Wednesday, July 7, 2010

15 Houseplants to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Now that school is out and Summer is here, you would think we would all be outside playing, but with the temperature being nearly 100° for the last few weeks and the air quality being very poor, especially in our area (Charlotte ranks #10 on the list of Most Polluted Cities by Ozone), many have been opting to stay indoors more often. But be careful, you don’t want to escape the poor air quality outside only to sit in an enclosed space with equally poor, or often worse, air quality. With that in mind, here are 15 houseplants that will not only add aesthetic appeal, but will also help improve the air quality inside your home.

  1. Aloe (Aloe Vera) - This succulent helps clean formaldehyde and benzene, byproducts of chemical-based cleaners, paints and more, from the air. But beyond its abilities to cleanse the air, of course the gel inside can be used to heal burns and abrasions.
  2. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum) - The very resilient plant takes care of benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries.
  3. Heart Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium) - Warning: if you have kids or pets, Philodendrons are poisonous when eaten. If this is not a concern for you, they are fantastic for removing all types of VOCs, particularly formaldehyde from particle board.
  4. Azalea (Rhododendron Simsii) - This lovely flowering shrub helps to eliminate formaldehyde off-gasses from plywood or foam insulation. You should place them in the coolest area of your home, but make sure it still has receives ample sunlight.
  5. English Ivy (Hedera Helix) - This plant is for those with inside pets, particularly if they sometimes do their business in the house. This plant has been shown to reduce airborne fecal-matter particles. And as with the others, it also reduces formaldehyde.
  6. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum 'Deborah') - This plant filters out a variety of pollutants and its efficiency actually increases with time. It is easy to care for and will bloom even in low light.
  7. Gerber Daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii) - This colorful, flowering plant is effective in removing trichloroethylene, an industrial solvent used in dry cleaning and some food production. It also cleanses benzene from inks.
  8. Golden Pothos (Scindapsus Aures) - Another excellent plant for clearing formaldehyde. Plus, its a fast grower and does not require a lot of light.
  9. Red-edged Dracaena (Dracaena Marginata) - This plant is best for removing xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, which can be introduced to indoor air through lacquers, varnishes and gasoline.
  10. Warneck Dracaena (Dracaena Deremensis 'Warneckii') - This hardy plant combats pollutants from varnishes and oils and it can potentially reach 12 feet in height.
  11. Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Sefritzii) - Also known as a reed palm, its the top performer for filtering out benzene and trichloroethylene. Its also helpful for cleansing the formaldehyde which off-gasses from furniture.
  12. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum 'Mauna Loa') - This easy to keep plant topped NASA’s list for removing all three of most common VOCs — formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. It can also combat toluene and xylene.
  13. Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata 'Laurentii') - This is one of the best plants for filtering out formaldehyde commonly found in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. It will thrive in the bathroom with low-light and steamy conditions.
  14. Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium Morifolium) - The blooms of this mum help clean benzene, which is commonly found in glue, paint, plastics and detergent.
  15. Weeping Fig (Ficus Benjamina) - Ficus trees clean out pollutants that typically accompany carpeting and furniture such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.
This information comes from a study conducted by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America and has been further tested with findings published in the Journal of American Society of Horticultural Science. If you don't recognize some of the plant names, rest assured, these are all common plants which should be easily found at your local nursery. If you have pets, make sure to check out this website first to see which ones can be toxic for animals: Also, consider placing some of these plants in your work place if possible. Commercial buildings have notoriously poor air quality and with so many of us spending the majority of our lives at work, it only makes sense. Plus, it will brighten your days! Happy Cleansing!


  1. There are some homes which have indoor plants. Some say that plants help minimize heat and radiation inside your home. Aside from indoor plants, fixing or windows replacement is helpful for ventilating your home. When I moved to St. Louis, I fixed windows so I fresh air will pass easily. With that I don't need to use my air con much.

  2. Hi,
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