House plants can purify air in your home

 In Indoor Plants

House plants can purify air in your home and that message is now getting through! House plants are not only great to look at but they are good for your health too!

Indoor plants, and especially those with attractive foliage – rather than flowers – are in demand and sales are very much up!

I don’t think that this is as a result of any aggressive sales promoting or any new initiative. It’s just that we are all realizing that having plants in our homes and work places is a good thing.

You see plants are very good air-purifiers. Modern fabrics, furnishings and even cleaning products that we use in the home are giving off noxious gases that are not good for our health.

What are the main toxins?

I’m thinking in particular of benzene, formaldehyde, trichloro-ethylene and other unpleasant things that find their way into our homes.

These invariably are introduced by the furnishings and cleaners that we use and they release toxins into the air that we breathe.

Who has done the research?

NASA carried out some particularly useful research that showed that plants were capable of removing almost 90% of the toxins found in a home within just 24 hours.

This has been backed up by further research at Pennsylvanian State University and the University of Georgia.

coloured leaf houseplants

Dieffenbachia, Fatsia and Ficus

But of course, those toxins continue to be released and pollute the air we breathe.

So a few happy looking indoor plants in each room will continue to work at cleaning up the air we breathe day after day! And what’s more they will lift our mood too!

Let’s take a closer look at which house plants can purify air in our homes and workplaces.


Which are the best house plants to use?

We know that most plants will purify the air but some are better at it than others.

Fortunately, most of the widely available indoor plants are good air-purifiers but it’s good to have a mixture and here are some of the best-

Indoor rubber plants, weeping figs. ficus

Starlight Weeping Fig

Ficus – both the ‘Rubber Plant’ type and the ‘Weeping Fig’ are excellent and very easy to look after.

Ficus are often used in offices and shops as they will tolerate a big range of environmental conditions.

Philodendron – this is perhaps typified by the ‘Swiss Cheese Plant’ and there are many other large leaf climbing forms.

These eventually need a lot of space but those big leaves are great air-purifiers.

Scindapsis – smaller leaves than Philodendron and often referred to as the ‘Devil’s Ivy’ or Pothos. More details here.

Perhaps it’s a more suitable plant for smaller places.

Ferns – such as the ‘Boston’ or ‘Ladder Fern’ .

These are a bit more tolerant to forgetting to water than perhaps the dainty looking Maidenhair fern.

All do well in darker corners.

Areca palm

Areca palm

Indoor Palms – Kentia [Howea] and Areca palms are dramatic looking air purifying plants. They look great in the home as well as the work place.

Dracaena – the ‘Dragon Tree’ has narrow strap-like leaves and is a very easy indoor plant to grow.

Chlorophytum – the ‘Spider Plant’ is perhaps the easiest of all to please and has the added bonus of producing new plants at the ends of shoots that it produces!

English Ivy – both green and variegated forms of this little plant are good air purifiers.

Spathiphyllum – the ‘Peace Lily’ not only has attractive leaves but also striking white flowers too. See title pic.


But house plants produce CO 2 at night don’t they?

mother in laws tongue, sanseveria

Sansevieria laurentii among foliage houseplants

Now there are a few plants that, unlike most others produce oxygen at night [rather than carbon dioxide] and these are good plants for bedrooms.

Aloe vera and ‘Mother-in-Law’s Tongue’ are excellent and require very little water.

To this we can add the Christmas or Easter cactus and even members of the Bromeliad family.

I suspect however that the latter would prefer the higher humidity of bathrooms and kitchens.



As you can see, there is no shortage of choice or of variety.

A tip that I’ve found works well is to place a group with similar light needs but contrasting foliage shape and colour together as they seem to be happier that way.

Take a look around your home and place of work now and ask yourself today “Am I doing all I can to purify the air that I breathe?”

Is there a plant in every room of your home and are those plants the best air-purifying varieties?

Can you persuade your boss to provide a few plants in the office and show him how important a role house plants have in providing a better working environment?

You may care to learn where many of these house plants originate. Read here about where I found many growing in Brazil.

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