Best Houseplants for Air Quality
Although there are some exceptions, the air outside is usually cleaner than the air inside the home. This is because there is less ventilation and our use of the home creates air pollution. Whether this is from cooking, heating the home or even from our bodily waste, there are harmful chemicals which can be found in the atmosphere of the home. These include formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, toluene, acetone, carbon dioxide and ammonia. Some of these have a proven carcinogenic effect. They can come from plastic bags, varnishes, solvents, synthetic fibers, cookers, cleaning products and much more.
For this reason, we need to find ways to help keep our air purified. Ventilation is one helpful method, but plants can be the perfect ally in keeping our home's air clean. At oneHOWTO, we provide our list of the best houseplants for air quality. These air-purifying indoor plants will not only make your home look beautiful, they will help to maintain your health.
- Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)
- Broadleaf lady palm (Rhapis excelsa)
- Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
- Indian rubber bush (Ficus elastica)
- English ivy (Hedera helix) and cornstalk dracaena (dracaena deremensis)
- Pygmy date palm (Phoenix roebelenii) and banana-leaf fig (Ficus maclellandii)
- Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and peace lily (Spathiphyllum)
Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)
Perhaps the best of all plants to eliminate toxins from the air. It removes chemicals like formaldehyde, xylene, toluene and carbon dioxide from cigarettes. The areca palm releases moisture, managing to keep your home or office cool in hot, dry spells. In winter, it can even replace the use of electric humidifiers. It is also a very hardy plant, although we need to be careful not to overwater it.
Learn more with our article on how to care for an areca palm plant.
Broadleaf lady palm (Rhapis excelsa)
The Broadleaf Lady Palm, or simply the bamboo palm, is a pretty rustic indoor palm that resists both a lack of light and irrigation. It eliminates formaldehyde and benzene. It is such a houseplant, it is not found in the wild. This is due to its original cultivation. It can grow up to 4 meters in height, so you will need to ensure it is located somewhere suitable. However, their size adds to their air-purifying ability.
Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
Although the broadleaf lady palm is sometimes known as the bamboo palm, it is Chamaedorea seifrizii which is most commonly referred to by this name. It is also known as a parlor palm or reed palm. It is a lovely indoor plant that tolerates dim light. It removes formaldehyde and benzene from the air. It also provides humidity. It is very useful for purifying the interior of remote areas which are far away from the sea or rivers. It will also provide moisture to the drier environments of the house.
Indian rubber bush (Ficus elastica)
The Indian rubber bush is also known by many names. These include the rubber fig, rubber plant, and Indian rubber tree. It is an excellent plant for removing formaldehyde from the environment. Despite being able to remove toxins from the air, its leaves can be toxic. You will need to be careful if you have pets that chew leaves.
If you are having trouble with your houseplants, our article on why your indoor plants aren't growing may be of help.
English ivy (Hedera helix) and cornstalk dracaena (dracaena deremensis)
The cornstalk dracaena is one of the most effective plants in removing trichloroethylene from the air. This is a chemical commonly emitted by photocopiers. It also eliminates formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. Bright and radiant, the dracena is a houseplant that purifies the air wherever it is placed.
English ivy is considered a solution for allergies as it eliminates up to 60% of mold in the air. This plant is especially good for people with asthma, allergies, or the desire to breathe cleaner air. This is because it helps reduce the spores which carry these allergens throughout the home. Furthermore, this is a houseplant which removes formaldehyde.
Pygmy date palm (Phoenix roebelenii) and banana-leaf fig (Ficus maclellandii)
The pygmy date palm is one of the most elegant palm trees for indoors and the most widespread in use. It is very effective at removing xylene in air, which can result from caulking, adhesives, floor coverings, wall coverings, paint, and particleboard. It also eliminates formaldehyde and toluene.
The Banana-Leaf Fig, also known a the Alii fig, can survive in low light areas, although it is advisable to give it some direct sunlight. It is a type of ficus plant which helps purify any environment where there is a lack of clean air. It is a particular good houseplant for removing formaldehyde and carbon dioxide from cigarette smoke. It is recommended to wear gloves when handling the plant if you are allergic to latex.
Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and peace lily (Spathiphyllum)
Otherwise known as the sword fern, the Boston fern needs indirect light in good quantities, although they do tolerate dark areas. Irrigation needs to come from a tray beneath the plant, not in the aerial parts as they are prone to rotting. It is very effective in removing chemicals and humidity, but it requires more attention than the other plants on our list of air-purifying houseplants.
Peace lilies or spath are plants that adapt to areas with low light, but they grow best in bright environments. Avoid drafts, temperature changes and wetting the flowers. It is an excellent plant for the removal of formaldehyde, xylene, toluene and benzene. These plants also beautify our homes, purifying and renewing the air, helping to maintain our health.
There are some plants which are considered toxic, whether due to touching or ingestion. For this reason, they are not good to be kept in the home. Otherwise, most houseplants will go some way to help keeping the air purified and clean. Learn more with our article on the best houseplants for low light.
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