Did you know that houseplants help purify the air in our homes? We’ve long known that indoor plants improve our mood and reduce stress levels, but improving air quality is an additional benefit.
Back in 1989, a NASA Clean Air Study tested 19 different species of plants to see if they would be effective at cleaning the air. They found that in just 24 hours, up to 87% of the formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene was removed from the air by the leaves and roots of the plants, while oxygen was returned to the room. Bottom-line: common, low-light houseplants absorbed toxins and helped purify the air!
Here are nine houseplants that we recommend for indoor air purifications:
This is a plant for every home - it cleans the air and heals your wounds. It loves a sunny spot and prefers dry soil, so it's also very easy to keep.
Ivy is a great formaldehyde remover (which is often in our wood glue and carpets), and it's lovely trailing down from a high spot or climbing up from a low one. English ivy enjoys moist soil and cooler room temperatures, and thrives in low light.
- Snake Plant
This is a super-easy indoor plant that's good at filtering out formaldehyde. Its leaves grow upright for a crisp, clean look, and grows well in a variety of lighting conditions, including low light. The soil should stay somewhat dry, so it's fine even with a missed watering or two.
- Spider Plant
If you’re looking to add visual interest to a room, then look no further than the spider plant. They're super easy to maintain and make great hanging plants. They also remove airborne formaldehyde and benzene molecules. Keep them in moist soil and bright or medium lighting near or in a window.
- Peace Lily
Peace lilies are easy to maintain, smell refreshing, and bloom for a good chunk of the summer. They rid the air of the VOC benzene, a carcinogen found in paints, furniture wax, and polishes. It also sucks up acetone, which is emitted by electronics, adhesives, and certain cleaners. Peace lilies enjoy moist soil and the best shady spot you’ve got to offer. Warning - they are poisonous to pets.
- Boston Fern
I love Boston Ferns and find them easy to grow as long as I keep them well watered - usually daily. I move them from outside on a porch in Summer to inside near a window for Winter. Some people do find them finicky, however. But Boston Ferns remove more formaldehyde than any other plant and are highly efficient at removing other indoor air pollutants such as benzene and xylene—components of gasoline exhaust that can migrate indoors if you have an attached garage.
- Jade Plant
Jade leaves have a lush shine to them and are super-easy to maintain. They're also said to bring good luck! They prefer full sun and good watering. Let the surface soil dry out in between watering but don't let them get completely dry. My jade plant has been with me for years without much maintenance at all.
- Rubber Plant
This unique beauty is one of the easiest plants to keep. It does well in low light, cooler temperatures and low humidity. It's excellent at moving indoor toxins, including formaldehyde.
The ultimate low-care plant is the cactus! It loves to bathe in the sun and requires very little water. Cacti, including the colorful Christmas Cactus, are great at purifying indoor air.