8 Air Purifying Plants to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Air Quality

Do you feel like you’ve been coughing and sneezing a lot lately? Indoor air quality could be affected by a number of factors such as the building’s HVAC system. One way to improve indoor air quality is to introduce air-purifying plants. The following list outlines some of the indoor plants that are identified as having air-purifying properties according to NASA.

1. Bamboo Palm
Also referred to as reed palm, the bamboo palm grows to about 5-7 feet tall and can thrive in shady indoor places. Bamboo palms prefer some humidity, indirect light, and a temperature between 65 to 80 degrees. This air purifying plant can help filter formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.

2. Broadleaf Leaf Palm
The broadleaf leaf palms make great indoor plants for spacious indoor areas like offices and living rooms. This particular plant can grow up to 14 feet tall so pruning is required to keep the tree to a manageable height. The leaf palm is a natural air purifier as it can filter formaldehyde, xylene and toluene, and ammonia.

3. Peace Lily
Peace lilies are one of the more attractive houseplants to have at home or in the office. Peace lilies prefer medium to low light and do not require frequent watering. They are effective at filtering benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene, and ammonia. Peace lilies are toxic to pets so should not be considered by dog and cat owners.

4. Snake Plant
These air purifying plants are easy to care for. They can survive in low light conditions and do not require frequent watering. The more common species include Sansevieria and the cylindrical snake plant. They are effective at filtering the following toxins: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene. Snake plants are also toxic to dogs and cats.

5. Spider Plant
The spider plant can tolerate a lot of different conditions. As their name implies, the spider plant has many leaves, or spiderettes, hanging from the base of the plant. Spider plants can filter formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. They are not considered high risks to pets.

6. Dracaena marginata
The Dracaena marginata are attractive air purifying plants with vivid foliage. They thrive in temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees, and require relatively bright light. Also referred to as the dragon tree, the dracaena marginata can filter benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene, and trichloroethylene. They are considered toxic to pets so pet owners should stay well away.

7. Heartleaf Philodendron
The heartleaf philodendron is a popular household plant because it can thrive in small pots for many years without too much maintenance. These plants can filter formaldehyde, which could be emitted from everyday products like glue, house cleaning products, and plywood. Pet owners should stay away as they are toxic to cats and dogs.

8. Weeping Fig
The weeping fig requires bright light conditions and steady moisture to thrive. They can be great additions for those who are looking for great corner plants and indoor “trees”. The weeping fig can filter formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. They are also toxic to pets.

So what are you waiting for? Make your home or office a cleaner place by placing these household plants. For pet owners, please be aware that some of the household plants we mentioned are toxic to pets. Other air-purifying plants that are considered non-toxic to cats and dogs: dwarf date palm, areca palm, boston fern, barbeton daisy, and the rubber plant.

Aside from air-purifying plants, you may also want to consider growing plants that offer a nice scent. Flowers like lavender are known for their soothing scent. They are also known for pest-repelling properties so it wouldn’t hurt to have these plants around at home if you want to keep away nuisance pests like mosquitoes for example.

Do Air Purifying Plants Work?

Air purifying plants alone probably won’t filter out all the bad contaminants in the air but they definitely can help. According to the NASA scientist who conducted the study, the surface area of the air purifying plant leaves will influence the rate of air purification.

The issue with the NASA study, however, is that it is based on tests conducted under laboratory conditions. Hence, there is no definite proof on the effectiveness of air purifying plants when it comes to home and office environments. That said, there can be no harm to adding some greenery to places you spend a lot of time in.

How Many Plants Does it Take to Purify the Air in the Room?

To maximize the natural air purifying effects, the general recommendation is to have about one air purifying plant per 100 square feet of floor space. However, as we mentioned earlier, these recommendations are based on the results of test conducted under lab conditions so don’t expect your home to ‘smell’ different just because you have placed a couple of air purifying plants around the indoor space.