Since we’re spending most of our time indoors, healthy air quality should be a top priority. Read on to find out the top plants that aid in the removal of pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide.
1. English Ivy – Hedera helix
Beautiful as a groundcover or a houseplant, English ivy is a classically elegant choice that is also excellent for removing harmful chemicals found in the home. It can grow in full shade to full sun, can be trained into shapes, and with proper care, it is likely to survive for several years.
2. Bamboo Palm – Chamaedorea seifrizii
Since the bamboo palm, or reed palm, prefers part sun or shade, it makes a great houseplant with the added benefit of aiding in the removal of harmful elements such as benzene and formaldehyde.
3. Chinese Evergreen – Aglaonema modestum
The Chinese evergreen is an easy-care plant that thrives in low to medium light. It generally grows to one or two feet. Though it helps to maintain healthy air quality in the home, it is important to note that the Chinese evergreen contains an irritant that can be toxic to pets.
4. Gerbera Daisy – Gerbera jamesonii
When placed indoors, this popular annual is useful in removing benzene and providing mood-enhancing beauty to the home. However, keep in mind that the gerbera daisy does best in warm temperatures, at 75 degrees F or higher.
5. Dragon Tree – Dracaena marginata
With a leaf colour that ranges from green to purple, this plant would be a gorgeous addition indoors or outdoors. It would also fit right in at the office, as it can tolerate low light.
6. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue – Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’
A hardy succulent, mother-in-law’s tongue is a great houseplant for beginners and can survive in some of the toughest conditions, including a wide variety of temperatures and light conditions. However, be careful not to overwater (or to not water at all).
7. Pot Mum – Chrysanthemum morifolium
Good for removing benzene, the pot mum is also a colourful addition to the home in fall when many other flowering plants are past their prime.
8. Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’
Known for its ability to fight against toxic gases such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, peace lilies are relatively easy to care for and even show signs of drooping when they need to be watered. They can be mildly toxic to pets and humans, so it’s important to wash your hands after touching the plant.
9. Spider Plant – Chlorophytum comosum ‘Vittatum’
This easy to care for houseplant thrives in bright, indirect light and works hard to remove the air of harmful pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene. Spider plants dislike soggy soil, so let them dry out slightly between waterings.
10. Mass Cane/Corn Plant – Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’
Proven to help remove formaldehyde from the air, the mass cane/corn plant is one of the most popular varieties of Dracaenas for its lovely foliage that ranges from green to yellow. They look stunning in tree form but can also be grown as shrubs.
11. Rubber Tree – Ficus elastica
Rubber trees have been shown to absorb and break down harmful chemicals in the air. Their large, glossy leaves also take in the carbon dioxide we exhale and convert it to oxygen. Grow them in well-drained potting soil, water regularly and apply liquid fertilizer when they’re actively growing.
12. Lemon Button Fern – Nephrolepis cordifolia
Lemon Button Ferns, relatives of Boston ferns, are useful for removing toxins and cleaning indoor air. They grow about a foot high and thrive in indirect light as long as they have sufficient humidity. They’re more drought tolerant than most ferns, so let their soil dry out slightly before watering again.
13. Pothos – Epipremnum aureum
Pothos earned high marks in a NASA clean air study for clearing the air of benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, carbon monoxide and xylene. These vining tropicals tolerate low light, although it may make their leaves revert to solid green. Use them in hanging baskets or containers and let them trail over the edge of a table.
14. Philodendron – Philodendron
Philodendrons come in a variety of sizes and colours, and their leaves can have many different shapes. Like ‘Xanadu,’ the variety shown here, these plants adapt easily to most homes with medium to bright, indirect light. Researchers say they remove indoor toxins like formaldehyde, which may be present in carpets and cleaning products.
15. Parlor Palm – Chamaedorea elegans
Parlor palms, popular during the Victorian Era, are still popular today, thanks in part to their ability to adapt to the low light conditions found in most homes. According to NASA’s study on plants that clean the air, they can also remove benzene and trichloroethylene from your home or workplace.