10 Houseplants That Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Today, January 10th, is “Houseplant Appreciation Day”. In honor
of this little-known holiday, we wanted to take a closer look at
the top ten houseplants that have the ability to naturally
improve the air quality in your home.
All of these indoor houseplants were analyzed by NASA in 1989.
They found that each had a unique way to naturally cleanse the
air of toxins that have a negative effect to your health. To read
the full report from NASA, please visit this link. In case you didn’t
want to read through NASA’s paper, we’ve summarized the top ten
houseplants that act as natural air purifiers.
If you don’t have an air purifier in your home, or just want to
take extra precautions, we would recommend adding a few of these
houseplants to the most important areas of your home. It’s a
great first step to improving the air quality inside your home.
1. Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)
Often referred to as a Peace Lily, this beautiful evergreen plant
is widely regarded to be easy to care for, even for those that
don’t have a green thumb. They require very little light or water
to remain healthy, which is one of the main reasons why they’re
one of the most popular plants to keep in your home. In fact,
Spathiphyllum should never be put in direct sun light,
as the rays of sun may lead to leaf burn. While they are great to
have inside your home, they also work remarkably well as a
groundcover around your home, especially in areas where grass is
hard to grow because of the shade.
NASA’s analysis of indoor houseplants revealed that the Peace
Lily was the most efficient at removing airborne Volatile Organic
Compounds, including formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene.
Simply put it in a dark corner, give it water once a week and
this little plant will help purify the air around that general
The major downside of Spathiphyllum, however, is that it
is mildly toxic to both humans and pets. If you ingest any part
of this plant, you may start to feel nauseous, experience
difficulty when swallowing, or feel a burning sensation in your
mouth or skin. If you start to feel any of these symptoms as a
result of ingesting Spathiphyllum then it would be wise
to seek medical help immediately.
2. Chrysanthemum morifolium (Florist’s Chrysanthemum)
Sometimes called Florist’s daisy or Hardy Garden Mum, this
houseplant is another popular perennial plant that people like to
have in their home. Unlike the Peace Lily, this houseplant loves
direct sunlight and a medium amount of water.
With the proper care and right type of soil, the
Chrysanthemum morifolium will start to produce lots of
beautiful blooms of various colors. These blooms not only help
brighten the room, they also help cleanse the air of many
chemicals that are common in homes. These include formaldehyde,
xylene, ammonia, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene.
Words of caution on this houseplant. While they are beautiful to
have around, they are also poisonous to animals. If your dog or
cat has ingested any part of this plant, they will likely
experience diarrhea, dermatitis, vomiting and a lack of
coordination. If your pet has consumed this plant, please call
your veterinarian as soon as possible.
3. Epipremnum aureum (Devil’s Ivy)
Often called Devil’s Ivy or Golden Pothos, this popular
houseplant is native to the Soloman Islands, but is can be found
growing all over the world. With evergreen vines and small green
heart-shaped leaves marbled with yellowish-white hues, this
houseplant is commonly sold in decorative hanging baskets. It is
best to keep Epipremnum aureum near a window, without
direct sunlight shining down on it. The soil should be peaty with
lots of moisture.
It’s one of the most popular houseplants not only because it
looks good in your home, but also because it’s extremely easy to
care for. The most important benefit of Epipremnum
aureum is that it is quite efficient at cleansing the air of
pollutants, such as benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene and
However, this is another plant that can be toxic when ingested,
especially for your pets. If you think your dog or cat has
ingested part of this plant, they will likely experience
vomiting, irritation and difficulty swallowing. Seek the advice
of your veterinarian if you believe your pet has consumed this
4. Dracaena reflexa (Red-Edged Dracaena)
Often called Red-Edged Dracaena or Pleomele, Dracaena
reflexa is an upright evergreen shrub that produces narrow
green, yellow or cream-colored leaves. Once the plant starts to
mature, you may notice small white flowers start to bloom,
shortly followed by small red-orange berries.
This low-maintenance plant is extremely popular in America not
just because it looks cool, but also because it takes little work
to keep it alive. All you need to do to keep this plant alive, is
keep it in an area with indirect sunlight and keep the soil
According to the NASA Clean Air Study, Dracaena reflexa
is one of the most efficient plants at removing formaldehyde from
the air in your home, as well as other VOCs, including benzene,
trichloroethylene, and xylene. However, keep your pets away from
this plant, as it can be toxic to animals when ingested.
5. Sansevieria trifasciata (Snake Plant)
Often referred to as Snake Plant or Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, this
evergreen perennial plant is another houseplant that is known to
improve your indoor air quality. According to NASA, it is one of
the best houseplants for absorbing airborne toxins, including
formaldehyde, nitrogen oxide, benzene, xylene and
Even though it is native to Western Africa, Sansevieria
trifasciatahas risen in popularity over the last few decades
and is now widely grown all over the world. It’s a great plant to
have indoors, as it can endure low amounts of light at long
durations. However, it prefers to have plenty of bright light.
Just make sure you don’t overwater this plant, as it is likely to
rot if the soil is too moist for too long.
If you have no houseplants around your home, then Sansevieria
trifasciata is one of the best for you to start off with.
They grow well both inside and out, and they require very little
maintenance. Just be careful if you have pets, as this plant may
be toxic when it is ingested.
6. Rhapis excelsa (Lady Palm)
Most commonly called the Lady Palm or Broadleaf Lady Palm,
Rhapis excelsa is another houseplant that would be
beneficial to have around your home.
With a maximum height of approximately six feet, Rhapis
excelsa is the perfect fan palm to have in a dark corner of
your home. They are able to tolerate low-levels of light, high
amounts of water and a wide range of temperatures. While this
houseplant does prefer to live in moist soil, it does need to
have the proper drainage available to avoid root rot.
Native to Asia, this evergreen perennial small palm can thrive in
both indoor and outdoor environments. The best part, is that the
NASA Clean Air Study discovered Rhapis excelsa to be one
of the best houseplants at cleansing the air of formaldehyde,
ammonia, xylene and toluene.
7. Anthurium andraeanum (Flamingo Lily)
Most commonly called a Flamingo Lily or Laceleaf, Anthurium
andraeanum is a beautiful evergreen plant that is most known
for its gorgeous flowers. According to the NASA Clean Air Study,
the Flamingo Lily was incredibly effective at removing airborne
formaldehyde, ammonia, toluene and xylene in your home or office.
Unfortunately, Anthurium andraeanum isn’t the easiest
plant to grow indoors. It is definitely not for those that don’t
have a green thumb. If you decide to grow this houseplant, be
sure you give it plenty of indirect light. The blooms love to
soak in the rays, and you’ll be rewarded for weeks with their
beauty. The hard part about this houseplant, is that it prefers
high-humidity environments. If relative humidity falls below 50%,
your plant may start to die. Having a humidifier in your home is
the easiest way to avoid this. You also want to make sure the
soil stays moist at all times.
Please note, Anthurium andraeanum is poisonous to both
humans and animals. Caution must be taken with small children and
pets. If they ingest any part of this plant, they will
immediately start to have difficulty swallowing, horseness and
blistering in their mouth and throat. If you experience any of
these symptoms, please seek medical help immediately.
8. Hedera helix (English Ivy)
Often called English Ivy or European Ivy, Hedera helix
is another popular houseplant that helps filter airborne toxins
inside your home. According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, English
Ivy is effective at cleansing benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and
toluene from the air. Additionally, other studies have indicated
that English Ivy also helps reduce mold in your home.
This evergreen climbing vine is extremely popular in outdoor
landscaping. You may have seen it used as ground-cover in areas
where grass doesn’t grow, or perhaps climbing up the side of a
wall or tree trunk. Because of its “carefree” nature, it has
grown in popularity over the years. However due to it spreading
aggressively, horticulturists say you should be hesitant in using
it outside and should only keep it as an indoor plant. This
prevents it from invading other plants around your home, and has
the added benefit of purifying the air in your home.
Caring for Hedera helix is relatively easy. Keep it at a
constant temperature, give it plenty of direct sunlight and water
generously with well-drained soil. If you can do these three
things, English Ivy will return the love with cleaner air in your
9. Gerbera jamesonii (Barberton Daisy)
Most commonly known as a Barberton Daisy, Gerbera
jamesonii is a beautiful flowering plant that is native to
Eastern Africa. While it is intended and mainly used for outdoor
use, it is becoming more popular to put them in containers for
indoor use. This may be a wise decision for your indoor air
quality, as NASA’s Clean Air Study found that Gerbera
jamesonii is effective at cleansing the air of formaldehyde,
benzene and trichloroethylene.
Barberton daisy’s prefer full sun, plenty of water and
well-drained soil. If you try to use this as an indoor
houseplant, make sure you have it in an area that has plenty of
natural light. It also thrives in moist soil. Be sure to keep the
soil moist as often as possible, without over-watering it.
Gerbera jamesonii is able to withstand a wide range of
temperatures, so you don’t need to be concerned with keep your
home at a specific temp.
10. Ficus benjamina (Weeping Fig)
Most commonly known as a Weeping Fig or Ficus tree, Ficus
benjamina is popular houseplant that is also very effective
at purifying the air in your home. According to NASA’s Clean Air
Study, Ficus benjamina was effective at cleansing
airborne formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.
This low-maintenance, evergreen plant grows well both inside and
out. If you use it as a houseplant, place it in an area that has
plenty of bright indirect natural light. If you place it directly
in the sun, it’s possible that the leaves will burn. Water it
frequently, but to avoid root rot allow the soil to dry before
adding more water. Ficus benjamina grows the best in
higher temperatures, much like you would have in your home, as
well as relative humidity levels above 50%.
Please note: this plant is poisonous to animals. If you have
pets, especially dogs and cats, you may want to take extra
precautions to make sure they do not ingest any part of this
plant. If they do ingest Ficus benjamina, they will
likely experience the following symptoms: vomiting, salivation,
and oral irritation. Seek help from your veterinarian