do something different?

Succulents, like all other plants, also work with the same mechanism. Which is why they are great natural purifiers.

So not only are succulents excellent additions to your home to bring in some personality, but they are also good for the environment of your house.

Here is everything you need to know about how succulents are good for the air:

How Do We Know Succulents are Good for Air?

Basic biology, the kind that we study in elementary school, has been key in teaching us how plants help to purify the air.

Basically, succulents, like most other plants, take part in photosynthesis.

This is the self-sustaining mechanism of plants from which they absorb energy in the form of sunlight and use it to manufacture their own food.

The process of photosynthesis requires carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is a toxic gas for human beings in large quantities.

So succulents take it up and clean the environment. They also release Oxygen as a by-product of their chemical processes, which further keeps the environment pure.

While most other plants only release oxygen during the day when there is sunlight and give off carbon dioxide during the night, some succulents are an exception to this.

These succulents give off oxygen and take in carbon dioxide all through the night as well, keeping the environment pure even at night.

In fact, some studies have also shown that succulents can absorb and remove other toxic gases from the environment as well.

These include benzene and formaldehyde. These gases can cause irritation, itchiness, and other problems which can be disregarded as allergic reactions often.

Experiments by NASA have also been key in exploring how succulents and other plants help to clean the air in homes.

For example, they experimented with a BioHome back in the 80s. The BioHome was an air-tight, energy-efficient system with everything necessary for a human being’s survival, from a water purification system to a garden and even a management system.

But people would not be able to sustain themselves in this BioHome for long since their eyes would begin to burn, and they would have difficulty breathing as soon as they entered the home.

NASA then planned to add succulents, such as Snake Plant and another plant in the home to purify the air and remove the pollutants.

To their surprise, the addition of these plants removed the pollutants from the air and made the air cleaner and easier to take in.

People entering the home then no longer suffered from those adverse reactions.

What Succulents are Best for Air Quality?

While most plants and succulents are great for air purification, some succulents are better than others.

Here are some of the best succulents you can make use of for improving the air quality:

Snake Plant

The snake plant is one of the most resilient plants to ever exist. It is aptly named because of its appearance, which features dark green leaves with a dark crossbanding and often a yellow border around the leaves.

The snake plant is one of the easiest plants to keep in your home because it can get through all kinds of adversities.

The plant will sustain through poor watering schedules and even extreme weather conditions.

However, to allow the plant to truly thrive, you have to expose it to optimal conditions.

The snake plant does its best in well-draining soils and moderate temperatures.

To prevent excessive water evaporation, the plant only does the carbon dioxide and oxygen exchange at night.

Other than that, the plant is also known for cleaning the air by removing a large number of pollutants as well.

A snake plant can effectively get rid of formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, xylene, and even trichloroethylene, all of which are toxic gases that can cause unfavorable symptoms and reactions to appear in people.

Aloe Vera

Another plant that is known for purifying the air to a great extent is Aloe Vera.

We all know of Aloe Vera because of its wide use in the health, wellness, and beauty industries.

The gel in leaves of aloe vera is known to provide hundreds of benefits.

The aloe vera plant has thick, green leaves with white flecks and serrated stems. Aloe vera plants can also bear flowers in the summer as well.

The plant needs bright, direct sunlight along with moderate watering. Overwatering can kill the plant immediately.

The aloe vera plant is also excellent for purifying the air by removing a large number of pollutants and contaminants.

These include formaldehyde and benzene. Aloe vera also has an added benefit as an indicator since the spots on the leaves turn brown where there are too many harmful chemicals around them.

Janet Craig Succulent

The Janet Craig Succulent or Dracaena Fragrans originated from tropical parts of Africa and is a slow-growing shrub.

It is a resilient plant that can easily grow in houses and gardens. Its leaves are glassy, and the plant produces fragrant flowers as well. The plant even produces a berry-like fruit.

NASA has scored the Janet Craig succulent a 7.8 out of 10 on the scale of air-purifying plants.

It is quick at removing contaminants such as formaldehyde and Xylene from the environment and is known as one of the best plants for purification in homes.

It is the perfect plant to place in a newly furnished room where it will prevent any contaminants and toxic gases from leaking in the first place.

Why Do Homes Need Cleaner Air?

Your home is your safe and sacred space. People are most comfortable in their homes, which is why the home should be the cleanest and purest place in your surroundings.

If there is constant exposure to contaminants, pollutants, and toxic gases in your house, you will have a hard time being comfortable in the space.

Yes, air purifiers are a great option for exactly this reason, but they, too, have a hard time taking away all the contaminating gases in the air.

This is why a little help from succulents will only work to your benefit.

Not only will the succulents help in cleaning and purifying the air in your home, but they will also add a touch of freshness to the environment.

This touch of freshness will allow you to relax and stay calm in beautiful surroundings.

Succulents also help to purify the air outside. The outside world is often laden with gases and toxic fumes from cars and other vehicles, appliances, and all sorts of pollutants.

Succulents placed outside will help to remove the effects of these toxic contaminants in the environment and make the air cleaner and easier to breathe in.

What Other Environmental Benefits Can We Get from Plants?

There is a myriad of benefits that we can get from plants other than the purification of air. In fact, air purification is the primary reason why most of these other benefits exist as well.

For example, succulents are great for preventing diseases. Plants are also known for releasing water vapor and acting as natural humidifiers for the environment.

While dry air in your surroundings can be harsh and can cause coughs and aggravate asthma and other breathing conditions, plants in the environment prevent exactly that from happening.

Common diseases such as colds and flu have been known to be greatly reduced in the presence of plants.

Easiness of breathing also makes it easier for one to fall asleep. This is why succulents in a house aid in a better night’s sleep.

They freshen the atmosphere and make it easier to breathe.

Plants in the environment have also been shown to improve a person’s focus.

This is why adding succulents to your workplace is such a brilliant idea: with them around; you will find it much easier to focus on the task at hand.

They also make the space look more organized, which prevents distractions as well.

Lastly, plants also help in shortening the recovery time when a person is sick.

During sickness, you need a bit of freshness around you to facilitate recovery, and succulents in your home can give you exactly that.


Adding succulents to your surroundings can be a great way to clean the air around you.

They are natural purifiers, and most succulents need little attention and fussiness to thrive in any environment.

They can even grow indoors without too many concerns, so you can put some in your room or in your office as well.

Therefore yes, succulents are good for the air. You can put up as many as you want in any space you want, and they will only work on improving your quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do succulents Remove carbon dioxide?

The Succulent plant does remove carbon dioxide from the air. It does this by converting carbonic acid into carbonic acid and water. This reaction cycle is continuous.

Which Succulents can tolerate full Sun?

Succulents generally need at least 4 hours of sun, though many varieties can tolerate full sun if given adequate watering.

Here is a list of succulents that are hardy in direct sunlight:

  • Echeveria agavoides
  • Echeveria agavoides var. agavoides
  • Echeveria agavoides var. cristata
  • Echeveria agavoides var. roemeriana
  • Echeveria agavoides var. truncata

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