9 Easy Growing, Air Purifying House Plants

House PlantsAir Purifying House Plants and NASA

Most of us know that the indoor air quality of most buildings is downright terrible.  As a result, entire buildings are being labeled with sick building syndrome due to horrible air quality. The scientists over at NASA are quite aware of the issue, and its potential impact for crews in space.  Recently, NASA has unveiled a list of house plants that are most efficient at cleaning the air.  After reviewing the list, it turns out these house air purifying house plants, aren’t just easy on the eyes, but they are also incredibly easy to take care of.

Exactly what’s in our air?

The research studied how well various plants can filter out 5 chemicals.  The chemicals listed are commonly found in households due to being released by household items.  So first, we need to describe the 5 chemicals that the researchers tested our air purifying house plants with.

Trichloroethylene: This chemical with a long name is commonly used as an industrial solvent.  As a result, it is often found in paint thinners, inks, paints, varnishes, adhesives, etc.

Formaldehyde: Most of us have at least heard of formaldehyde, and it is used in a wide variety of applications. These include Paper bags, facial tissues, paper towels, particle board, plywood, synthetic fabrics, etc

Benzene: Benzene is considered to be a human carcinogen.  Since this the case, it’s use is very limited.  However, it is found in oil products.

Xylene: Xylene is found in industries such as printing, rubber, leather, and paint industries. Also, xylene can found in tobacco smoke and vehicle exhaust as well.

Ammonia: Most of us is also familiar with ammonia as well. Ammonia is found in window cleaners, floor waxes, fertilizers, and other cleaners.

Important note before continuing

Before we move forward and introduce you to the air purifying house plants,  it is worth noting that many of these plants are toxic to pets.  Therefore, if you have a pet, be sure to research any plants you introduce into your house for any toxicity.  Since I have small dogs, it’s easy to keep plants out of their reach.

Let’s meet the plants!

Below are the some of the best air purifiers around.  Many of these plants originated in tropical and subtropical environments.  Pair that with their ability to thrive in low light environments, and you get some great household plants.  Also, NASA recommends one plant per every 100 square feet.


By Joydeep, CC BY 3.0, Link

Devil’s Ivy / Money Plant – Epipremnum aureum

Pollutants Removed:  Benzene, Formaldehyde, Xylene

Toxic to Pets?: Yes

First, let me introduce the money plant. For those who truly have issues keeping plants alive, this is the plant for you. It is incredibly resilient, and its vines grow pretty fast.  Consequently, this is why the money plant makes a great starter plant.


By Forest & Kim Starr [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Dracaena – Dracaena Deremensis

Pollutants Removed:  Benzene, Formaldehyde,  Trichloroethylene

Toxic to Pets?: Yes

Commonly known as dragon trees, this plant features long leaves and can easily be grown indoors with low light and moderate watering. This houseplant can grow to over ten feet, but pruning can keep it at smaller sizes.


By Jerzy Opioła (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Boston Fern – Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’

Pollutants Removed:   Formaldehyde,  Xylene

Toxic to Pets?: No

Boston ferns are common house plants. These lovely plants need to be watered frequently.  Due to this, they also act as a humidifier.


By Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0, Link

Red-Edged Dracaena – Dracaena Marginata

Pollutants Removed:   Benzene, Formaldehyde, Trichloroethylene, Xylene

Toxic to Pets?: Yes

This house plant prefers medium light, but can withstand low light conditions. During the growing season, water frequently to keep the potting mixture moist. Never allow the pot to have standing water.


By MurielBendel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

English Ivy – Hedera Helix

Pollutants Removed:   Benzene, Formaldehyde, Trichloroethylene, Xylene

Toxic to Pets?: Yes

English Ivy excels at climbing. It uses the little roots on its stems to really hold on to things.  They prefer moist soil, and should not be placed in direct sunlight.


By Wildfeuer (Own work (own photo)) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Spider Plant – Chlorophytum Comosum

Pollutants Removed:   Formaldehyde, Xylene

Toxic to Pets?: No

Spider plants are very forgiving and easy to grow. They can adapt to a wide array of conditions. This plant is named for its spider-like foilage.


By Kurt Stüber [1] [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’

Pollutants Removed:   Benzene, Formaldehyde,  Trichloroethylene, Xylene, Ammonia

Toxic to Pets?: Yes

This common house plant requires medium to low light and is super easy to take care of. Not only that, but it is the best air purifying plant on this list!


By KENPEI (KENPEI’s photo) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.1 jp], via Wikimedia Commons

Lady Palm – Rhapis Excelsa

Pollutants Removed:   Formaldehyde,  Xylene, Ammonia

Toxic to Pets?: No

This house plant requires quite a bit of water during the spring and summer. Aside from that, it’s pretty easy to care for.


By KENPEI (KENPEI’s photo) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.1 jp], via Wikimedia Commons

Bamboo Palm – Chamaedorea Seifrizii

Pollutants Removed:    Formaldehyde, Xylene

Toxic to Pets?: No

This palm is smaller than most other palm, and is easy to grow in medium to low light conditions. Also, bamboo palms also act as a humidifier by releasing mositure into the air.


By Mokkie (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Variegated snake plant – Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Laurentii’

Pollutants Removed:   Benzene, Formaldehyde,  Trichloroethylene, Xylene

Toxic to Pets?: Yes

Snake plants are another adaptable plant. They can grow in low light and can even survive droughts.  Not to mention, they look great!

Wrap Up

Air purifying house plants are a great way to help keep toxins out of the air inside your home.  The ones on this list are excellent at removing toxins, are easy to take care of, and look awesome.  Be sure to sound off in the comments with your thoughts, and thanks for reading!

Air purifying house plants aren’t the only thing we cover here at gardening and tea.  Feel free to browse my other gardening articles.

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