Whether you suffer from allergies or you’re conscious of the negative impact of poor air quality, you may be worried about the dust, pet hair, or pollen that makes its way into your home on a regular basis. But that’s where air-purifying indoor plants can help.
The best air purifiers on the market have quickly become the Ideal Home team’s go-to appliance, but a study has revealed that houseplants can also remove toxins from the air while subsequently improving air quality, helping you sleep better, boosting your mood, and enhancing your overall health and wellbeing.
Plus, you can never have too many plants, right? By adding the best air-purifying indoor plants to your houseplant ideas, you can quite literally breathe easy, knowing that they’re both practical and naturally beautiful.
Best air-purifying indoor plants
Even the cleanest of homes can be riddled with invisible toxins that pose a risk to your health, which is why it’s always important to consider air purifying qualities when buying indoor plants. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the 12 best air-purifying indoor plants you can buy.
1. Snake plant
If you’re a houseplant novice and looking for an unkillable air-purifying indoor plant, look no further than the snake plant. It’s incredibly easy to care for a snake plant, and its unusual snake-like leaves also make it a stylish addition to any home.
Lucy Rhead, gardening enthusiast and Marketing Manager at Gtech, says, ‘One of the easiest plants to look after, snake plants can remove toxins from the air, and they also produce ample oxygen while adding moisture back into your home, which can help to reduce your risk of illness.’
‘Snake plants also require very little maintenance, so if you forget to water them for a week, they will still be standing strong. A snake plant also costs on average around £10, making it a low-cost way to purify the air in your home.’
Plus, it’s also incredibly easy to propagate a snake plant, which means you can essentially have an unlimited supply of air-purifying plants.
Lucy has worked at Gtech for more than five years during which time she’s developed a passion for cleaning and gardening. Lucy loves learning about new product innovations, and how they can help make everyone’s lives a bit easier.
When you think of houseplants, you probably don’t think of chrysanthemums. These big bloomers are usually reserved for your outdoor garden ideas or your big floral bouquets - but if you care for them properly, they can make incredible air-purifying indoor plants.
Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench, says, ‘Chrysanthemums mainly help to remove dangerous toxins such as ammonia, which is found in the likes of cleaning products and even glue.’
Interestingly, it’s the flowers of the chrysanthemum (rather than the leaves) that can remove these toxins. This means that you need to take good care of your chrysanthemum plant, and if you find that the flowers start to drop or die, you’ll need to replace the plant as it will no longer offer air-purifying qualities.
Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field and has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. Steve is a keen educator and loves to share this knowledge with others. He strives to simplify complex garden practices and encourage eco-friendly gardening.
3. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is a definite all-rounder in the indoor plant game. Not only is it one of the best plants for reducing condensation and damp in your home, but you can also extract the aloe vera gel to treat burns, use it as a beauty product, or even add it to your meals.
As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also one of the best indoor plants to remove toxins from the air, including formaldehyde and benzene, which can be found in many chemical cleaners and detergents.
Thankfully, aloe vera is also very easy to care for, and it thrives best in a sunny spot. So, you might want to make some space on your windowsill for this one.
4. Spider plant
Unkillable houseplants don’t come cooler than the spider plant. With their spindly leaves and plantlets (often called spiderettes, babies or pups), these plants are incredibly quirky - but that’s not all they have to offer.
Spider plants can also successfully remove xylene, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide from the air, and they’re completely safe for pets.
As long as spider plants have some form of light (even if it's artificial) and are watered on a semi-regular basis, they should thrive for years on end. In fact, they might even take over your house!
5. Peace lily
With glossy green leaves and long-lasting white flowers, peace lilies are a stunning addition to any home. And while it’s fairly easy to care for a peace lily, they do still have some rather high-maintenance requirements.
Not only do you have to dust your peace lily, but you also need to ensure that they’re kept out of direct sunlight and sheltered from draughts. Doing so will allow you to reap the rewards of this air-purifying indoor plant, though.
Lucy explains, ‘Not only will it add moisture to a dry room, but it can also absorb mould spores in the air, keeping your home fresh.’
6. Chinese money plant
No, a Chinese money plant doesn’t grow £20 notes. And while we wish it quite literally grew money, that’s not to say that the money plant doesn’t have its uses.
Associated with luck and prosperity, the Chinese money plant is also one of the best air-purifying houseplants out there. The flat, circular leaves are able to remove common toxins found in the likes of fabrics, carpets, and paints - which means they’re perfect for use in the home.
Just remember that Chinese money plants do like consistent temperatures, so they won’t fare well in bathrooms or kitchens. And if you’re looking for some extra luck you can also learn how to propagate a Chinese money plant to add a few more to your home for free.
There are so many ways to use ivy in your garden, but this plant doesn’t have to live outside if you don’t want it to. More and more people are using ivy as a houseplant, largely due to the fact that it's an efficient air-cleaning plant.
Not only does it remove the likes of trichloroethylene, formaldehyde and benzene from the air, but Steve also explains that it’s the perfect plant for a very specific room in the house. He says, ‘‘This plant has been found to reduce any faecal toxins from the air, meaning that it's great for placement in bathrooms.’
Plus, the trailing stems make it a stylish addition to bookcases, shelves, and shower caddies.
8. Gerbera daisy
Indoor plants are generally green and luscious, which is why the gerbera daisy is in a league of its own. Offering huge flowers in a whole host of bright and vibrant colours, this indoor plant will no doubt make a statement in your home, whether you’re looking for kitchen plant ideas or the best plants for the bedroom.
In fact, Lucy suggests choosing the latter location if you buy this air-purifying indoor plant. ‘The ideal plant to have in the bedroom, a Gerbera daisy removes toxins from the air and produces oxygen at night, helping you to get the best sleep you can this winter.’
‘The growth of these daisies can be started indoors, but when the weather begins to offer more sunlight, you may want to move them outside for a better bloom and greater longevity.’
9. Weeping fig / ficus
Whether you know it as a weeping fig or a ficus, there’s no denying the fact that this indoor plant has its uses. Of course, its beautiful mixture of light and dark green leaves makes it an attractive addition to your home, but its practical benefits definitely outweigh its appearance.
As weeping figs remove the likes of formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the air, they also replace them with oxygen to create a healthier and happier home for you and your family.
Because of this, they’re best placed in high-traffic areas such as the living room, kitchen, or even a home office.
10. Rubber plant
With its thick, hardy leaves, a rubber plant might not be your first plant of choice if you have a small home or if you prefer dainty plants. However, it’s fair to say that this plant is one of the best air-purifying indoor plants you can buy.
Steve says, ‘A rubber plant not only purifies the air but is a well-known humidifier, so it's great for fresh, clean air. These plants are also quite easy to look after, so are a great place to start if you're new to purifying house plants.’
Of course, it’s always best to check what the humidity level of a room should be if you decide to add humidifying plants to your home.
11. Bamboo palm
If you struggle to keep houseplants alive because your home lacks natural light, you’re in luck. While you might assume that tropical bamboo plants require sunlight to thrive, that’s not the case at all. They actually thrive in low-light conditions and also double up as a natural air purifier.
In fact, bamboo palms are especially popular with those looking to reduce the levels of formaldehyde in the air, as the long and arching leaves are famed for removing this toxin.
If you do choose to go down this route, just make sure that you water your bamboo palm regularly to maintain moist (but not waterlogged) soil during the growing season.
12. Pineapple plant
Always wanted to buy a pineapple plant but never been sure it was the right plant for you? Well, take this as your sign to finally buy one - or take this as your sign to finally grow a pineapple from the top.
Of course, to grow a pineapple plant you need to provide it with the best environment, which is somewhere warm and sunny like a kitchen or a conservatory. If you can provide that, you should be able to easily grow a pineapple plant.
You can then reap the air purifying rewards, which include its ability to remove harmful toxins while also providing fresh oxygen.
Which house plant purifies the air the most?
Countless air-purifying plants top the list, including chrysanthemums, bamboo palms, spider plants, aloe vera, and more.
However, during their Clean Air Study, NASA found that the best overall air-purifying plant for removing benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia is the chrysanthemum.
Which plant is best for indoor air quality?
If you’re looking to improve the indoor air quality of your home, opt for plants such as the spider plant, rubber tree, bamboo palm, peace lily, or any of the other air-purifying plants on this list.
All of them will remove harmful toxins from the air and release fresh oxygen, but you might also want to consider aesthetics when choosing these plants, as some plants may better suit your home decor style.
So, which air-purifying indoor plant (or five) will you be adding to your home?
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Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.
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