I’d published this post earlier naming it as the #1 air cleaning houseplant, since this is the plant that’s cited at the top of most lists and the famous TED Talk. The problem is, according to Dr. Wolverton’s studies, this plant isn’t at the top of the list for either filtering of chemicals nor for transpiration rate. I believe the reason it’s at the top of so many lists is that it’s so danged easy to grow, and a beautiful houseplant that’s growing like a weed is ultimately going to be a better air cleaner than a fussy houseplant that doesn’t want to grow at all. So I’ll lead with this post again, but we’ll give it its real ranking number from the revised list, which is #24.
The first plant I bought at K-mart was a Golden Pothos. It was $6.99 but thanks to a rare confluence of events with their Shop Your Way rewards program, I managed to get it for a whopping eighteen cents.
The scientific name is Epipremnum aureum (or Scindapsus aureus or one of 23 other names, depending on who you ask). Now the botanists among you may be wondering why it’s called “Pothos” but under the genus Epipremnum instead of the genus Pothos. And that’s because it used to be classified under that genus, but is no longer. And now you know.
Some people call this the “Money Plant” and thus get it confused with the “Money Tree Plant” (Pachira aquatica). That’s a great houseplant too, but not quite the same.
I put this first in the list because it’s the one that comes up over and over again in the NASA report. It was one of the best all-around performers, removing 73% of benzene from a sealed experimental chamber in a 24-hour period (the fifth-best on the list) and 9.2% of Trichloroethylene (7th on the list). This plant was featured in a TED Talk by Kamal Meattle as one of the three essential plants for cleaning the air.
According to Dr. Wolverton, this plant originated in the Solomon Islands. It’s native to Pacific regions like Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Japan, and India. It’s actually a highly invasive species, meaning that given the right conditions in a tropical jungle, it’ll grow and grow and grow. In fact, when the species has been introduced in places where it’s not indigenous like Sri Lanka, it’s been known to cause severe ecological disruption. This is probably why it’s also been given names like “Devil’s Ivy” and “Australian Native Monstera” (from the latin monstrum, probably referring to the unusual appearance of leaves).
Of course, the very hardiness that makes the plant so invasive in the tropics is what makes it one of the most beloved houseplants here at home. If you’re like my wife and your picture is on plants’ post office walls as the #1 most wanted killer of plants, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to grow the Golden Pothos.
The plant itself is lovely. It has heart-shaped leaves that are green and speckled with yellow (ergo, the “aureum” or “gold” in its name).
As for ideal growing conditions, think of the jungle–it grows best when it’s not exposed to direct sunlight but in an area of your home or office that has access to bright but indirect light. Let the soil dry out between waterings.
With very little care, your Golden Pothos will grow and grow and grow, limited only by the amount of sunlight you have and the size of your flower pot. And the more green you see, the more that plant will be pumping out clean oxygen for you and removing ickiness like benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the air.
One very important thing to note is that you should keep this plant out of the reach of cats, dogs, and children because of the presence of raphides (calcium oxalate) which can cause some nasty toxic reactions if swallowed. Raphides are actually tiny, microscopic needle-shaped crystals that botanists believe is a defense mechanism, like pricks on a cactus. To be safe, when pruning the leaves use gloves (the plant liquids can cause irritation), and absolutely do NOT ingest leaves or let animals or children do so.
If you’re looking for golden pothos, you can most likely find one at a local shop like K-mart, Walmart, Home Depot, or a garden store. If you rather get one online, you can try this product on Amazon or look for one on eBay.
Some care tips:
1) Temperature: Keep between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Never let it drop below 50 degrees.
2) Sunlight: It likes partial shade or shade.
3) Care and feeding: Let the soil dry completely between waterings. Feed weekly from March to August.
Other Herb Garden Enthusiasts Are Reading:
- Beneficial Insects To Keep The Herb Garden Healthy: Guide On Pest Control 2021
- Easy Parsley Recipes For Family Dinners 2021: Cook Salmon And Chicken At Home With Your Indoor Garden
- What Is The Difference Between Herb Extracts & Herb Tinctures? 2021
👉 Garden Design
- 9 Affordable Landscaping Ideas For The Herb Garden: Revamp Your Aesthetic And Design In 2021
- Water Conservation By Landscaping: Xeriscaping The Herb Garden To Reduce Irrigation Needs 2021
- What Is Permaculture? The Book To Read When Designing Your Herb Garden According To Nature 2021
👉 Self Care Tips
- The Science Of Herbal Incense: Aromatherapy And Scent Diffusers
- Herbal Oils For Massage & Pain Relief – Get Your Own Stress-Relieving Spa At Home 2021
- How To Make Herbal Poultice From Both Dried And Fresh Herbs? A Guide To Anti-Inflammatory Healing From Home 2021
👉 Gardening Tips
- Essential Tips To Herb Garden Plans 2021: Keeping Them Healthy And Low Maintenance
- Beginner’s Guide To Herb Garden: Ideas & Tips 2021
- Everything You Need To Know About Rosemary 2021: History, Facts And Growing Tips For The Perfect Mediterranean Cuisine
👉 Product Recommendations
- 10 Most Popular & Highest Quality Indoor Herb Garden Kits 2021
- Best Chances To Score Great Bargains 2021: All The Best Herb Products For Indoor Gardening From Growth Boxes To Seeds And DIY Kits On Amazon Prime Day You Should Not Miss
- Awesome Affordable Gifts Ideas For Experts Or Amateurs In Herb Gardening (2021)
👉 House Plant Guides
- How To Deal With Dark Spots On Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens) Stem? Growing The Best Air Cleaning And Humidifying Plant 2021
- Get Your Own Beautiful Green Air Purifying Plants in 2021: Dracaena Deremensis (Warneckii)
- A Plant Lover’s Guide To Corn Plant (Dracaena Fragrans “Massangeana”): One Of The Most Durable And Best Air Cleaning Plant 2021