In a time where we’re being exposed to more pollutants than ever, keeping the air in your home clean is essential. From laundry detergents, disinfectants and cleaning products to building materials and even street traffic, indoor air can become saturated with many substances that are harmful to your health.
Houseplants are a great way to remedy that. Better than air purifiers, they’re also cheaper, as well as environmentally friendly. And it’s not just us saying it. Here are ten plants used in NASA’s Clean Air Study that are easy to grow and work around the clock to purify the air in your home.
Snake plants or Sansevieria are some of the most beginner-friendly indoor plants. In fact, they can thrive on a bit of neglect and can be grown in low light, low humidity conditions. They’ll also be very forgiving if you forget to water them for a few days. Snake plants are a top choice for keeping the air in your home clean by removing pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, trichloroethylene and toluene.
This plant has been highly popular ever since the Victorian era, and today it’s also prized for its air-purifying abilities. It does an excellent job at removing formaldehyde from the air, as well as xylene and toluene. The Boston fern can thrive in low-light rooms but needs lots of humidity, regular watering and a well-draining soil mix to stay healthy.
If you’re looking for a plant that’s low-maintenance, fast-growing and air-purifying, you’ll find that the spider plant easily ticks all those boxes. This plant is also non-toxic and can be used in a pet-friendly home or to decorate a child’s bedroom. As a bonus point, it also grows lots of baby plantlets, so you’ll always have a steady supply of clean air plants to decorate your home with or even give to your friends.
Pothos has a well-deserved reputation for being a low-maintenance, beginner-friendly plant. Not only does it come in a stunning range of leaf colors and patterns, but it also helps remove benzene, formaldehyde and xylene from the air in your home. However, its leaves contain toxic calcium oxalate crystals, so keep it in a room where pets and kids can’t reach it.
Peace lily or Spathiphyllum often tops the charts when it comes to air-purifying plants, and for good reason. Its large, dark green leaves can remove considerable amounts of pollutants from the air, such as benzene, ammonia, formaldehyde and xylene. Keep it in a room with bright indirect light, and make sure that the soil never dries out.
Chinese evergreens or Aglaonemas are a fantastic choice for darker homes. They’re also available in a flush of colors, ranging from silvery green to bright red and fuchsia. These plants will help clean the air of toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde. They thrive in low to moderate light, humid conditions, and their soil needs to be kept moist but not soaked. Toxic to cats and dogs, it’s best if you keep them away from curious pets.
Another plant that looks like it’s straight out of a Victorian-era home decor catalog, the parlor palm is also an excellent air purifier. This plant helps remove pollutants such as ammonia, formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene. Its elegant fronds can add a touch of class to any room, and it’s also safe to keep around four-legged friends.
The Dracaena genus hosts several air-purifying plants, such as the cornstalk dracaena or the colorful-striped Dracaena marginata. They help keep the air in your home clean by removing harmful benzene, xylene, formaldehyde and toluene. These slow-growing plants will creep up on you in time and can easily reach a height of over 5 feet. They need plenty of sunlight to grow and prefer to be watered regularly but moderately to avoid root rot.
The versatile English ivy can be grown in hanging baskets as well as on a trellis. Its variegated leaves can add a splash of color to a darker corner of your home and fill out the space with its long, trailing vines. You can keep this unpretentious plant in a bathroom, bedroom, kitchen or even allow it to cascade down a stair handrail.
Chrysanthemums or florist’s daisies may be the last on our list of air-purifying plants, but they are a powerhouse when it comes to air cleaning qualities. These flowering shrubs remove significant amounts of benzene and formaldehyde from the air, as well as ammonia, xylene, toluene and trichloroethylene. Primarily used in gardens or to decorate patios, they can also be grown as indoor plants, and their colorful blooms will brighten up your home during colder, darker months.