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Does Monstera Plant Produce Oxygen At Night

Monstera deliciosa is a tropical rainforest plant that has recently regained popularity among house plant lovers. As with many house plants, monsteras have a nickname, swiss cheese plant, due to the unique shape of the plant’s leaves that can include decorative holes in its pattern. A part of the appeal of monsteras is the tropical aesthetics they bring to a room and their ability to aid oxygen production and air circulation. Many monstera enthusiasts want to know: do monstera plants produce oxygen at night? 

While all plants produce oxygen through the photosynthesis process during daylight hours, very few can do so at night. Those plants that can produce oxygen at night conduct a process of photosynthesis known as Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM). Monstera deliciosa plants are not CAM photosynthesis plants, so they cannot produce oxygen at night.  

Read on to learn more about monsteras and other oxygen-producing plants.

Monstera Characteristics and Benefits

Monstera deliciosa originate in tropical rainforests in Central and South America, where they grow up tree trunks as high as 60 feet tall. While they will grow to only a fraction of this height indoors, monsteras can still benefit from an indoor trellis or climbing pole to mimic the trees they climb in their natural environment. Because monsteras organically grow up from the forest floor, under patchy canopies of trees, they will most benefit from the morning sun and indirect afternoon light when grown indoors.  

Interestingly, monsteras produce edible fruit when growing outdoors in the wild. Their fruit grows in the shape of corn on the cob with honeycomb-patterned scales. Monstera fruit is known to be quite delicious, with a similar flavor to pineapple. It’s important to remember that while ripened monstera fruit is edible and tasty, the plant and its unripened fruit are toxic to humans and animals.  

Monsteras prefer a somewhat humid environment, although they can survive in drier conditions too. Weekly to bimonthly watering is ideal, letting the soil get mostly dry between waterings. While monsteras need a good amount of space to grow, their size can be somewhat mitigated by only re-potting the plant when absolutely necessary and pruning off new growth from time to time.  

Monsteras daytime photosynthesis process does aid in indoor air purification and oxygen circulation. There is speculation that the significant size of monstera leaves helps to increase oxygen production from photosynthesis. However, as mentioned above, due to monsteras not being a CAM photosynthesis plant, they are not night oxygen producers.  

Common Indoor Plants Ideal For Air Purification

Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) is a unique photosynthesis process that allows plants to continue to produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide through the night. Most plants are incapable of CAM processing, producing oxygen only through photosynthesis during daytime hours and emitting carbon dioxide at night. The following table explores some CAM plants that do produce oxygen at night.

PlantAir PurificationOther Characteristics
Snake PlantEmits oxygen day and night and eliminates formaldehyde.  An easy succulent that requires minimal watering and indirect light.  
PothosEmits oxygen day and night and eliminates formaldehyde.  A vining plant that grows well in a hanging pot near a well lit window.  Periodic pruning is necessary; prefers to dry out between waterings.  
Areca PalmEmits oxygen day and night and filters formaldehyde and benzene.  Also can aid in maintaining humidity in the air.  A palm that prefers direct filtered light and well-draining soil. These plants respond best if soil is almost completely dry between waterings.  Requires minimal pruning.   
Peace LilyIdentified as one of the top air purifying plants, it emits oxygen day and night and filters out many chemicals like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, xylene, and more. Also aids in increasing humidity.  A highly attractive plant with broad shiny leaves and beautiful white flowers.  Prefers indirect light and drying out between waterings.  
Aloe VeraEmits oxygen day and night and eliminates formaldehyde and benzene.  A succulent known for its medicinal gel that aids in healing cuts, burns, and other skin issues. Grows best in well-drained soil and prefers to dry out between waterings.  
Spider PlantEmits oxygen day and night and removes carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and benzene from the air.  The leaves of this plant mimic a spider’s legs, thin and pointed, growing up and over its container. Requires minimal care, preferring indirect light or shade and drying out between waterings.  

Final Thoughts On Air Purifying Plants

While in this article we have focused on monstera deliciosa and CAM producing indoor plants, it’s important to remember that all indoor plants provide some level of air purification. If air purification is essential to you, it’s recommended to first identify the space and light you have available for indoor plants, and research plants high in purification levels that will thrive in those conditions. Always include in your research the toxicity of plants you are considering if children or pets live in your home to ensure an indoor garden that is safe for all.  

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