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Air pollution is always one of the biggest concerns when it comes to creating the ideal living environment. Not everyone has the time to detox their homes through daily cleaning and maintenance nor can everyone afford to buy man-made air-purifiers and filters which can be quite expensive.
In 1989, NASA conducted a study and discovered that there are many houseplants that can act as natural air-purifiers by removing toxic components in the air; especially in enclosed areas. In this article, we’ve listed 30 of the best air-purifying plants that would be perfect for cleaning the air in your home. Here’s a quick look.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
According to NASA, the Peace Lily is one of the best air-purifying plants to grow in your home. Peace lilies are tropical plants that break down and remove toxic gases such as trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide. The whole filtering process gets more productive when the pot’s topsoil is well exposed to the air.
Growing Tip: They love direct sunlight and need to be watered regularly.
Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller)
This succulent has the ability to remove harmful VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) from the air. It takes in carbon dioxide all throughout the night while releasing oxygen, making it an ideal plant to place even in the bedroom. Some experts state that a single aloe vera plant is equal to 9 air purifiers!
Growing Tip: Plant aloe vera in a well-draining succulent potting mix and water every two weeks.
Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)
Snake plants purify the air by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen at night, while simultaneously neutralizing nitrogen oxides and formaldehyde. They’re easy plants to care for, as they don’t require a lot of maintenance. Their unique appearance makes them popular plants for growing indoors.
Growing Tip: Give them enough sunlight, moderate water, and light feedings at least 2-3 times per year for the best results.
Florist’s Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
According to NASA, this plant can eliminate numerous toxins from the environment such as benzene and ammonia. Ranked among the highest for air purification, these plants have beautiful flowers that bloom for only about 6 weeks.
Growing Tips: ‘Mums’ thrive in moist soil with lots of organic matter. They need to be supported with stakes to stay upright as they grow up and bloom.
Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
Dragon trees diminish harmful vapors that are released into the environment from certain man-made products such as varnish and hairspray. They’re ideal plants for breaking down toluene and formaldehyde.
Growing Tip: They can thrive in and adapt to different light conditions well, though it’s best to keep them away from direct sunlight.
Lemon Button Fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia)
Apart from cleaning out toxins in the air, this plant acts as a natural humidifier by increasing the wetness in the atmosphere. This makes it an especially useful plant in cold, dry climates.
Growing Tip: Lemon button ferns love loamy, moist soil and indirect sunlight. They also require regular watering in order to grow well.
Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
Also known as “pothos”, Devil’s ivy produces a good amount of oxygen all day and night through photosynthesis in comparison to many other houseplants.
Growing Tip: Grow these plants in bright light and prune them often for increased foliage.
Areca Palms (Dypsis lutescens)
Areca palms eliminate toluene and acetone in the air, while also decreasing carbon dioxide. They also act as natural cooling plants by reducing the temperature of the environment.
Growing Tip: Grow these plants in temperatures from 18-24 C (64-75 F). The minimum temperature they can tolerate is 10 C (32 F).
Red Anthurium (Anthurium andraeanum)
Commonly known as “Flamingo lily”, these plants absorb airborne pollutants such as ammonia with their huge, dark green leaves, creating a refreshing indoor environment.
Growing Tip: Red Anthuriums love lots of moisture, so keep them in a place with a higher humidity level such as a bathroom.
Rubber Fig (Ficus elastica)
While rubber figs produce plenty of oxygen, they’re also known for eliminating up to 60% of bacteria and mold microorganisms in the air efficiently.
Growing Tip: Rubber trees are easy-grown plants that thrive in partial shade and well-draining soil. Just avoid keeping them in places that dry out quickly.
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
As another top-ranked air-purifying plant in NASA study, the ficus plant filters the air by sucking up harmful gases like xylene and formaldehyde.
Growing Tip: Weeping figs can be easily propagated from stem cuttings. Fertilize and prune them every few months for ideal growth.
There are numerous species of philodendron, all of which minimize air pollution by breaking down chemical components in the air. These common houseplants are so easy to grow and maintain as they require very little care!
Growing Tip: Water them once every two weeks and watch out for pest infestations. Philodendrons need to be repotted at least once every 2-3 years.
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
Apart from neutralizing various airborne carcinogens, English ivy is also known to minimize mold and fecal matter found in the atmosphere. These plants have berries, however, that are toxic if ingested. If you have children or pets in the house, place the plants somewhere out of their reach.
Growing Tip: English ivy has medium light requirements. It needs to be watered whenever the soil surface is dry to the touch.
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
This is another house plant that converts carbon dioxide into oxygen at night, making it easier for you to breathe. Crotons are ideal air-purifying houseplants to place in your bedroom.
Growing Tip: Crotons flourish in warm climates with a humidity level between 40% – 80%. To increase the humidity, keep the plants on a humid tray or mist them once a week.
Barberton Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
Also called “Gerbera”, these plants are highly effective at absorbing toxins such as trichloroethylene and benzene in high concentrations.
Growing Tip: While Barberton daisies prefer full sun, they do better in partial shade during the hottest time of the year.
Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)
This is another plant in “dracaena” family that does wonders in removing airborne volatile organic compounds. They give you clean air to breathe by consuming micro particles of smoke in the air.
Growing Tip: Plant the seeds in the summer and keep the soil constantly moist for faster germination. Fertilize corn plants once every 6 months.
Sword Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
Also known as the “Boston Fern”, this plant species can dissolve alcoholic vapors in indoor living areas. It can also remove various other indoor air pollutants such as xylene, benzene, and formaldehyde.
Growing Tip: The trick is to create a growing environment that’s similar to its native inhabitants. Water regularly and provide them with good ventilation for average care.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
These tropical beauties reduce certain airborne household chemicals that come from things like cleaning solutions, glue, carpets, and synthetic materials such as fiber, plastic, and rubber.
Growing Tip: The light requirements differ on the variety and color of the foliage. Plants with green and greyish leaves prefer low lighting whereas plants with more brightly colored leaves need a medium to bright light conditions.
Broad Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
Broad lady palms absorb formaldehyde and ammonia, detoxifying the surrounding atmosphere. As a result, it reduces your risk of becoming exposed to numerous health problems.
Growing Tip: Place your broad lady palm in a shady spot and water moderately. These plants can survive in a wide range of soil types and rarely need any fertilizing.
Pineapple Plant (Ananas comosus)
Pineapple plants have tiny pores in their leaves and needles called “stomata” which suck up carbon dioxide rapidly while releasing oxygen back into the environment. They have large leaves and can be used to bring an exotic touch into your home.
Growing Tip: Plant in loamy soil and water once a week in normal climates. Unlike many other house plants, pineapples don’t need to be repotted from time to time.
ZZ Plant (Zanzibar Gem)
Zanzibar gem is a hardy plant that’s capable of eliminating and recycling cancer-causing compounds in the air; especially in enclosed living spaces. It’s known to eliminate pollutants, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide from the air, making it clean to breathe.
Growing Tip: This plant is best grown in an all-purpose potting mix used for succulents instead of normal soil. Repot them once a year in the spring and fertilize them with a liquid fertilizer.
Kimberly Queen Fern (Nephrolepis obliterata)
Apart from removing harmful fumes from your surroundings, neutralize airborne bacteria, molds, fungus spores, and other micro germs making the air safe to breathe.
Growing Tip: Keep the plants away from direct sunlight as it can cause damage to the foliage. Water when the top layer of the soil is hard and dry.
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
Poinsettias work as natural mini air-purifiers by removing traces of formaldehyde that exist in the atmosphere due to the use of items such as grocery bags, paints, and coatings.
Growing Tip: These plants need at least 4 to 5 hours of sunlight per day. The ideal growing media is a mixture of free-draining soil, organic compost, and peat moss.
Scarlet Star (Guzmania lingulata)
Scarlet star plants are known to neutralize more VOCs than any other air-purifying plant that’s been studied. These plants produce attractive red and orange blooms with a central cluster of small, white flowers.
Growing Tip: Place them close to a window so they can get better lighting which will promote rapid blooming. For the plants grown in rooms with less exposure to the sun, use grows lights.
Nerve Plant (Fittonia albivenis)
Native to South America, nerve plants are popular for their colorful, deeply creased leaves that filter air pollutants like trichloroethylene, octane, and benzene. It’s a unique tropical houseplant that would add a pop of color to your indoor décor.
Growing Tip: Grow fittonias in peat mixed potting soil and mist them when the climate is dry. Since they require a high level of humidity, you can also try keeping them on humid trays.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
These plants effectively clear out hazardous gases such as toluene and xylene, enhancing the quality of the air you breathe. Tests conducted by NASA show that spider plants can remove up to 95% of toxic substances in your home.
Growing Tip: Spider plants are easy to grow. Moderate watering, occasional pruning, and yearly repotting are more than enough to keep them healthy.
Calatheas are also called “living plants” due to their ability to close their leaves in the night and re-open them every morning like they’re coming to life. Not only will this plant be a lovely addition to your home, but it will also provide a healthy indoor climate for you and your family.
Growing Tip: Provide your calathea plants with small amounts of water regularly and fertilize once every 14 days for lush foliage.
Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)
Also known as “pygmy date palms”, these are other species of tropical plants that eliminate xylene, formaldehyde, and toluene, cleaning the atmosphere effectively.
Growing Tip: These plants can survive in full sun or even complete shade. Plant them in the spring or fall in sandy, clay, or loamy soil with a pH level over 7.
Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
According to NASA, parlor palms are ideal air-cleansers as they break down carbon monoxide molecules. They also breathe in carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen before releasing it back into the environment.
Growing Tip: For faster growth, place your parlor palms in a spot that gets bright, yet filtered sunlight. Water enough to keep them moist, but not wet.
Native to South Africa, clivia is a herbaceous or evergreen perennial plant that purifies air by eliminating chemical particles in the air. It does this while giving out about 80% of oxygen throughout the night.
Growing Tip: Feed your plants with a potassium-rich fertilizer twice a year in the spring and summer. Deadhead them in the blooming season to promote flowering.
Plants are a great way to decorate your indoors while creating soothing and stress-free living environments. The plants on this list have an added bonus: they purify the air you breathe, making your living or working environment healthier.