Plants that Purify the Air

Last Updated on May 9, 2024 by Peter Simmons

Plants that purify the air have been gaining popularity as a natural and aesthetically pleasing way to improve indoor air quality. This guide uncovers the benefits of these oxygenating plants and lists at least 28 of them.

Note: If you have breathing issues, you probably shouldn’t introduce live plants into your home. Because flowers produce pollen at some point. And pollen triggers trouble, according to Medical News Today. That said, there’s such a thing as allergy-friendly houseplants.

Do these plants eliminate the need to run an air purifier or air scrubber? Well, not quite, but they help.

How Air-Purifying Plants Work

Air-purifying plants remove toxins and pollutants from the air through a process called phytoremediation. Through their leaves and roots, these plants absorb harmful gases such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. These are common contaminants in indoor environments due to off-gassing from furniture, carpets, and household products.

Most importantly, these air-cleansing plants release oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis. The oxygen freshens the air while creating a more oxygen-rich environment. It’s a natural air purification process that improves air quality and introduces vitality to your spaces.

28 Plants That Clean Indoor Air

You’re about to meet some of the best houseplants that clean indoor air. I’m talking about (as an Amazon Associate, I may earn commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you) live houseplants, not those fake ones sold on Amazon. These plants have excellent air-purifying properties and add beauty and greenery to indoor spaces. Here’s a nice little list of NASA air purifying plants:

1. Aloe Vera

aloe vera cleans air

According to this NASA study, there’s a bunch of plants that have the ability to remove pollutants from the air. Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis, is one of them.

This plant absorbs airborne toxins and environmental pollutants, such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. It releases oxygen during the night while taking in carbon dioxide, which helps flush out toxins and improve indoor air quality.

Places with a higher concentration of chemicals, like the kitchen or bathroom, benefit massively from aloe vera’s great air-purifying properties. It can also help regulate humidity in indoor environments, benefiting people with allergies or respiratory problems.

2. Kimberly Queen Fern

Kimberly Queen Ferns

Studies reveal Kimberly Queen Ferns can remove 90–100% of formaldehyde from indoor air, depending on concentration levels. The plant’s leaves, roots, and soil microorganisms aid in this process.

They tolerate high formaldehyde levels without impacting growth. Which makes them ideal for indoor air purification.

Besides formaldehyde, they remove VOCs like toluene and xylene, making them versatile natural air purifiers. Placing multiple medium-sized to large Kimberly Queen Ferns in a room noticeably improves indoor air quality.

3. Rubber Tree

rubber tree

A native of south and southeast Asia, the rubber tree is also known as rubber bush, rubber tree, rubber plant, Indian rubber bush, or Indian rubber tree.

It absorbs harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, and carbon monoxide from the air. The plant has its leaves’ large surface area to thank for this ability.

The study “Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement” identified rubber plants as top performers. And subsequent research supports this claim. Also, they absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and remove up to 60% of airborne mold spores and bacteria.

4. The Snake Plant

calathea

The snake plant purifies the air by absorbing toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene. It thrives in low-light conditions and requires minimal watering. It’s an ideal choice for busy folks.

Its upright growth pattern adds visual interest to any space. According to research published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research, snake plants are decent natural air purifiers.

5. English Ivy

The English Ivy (Hedera helix) takes air-polluting VOCs like benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene out of the air. However, it may not eliminate indoor pollutants like pet dander or pollen.

6. Philodendron Heartleaf

Philodendron Heartleaf

Its ease of growth, low-light tolerance, and trailing growth habit make it a good match for shelves, hanging baskets, and tabletops.

Like most options on this air-cleaning houseplants list, the heartleaf philodendron is a great way to tackle benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.

To optimize their air-purifying abilities, provide bright, indirect light, regular watering, and increased humidity through misting. In addition, nourish them with balanced fertilizer to sustain vigorous growth and strengthen filtration capabilities.

7. Peace Lily

peace lily

NASA identifies the Peace Lily as one of the best plants for filtering air. It does a great job of absorbing harmful chemicals through its leaves and roots. Aside from that, it adds moisture to the air so you can breathe better.

It’s low-maintenance, needs minimal care, and performs well in low-light conditions. These qualities make it a good houseplant for cleaning homes and offices.

How do you care for it? Provide indirect sunlight and consistent temperatures (65–80 °F). Also, give them some organic fertilizer in spring/summer and water when the plant starts drooping.

8. Weeping Fig Tree

weeping fig purifies indoor air

This low-maintenance choice takes care of indoor contaminants such as formaldehyde and xylene. It also adds natural beauty to your rooms. The best place to position it is near east-facing windows. Because it needs bright, indirect light.

It’s adaptable to various indoor environments and helps improve your home’s humidity.

If you give it proper care, it grows more majestic over time, and you can easily propagate it.

9. Bromeliad Vriesea Vogue (pet-friendly)

Bromeliad Vriesea Vogue

Research indicates that bromeliads, such as the Vriesea Vogue, have decent volatile organic compounds (VOCs) removal ability.

An American Chemical Society study found that one bromeliad can eliminate over 80% of six VOCs. Like many other competitors, bromeliads are non-toxic and pet-friendly.

10. Red-Edged Dracaena (Dragon Tree)

Red-Edged Dracaena (Dragon Tree)

The red-edged dracaena was also featured in the NASA Clean Air Study. This natural air cleaner is one of the best natural air cleaners out there.

It reduces formaldehyde, xylene, and trichloroethylene. It’s also a low-maintenance houseplant and doesn’t need direct sunlight to grow.

You’ll always love looking at its thin, linear leaves with deep green color and red edges. What else does your coffee table need when it has this houseplant?

11. Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisy

It can remove up to 67% of benzene and 35% of trichloroethylene within 24 hours. Also, half of airborne formaldehyde is eliminated within the same timeframe, as per a study.

Consistently ranked among the top air-purifying houseplants, Gerbera Daisy’s cheerful appearance complements its air-cleaning prowess.

These vibrant flowers filter pollutants like trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde. Gerbera Daisies release oxygen at night, boosting their air-purifying abilities. They outperform other plants in cleaning indoor air, raising humidity levels, and reducing indoor dust.

12. Spider Plant

Spider Plant

The Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) efficiently purifies indoor air by absorbing chemicals like formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, and carbon monoxide. NASA research shows it can remove up to 95% of indoor formaldehyde.

It’s easy to grow, adaptable, and does well in various light conditions. It produces small white flowers and plantlets, lending a unique spider-like charm to indoor spaces.

13. Chrysanthemums (For People Without Pets)

chrysanthamum

Research has found that chrysanthemums are effective in removing benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and ammonia.

However, mums can be toxic if ingested by pets like cats and dogs. Unlike some, mums love sunlight, so consider placing the potted plant near a south-facing window.

14. Chinese Evergreen

Chinese Evergreen

The Chinese Evergreen, or Aglaonema, gets rid of toxins like formaldehyde and benzene. It absorbs pollutants, primes humidity, and emits oxygen, improving indoor air quality.

Studies reveal its efficacy in poorly ventilated areas with high pollutant levels. Besides, it’s low-maintenance and adapts to various light conditions. What’s more, its diverse leaf patterns add aesthetic appeal to any room.

15. Bamboo Palm

bamboo palm

This is another natural air filter that’s good at taking out formaldehyde and benzene. It also adds moisture to the space, functioning as a natural humidifier. Like the Broad Lady Palm and a few others, the Bamboo Palm is an ideal choice for homes with pets.

16. Broad Lady Palm: Great for Pets

Broad Lady Palm

The Broad Lady Palm’s prowess rids indoor air of impurities such as formaldehyde and benzene. The plant absorbs these chemicals and releases oxygen while helping your room’s humidity levels.

This low-maintenance choice is a versatile option that prospers in diverse lighting conditions.

Are you wondering if there’s an air-cleaning plant that’s pet-safe? The Broad Lady Palm is probably the most pet-friendly houseplant.

17. Barberton Daisy

Barberton Daisy

Barberton Daisy takes care of formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene found in household materials like paints and cleaning products.

NASA’s Clean Air Study confirms its effectiveness in removing 4,486 μg/h of benzene and 3,205 μg/h of formaldehyde. To maximize its air-purifying abilities, place it in a well-lit room with moist, well-drained soil. Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.

18. Boston Fern

boston fern

This option removes formaldehyde emitted by carpets, furniture, and other household items. They absorb pollutants such as xylene, toluene, and formaldehyde, improving indoor air quality while releasing fresh oxygen.

These plants are aesthetically pleasing and boost indoor humidity, creating a healthier environment.

19. Kentia Palm

Kentia Palm

Also known as the Thatch Palm or Paradise Palm, it pulls harmful chemicals from indoor air. Studies show it’s particularly good at filtering formaldehyde, a common indoor pollutant.

With large, flat fronds, it adds a lush, elegant touch to indoor spaces. And it does well in bright, indirect light. Slow-growing, it requires minimal maintenance and occasional repotting. Besides decontaminating the air, it promotes relaxation and focus with its tropical charm.

20. Sword Ferns

sword fern

Studies have documented the air-purifying capabilities of sword ferns. This fern type can absorb gases through its leaves and roots.

It aids in the removal of pollutants like formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene, and other toxins. Also, it adds a natural feel to the space, reminding you of the great outdoors.

21. ZZ Plant

zz plant

The ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) has demonstrated that it is remarkably effective in purifying indoor air. Its cleaning power targets various pollutants, including formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like toluene.

Research indicates that when paired with Sansevieria (snake plant), they can reduce these pollutants by over 95% in 48 hours.

22. Sansevieria Moonshine

Sansevieria trifasciata

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Moonshine’ is a sought-after variant of the Snake Plant. It thrives in well-lit indoor spaces and is tougher than most (it requires minimal care). It has pale, faintly banded, silver-gray foliage. The leaves gradually turn deep green at the margins and tips.

Also, it’s good at cleaning indoor air. Like other Sansevieria varieties, it absorbs toxins and harmful substances such as nitrogen oxides, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.

It releases oxygen and moisture into the air, which can help reduce airborne allergens like dust and dander.

23.Calathea

Calathea

Calathea plants stand out due to their stunning, patterned foliage. They add an exotic feel to any room.

Their vibrant colors and intricate patterns not only enhance aesthetics but also contribute to air purification by filtering out harmful compounds.

They require a warm and brightly lit environment, though direct sunlight can damage them

24.Croton

croton

Many homeowners love this houseplant for its vibrant foliage and color-rich leaves. The bold and colorful leaves also serve as effective air purifiers that filter out toxins.

Croton is a tropical plant, and it’s best to grow it in conditions that mimic its natural environment. To do this, provide adequate watering and humidity. While they require regular watering, avoid overwatering because it can lead to root rot.

25.Clivia

clivia plant to clean indoor air

Clivia houseplants are prized for their lovely, strap-shaped, dark-green leaves and ability to flourish with minimal attention.

These resilient plants not only improve indoor air quality but also enliven spaces with their bright orange blooms. The best way to maintain this natural air cleanser is to position it away from intense sunlight.

26.Pineapple Plant

pineapple can remove toxins from air

A variety of Bromeliad, the humble pineaple makes a striking addition to any home, thanks its sizable leaves and dramatic foliage. It makes a statement while also doing a great job of decontaminating the air. Plus, pineapples taste like a little heaven, don’t they?

If you’re looking to infuse your interiors with a touch of the exotic while keeping them nice and clean, plant pineapples.

This one needs warm, sunny conditions, so place it near natural light. It has modest water needs, so it’s best to wait until the soil has dried out before watering. When watering your pineapple, direct the streams to both the leaves and soil.

27. The Flamingo Lily

 Flamingo Lily

The Flamingo Lily, commonly known as Anthurium, boasts vibrant salmon-red, heart-shaped leaves that add a splash of color to your room. Most importantly, they serve as an excellent natural air purifier that works for rural and urban residents.

For optimal growth, place your Flamingo Lily in well-lit areas, and be sure to avoid direct sunlight. Water it once or twice a week to maintain its health. These plants do well in humid environments, and this makes them a great choice for spaces like bathrooms and kitchens.

However, like chrysanthemums, they should be kept away from pets. Because they’re toxic if ingested.

28. Cheese Plant

People on Instagram seem to love the cheese plant. It has glossy, uniquely split leaves that add a hint of natural creativity to any indoor space.

But their visual appeal isn’t the only reason people love them. These plants help control contaminants like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.

cheese plant

Be sure to place this marvel of nature in a spot that’s shielded from direct sunlight. Also, make sure to water them as soon as the soil dries out. To maintain their luster, occasionally wipe the leaves with a damp cloth.

One more thing: be ready to provide a moss pole to support this climbing houseplant when the time comes.

Air-Purifying Plants FAQs

1. Which Are the Top 5 Air Purifying Plants?

What is the best indoor plant to clean the air? The Spider Plant, Snake Plant, Peace Lily, Aloe Vera, and English ivy always top the best air-cleaning houseplant list.

They’re highly efficient at removing common indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene from the air.

However, the best indoor plant to clean the air may vary depending on factors such as the size of the space, lighting conditions, and personal preferences.

2. Is It Dangerous to Have Plants in Your Bedroom?

Having plants in your bedroom is not dangerous and can actually have several benefits. Plants release oxygen during the day and absorb carbon dioxide, which can help improve air quality and promote better sleep.

However, some people may be allergic to certain types of plants or may experience discomfort if the air becomes too humid due to excessive plant watering. It’s essential to choose non-toxic plants and ensure proper ventilation in the bedroom.

3. Which Plant Gives Oxygen 24 Hours?

Put another way, what indoor plant gives off the most oxygen? All plants release oxygen during photosynthesis. But certain plants, such as the Snake Plant and Aloe Vera, continue to produce oxygen even at night.

These plants have the ability to perform a type of photosynthesis called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM). This process allows them to store carbon dioxide during the day and release oxygen at night. CAM plants are particularly efficient at oxygen production.

4. How Do Air Purifying Plants Purify the Air?

Air-purifying plants purify the air through a process called phytoremediation. This process involves the plants absorbing harmful pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene through their leaves and roots.

Once absorbed, these toxins are broken down and neutralized by enzymes within the plant.

They release oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis, which helps to freshen the air and create a more oxygen-rich environment.

5. Are Plants Better Than Air Purifiers?

Both plants and air purifiers have their advantages when it comes to improving indoor air quality. Plants have the added benefit of being natural and aesthetically pleasing. Air purifiers are often more efficient at removing specific pollutants from the air.

If you want the best air quality possible, grow a bunch of indoor air-purifying plants and run a quality air purifier.

What are you waiting for? Head over to Amazon and get a bunch of these air-cleaning trees. Let’s keep your indoor spaces nice and clean, naturally.

So how many of these natural air cleaners resonated with you? Head over to Amazon and check out a few of them.

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