We already know that through photosynthesis, plants help us by taking carbon dioxide from the air and releasing pure oxygen into the atmosphere. Ever since NASA investigated the potential for plants to clean the air of super-sealed space stations in the 1980s, people have been inspired to improve their environments with houseplants.
According to a study in HortScience journal, Hemigraphis alternata, the purple waffle plant, is very efficient in removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzene, toluene, and octane. These common indoor pollutants come from everyday household items like paint, cleaners, hair spray, and even dry-cleaned clothes. Purple waffle plant has deeply puckered foliage, which gives it an extra-large leaf surface area to do its air cleaning job. The reverse sides of the leaves on this low-growing plant are purple, which contrast handsomely with the deep green leaves. Keep waffle plants moist, and give it bright light to maintain the vibrant purple color.
Dwarf or Pygmy palms are the babies of the palm family. They are relatively easy to grow in partial shade, growing up to six to 10 feet with their fronds reaching six foot too! Toxins removed: formaldehyde and xylene.
Brighten up your kitchen or living room with a chrysanthemum. These pretty blooms help to filter out a host of toxins including ammonia and benzene, which is often found in plastics, detergents, and glue. Care advice: This plant loves sunlight, so place it in a spot near a sunbathed window.
A healing aloe plant is a lovely addition to your kitchen windowsill, as it loves a sunny spot. While being on hand to soothe any kitchen burns, this succulent will be purifying the air of formaldehyde and benzene, found in varnishes, floor finishes, and detergents. Care advice: This plant will thrive in a sunny location.
A type of Bromeliad, Pineapple Plants create quite the statement in the home. With dramatic foliage and large leaves, these are known for purifying the air and removing harmful toxins. Ideal if you're looking to add a touch of the exotic to your interiors. Care advice: Pineapple Plants love warm, sunny conditions so they're best kept close to sunlight or in a conservatory. They don't need a lot of water, so wait until the soil has dried out before watering, and then water the leaves and soil.
Also known as a spathiphyllum, peace lilies are an easy and undemanding plant to look after. Their glossy green leaves make the perfect addition to any room especially those spots with low light. Keep them happy with a weekly water and fertilise with a slow-release fertiliser in spring to promote growth and those glorious white flowers. Toxins removed: benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene
Spider plants are the perfect choice for newbies and those with a bad track record when it comes to plants. They thrive in indirect sunlight and survive in just about any condition (they’ve been known to survive in temperatures as low as 2 degrees). Spider plants also send out shoots of baby spider plants called spiderettes. Toxins removed: formaldehyde and xylene.
Plant otherwise known as the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue is unique for its nighttime oxygen production, and ability to purify air through the removal of benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene. Care Advice: The Snake Plant does well in window light and needs to be watered weekly. For one person, six to eight waist level plants are recommended. In an air-sealed room, these plants are capable of producing enough oxygen to breathe normally. Best Placement: The Bedroom
Featured by NASA, the Money Plant is renowned for its ability to remove chemicals and other pollutants from the air, specifically benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene. However, despite the benefit of its high purification rate, this plant is toxic to cats, dogs, and small children if its leaves are ingested. Care Advice: The Money Plant prefers indirect light and needs to be watered every week or so. For one person, three 18-inch plants are recommended. Best Placement: Any room but keep out of reach of pets or small children
Popular and inexpensive at garden stores in the fall, mums have beautiful blooms. These perennials are also great for plant interaction, since they’ll occasionally require some deadheading (the pinching off of spent flowers). Display them in a cool spot with less than 10 hours of sunlight. These plants are toxic to pets if eaten, so keep them out of reach. You can plant them outside in spring once the danger of frost is gone.