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Best Houseplants for Purifying Air

Suzanne has been an online writer for over seven years. Her articles often focus on skin care and gardening.

Best Houseplants for Purifying Air

Best Houseplants for Purifying Air

Through the years, my houseplants have been like my babies. I nurtured, fed, and watered them, watching them grow and blossom into adulthood. Sound familiar? They go through changes and need a trim to keep them strong just as our children need haircuts to keep their hair healthy and strong. Kids, like adults, need a certain amount of sunlight to produce vitamin D. In order to thrive and grow, houseplants need different levels of sunlight too.

Because our plants are like our children, we need to be extra attentive to their needs. This article explores the best houseplants to help you purify your air. It also explains the science behind this phenomenon and gives useful tips for growing your own plants.

Choose wisely: Start small plants and watch them grow.

Choose wisely: Start small plants and watch them grow.

Plants Can Purify the Air of Dangerous Toxins

Bringing in a selection of houseplants to your home or workplace not only creates a beautiful environment but can have a beneficial effect on purifying the air of toxins you may not even be aware of. Toxins can be omitted from synthetic plastics, paints, varnishes, house cleaners, and even computers.

Choosing the right plants may just help in preventing allergies, cancer, asthma, auto-immune disorders, and other diseases as they convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.

Many indoor plants have the ability to clean the air to some degree. Some have been shown to be more beneficial than others at removing higher levels of toxins.

The three most common toxins found in the home are:

  • Formaldehyde—found in shopping bags, facial tissues, kitchen towels, cooking and heating fuels, including natural gas and kerosene, household cleaners, office furniture, carpet backings, and cigarette smoke.
  • Benzene—found in inks, oils, plastics, rubber, gasoline, dyes, detergents, pharmaceuticals, and explosives.
  • Trichloroethylene—found in dry cleaning, metal degreasers, printing inks, adhesives, varnishes, paints, and lacquers.

These toxins are carcinogenic (directly related to causing cancer) and used in the manufacturing of synthetic substances and materials. Other toxins include Toluene, Ammonia, and Xylene.

10 of the Best Air-Purifying Plants

Here is my selection of plants, many I have had which are some of the best ones to have in the home.

Believe it or not, NASA scientists have shown incredible research into this field as they looked into ways of creating suitable space station environments and habitats which were enclosed and confined rooms, just as our homes are.

Aloe plant: air purifying and excellent for home remedies.

Aloe plant: air purifying and excellent for home remedies.

1. Aloe Vera

Botanical Name: Aloe barbadensis

Uses: This plant has many uses in the home and helps rid the air of toxic formaldehyde.

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Some of the other uses include making your own mouthwash, eye gel, healing sunburn, insect bites, and moisturizer.

Tips: Aloe need well drained soil with good drying time between watering.

Place in full sun preferably but protect from high temperatures.

2. Peace Lily

Botanical Name: Spathiphyllum

Uses: Peace Liles should be in all homes as it is not only pretty but it is the no.1 houseplant for filtering out chemicals. It is excellent for cleaning the air of benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, toluene, xylene and even ammonia. Cleaners, solvents, plastics, acetone the list is long of the toxins this plant will remove from the air.

Tips: They can be quite temperamental I have found and if you move them they will not generally like it. Avoid placing them in drafts and make sure they get sufficient low indirect light and not bright sun.

Hedera helix can be invasive in the garden, so it's perfect for container planting.

Hedera helix can be invasive in the garden, so it's perfect for container planting.

3. English Ivy

Botanical Name: Hedera helix

Uses: Superb plant for removing the chemical benzene which is commonly omitted from cigarette smoke, pesticides, detergents and off-gassing from other synthetic materials.

It removes formaldehyde and is said to extremely beneficial for asthma or allergy sufferers.

Tips: I have often had this in different rooms around the home in different amounts of light successfully.

As it can often run wild outdoors, it makes a great choice for indoor container gardening.

Sansevieria trifasciata: poisonous and sharp but excellent for air purifying. Keep out of reach of children and pets.

Sansevieria trifasciata: poisonous and sharp but excellent for air purifying. Keep out of reach of children and pets.

4. Snake Plant

Botanical Name: Sansevieria trifasciata

Uses: Another great one to have for air purification it removes benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, toluene and xylene.

Tips: It requires very little attention and can survive in low lighting and with irregular feeding.

Even if you forget about this easy to grow plant, all is not lost as it is one that can come back to life quickly.

Gerbera jamesonii: Brighten up any space with a splash of color.

Gerbera jamesonii: Brighten up any space with a splash of color.

5. Gerbera Daisy

Botanical Name: Gerbera jamesonii

I love gerbera daisies with their bright array of colors and love the burst of color they give alongside some green plants.

NASA say it is fantastic for removing benzene from your home and it also removes trichloroethylene which unknown to you may be in your dry cleaning.

Tips: It loves light and yet many people have sworn by it growing better in their bedroom in winter as opposed to outdoors in the summer!

Dracaena marginata. Beautiful leaves!

Dracaena marginata. Beautiful leaves!

6. Marginata or Dragon Tree

Botanical Name: Dracaena marginata

Another easy to grow plant that favors bright but indirect sunlight and needs little attention making it easily maintained.

These plants are effective at filtering out formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, toluene and xylene toxins leaving the air purified.

Tips: It is best watered with day old room temperature water as it can react to fluoride in tap water.As they are tropical in origin they like high humidity and placing them in bathrooms or laundry rooms may be a good idea.

Chrysanthemums are available in a wide selection of colors.

Chrysanthemums are available in a wide selection of colors.

7. Mums or Chrysanths

Botanical Name: Chrysanthemum

Not a favourite of mine however a very good all round plant to have as a houseplant. There are approximately 40 species of mums with a large number of hybrids and cultivars.

Uses: Mums help clean the air of benzene, trichloroethylene, formaldehyde and ammonia; they generally only flower once in the year and are treated as annuals.

Tips: Pot mums do best in cool airy rooms and may be placed in any location. Keeping them at 10-15 C usually prolongs their flowering period but they can withstand warmer temperatures.

Dracaena dermensis or 'Janet Craig' is a flowering plant. It adds character to a room.

Dracaena dermensis or 'Janet Craig' is a flowering plant. It adds character to a room.

8. Janet Craig

Botanical Name: Dracaena dermensis ’Janet Craig’

An attractive easy to grow houseplant, that is perfect for a low maintenance, fuss free option. Although it is tropical by nature it adapts very well to average home conditions.

Uses: This houseplant will filter out benzene, formaldehyde, toluene and xylene leaving the air free of these toxins.

Tips: Water when it needs it and allow the top of the soil dry out in-between watering. It does not like soggy soil so make sure as with all houseplants you have drainage hole in your container or pot. If you see brown scorch marks on the leaf it is being burnt and needs to be moved to a less direct location. Pale leaves indicate too little sunlight so move it to a brighter spot.

Epipremnum aureum is attractive, hardy and tolerant of many lighting conditions including low light.

Epipremnum aureum is attractive, hardy and tolerant of many lighting conditions including low light.

9. Devil’s Ivy or Golden Pothos

Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum

Devil’s Ivy is an attractive plant with marble effect leaves and an easily maintained plant.