Many shedworkers have a potted plant or two in their garden office, but a new study in the American Journal of Horticultural Science suggests that while some do a great job of improving air quality in your shed, others actually release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your office.
The research team from the University of Georgia's Department of Horticulture looked at four popular indoor potted plant species: Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii Regel), Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata Prain), Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina L., pictured above), and Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens Wendl.). They found 23 volatile compounds in Peace Lily, 16 in Areca Palm, 13 in Weeping Fig, and 12 in Snake Plant (and 11 of the VOCs came from the plastic pots the plants were in).
Moreover, VOC emission rates were higher during the day than at night in all of the species, and all classes of emissions were higher in the day than at night. There doesn't seem any reason to panic at the moment but if you've filled your office with Areca Palms, then maybe you want to consider swapping in a few pansies.