Indoor plants are adored by many homeowners for the vibrancy and splashes of natural greenery they add to a room. Plants also purify the air we breathe, and some are even effective at filtering out toxic chemicals from the air that can lead to health issues like irritations, allergies and headaches.
In fact, a study done by NASA pinpoints a number of indoor plants that filter out harmful pollutants including ammonia, benzene and formaldehyde! So in the interests of both aesthetics and your family’s health, here are our top 10 air purifying plants for your home.
#1 – Devil’s Ivy
Also known as Golden Pothos and the Money Plant, Devil’s Ivy is a popular houseplant in temperate regions and has become naturalised in sub-tropical and tropical forests all over the world.
Sometimes mistakenly labelled as a philodendron in nurseries, it fights nasty toxins like benzene (found in paints and varnishes), xylene and trichloroethylene (found in solvents), and formaldehyde (found in carpets and upholstery), which is why it’s a great indoor plant for air purification. The name ‘Devil’s Ivy’ was coined because the plant is almost impossible to kill, even when kept in the dark!
#2 – Boston Fern
The Boston Fern or Nephrolepis Exaltata is common in humid forests and swamps and native to tropical regions around the world. Popular in the 70’s, this plant is making a comeback mainly because it is one of the best air purifying plants for indoor use. Not only do these plants have a lush green exterior, they filter out irritating chemicals like xylene and formaldehyde.
Ferns can typically be quite tricky to care for, however, the Boston Fern is super-tolerant and loves humid conditions, moist soil and indirect sunlight. Which makes it the perfect indoor plant for your bathroom!
#3 – Chinese Evergreen
While most houseplants need a bit of effort in terms of providing the appropriate growing conditions, the Chinese evergreen does not. This tropical beauty is one of the most durable to grow and can tolerate dry air, little water and poor light conditions. Native to the tropical and subtropical regions of New Guinea and Asia, their genus name is Aglaonema and they are found in a range of variegated forms.
They are also one of the best indoor plants for health as they help to filter out a range of air pollutants and begin to remove more toxins as time and exposure continues.
#4 – Weeping Fig
Like most plants in the fig family, the Weeping Fig is often referred to as Ficus. Native to Asia and Australia, it is the official tree of Bangkok but also been naturalized in the West Indies and parts of the US. Reaching 30 metres tall in some conditions, it has glossy leaves and gracefully drooping branches.
In terms of air purifying plants, Weeping Figs are great at filtering xylene, formaldehyde and toluene (found in paints, lacquers and adhesives), however, they love light and don’t like being moved. Therefore it’s wise to only re-pot if necessary and find a nice sunny spot in your home for it to grow.
#5 – Bamboo Palm
Unlike most other palm varieties, the Bamboo Palm is a perfect plant for indoors as it survives in low light conditions – in fact, these plants love shade! Chamaedorea Elegans is native to Guatemala and Southern Mexico and they are one of the most popular houseplant palms in the world. They grow to up to three metres tall, have slender cane-like stems and require virtually no maintenance.
In terms of plants that reduce air pollution, the Bamboo Palm filters both xylene and formaldehyde and it can transpire up to a litre of water a day, which makes them great humidifiers as well.
#6 – Spider Plant
Chlorophytum Comosum is often called a Spider Plant but is also known as the Ribbon Plant, Spider Ivy and the Airplane Plant. A perennial flowering plant, it is native to southern and tropical African but has become naturalised in other parts of the world including in Australia.
An easy-to-grow houseplant, variegated forms are the most popular and in terms of the best indoor plants for health, the Spider Plant reduces indoor air pollution in the form of xylene and formaldehyde. It’s also very easy to care for and thrives in a variety of conditions – even in temperatures as low as 2°C!
#7 – Peace Lily
The Spathiphyllum or Peace Lily is native to south-eastern Asia and tropical regions of the Americas. Evergreen herbaceous perennial plants, they have large leaves up to 65cm long and 25cm broad. Flowers are produced in a spadix which is a spike of minute flowers closely arrange around a fleshy axis.
A popular indoor plant, the Peace Lily survives with very little sun and only needs to be watered about once a week depending on the weather. In terms of plants that reduce air pollution, they are a hardy choice as they cleanse your home of pollutants like ammonia and acetone, which is often found in paint and nail polish.
#8 – Snake Plant
Also known as Viper’s Bowstring Hemp and Mother-in-law’s Tongue, the Snake Plant is a species of flowering plant that’s native to tropical West Africa. This evergreen perennial has stiff leaves that grow vertically and mature leaves that are dark green with light grey-green banding.
In terms of air purifying plants, the easy-to-care-for Snake Plant absorbs carbon dioxide, releases oxygen and filters out formaldehyde.
#9 – Flamingo Lily
Native to the Americas from northern Mexico northern Argentina and parts of the Caribbean, Anthurium is also known as the Tailflower, Laceleaf and Flamingo Flower.
This exotic flowering plant prefers a shady and warm environment and a daily misting helps to prolong its flowers. In terms of plants that reduce air pollution, the Flamingo Lily is known to be effective in removing ammonia, xylene, formaldehyde and toluene from the air.
#10 – Pineapple Plant
It sounds like a strange choice for an indoor plant, however, the pineapple plant actually produces more oxygen than most other plants, making it the ideal air purifying plant. Interestingly, NASA scientists also claim that it can cure snoring!
Native to tropical and subtropical regions, pineapples can grow in temperature climates as well under controlled conditions, and they produce multiple fruit. In terms of indoor house plants, they’ll make a great talking point over a dinner party conversation!