Some scientists have suggested that choosing the right air purifying plants for your home can help detoxify the air in your living spaces, meaning your houseplants not only look lovely but work a little harder to clean the air you breathe in.
Clean Air Study found that there are a number of air purifying plants that can detoxify your home from the airborne toxins, dusts and germs that can be found in a variety of household products, materials and furniture.
A follow-up study in 2019 confirmed that, to make a substantial difference to the air quality inside your home, you would need a large number of house plants working together to clean the air – up to 93. But, with houseplants becoming an interior design trend that looks like it’s here to stay, we might as well choose one that will go some of the way to improve the air we breathe, if not all of it.
To give your home a healthy breath of fresh air, here’s our list of the best air purifying plants and where to keep them…
1. BARBERTON DAISY
As well as injecting a cheerful burst of red, yellow, orange or pink into your home, the Barberton daisy is an effective cleanser of the toxins formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene, found in a range of household materials from paints to synthetic fibres.
Care advice: Place the plant in a room with plenty of natural light and keep the soil moist but well-drained.
2. ENGLISH IVY
This easy-growing perennial vine is particularly effective at reducing airborne faecal particles which makes it the perfect air purifier for your bathroom or en suite. In addition, studies have shown that the ivy can also help combat mould levels in the home.
Care advice: Provide your English ivy with generous watering and four hours of direct sunlight a day, and it will return the love to you with clean, detoxified air.
3. SNAKE PLANT OR MOTHER-IN-LAW’S TONGUE
With this plant in your bedroom, you’re in for a great night’s sleep. Also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, this yellow-tipped succulent releases oxygen at night, helping you to breathe better while sleeping. It is one of the best plants for filtering the air of formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene.
Care advice: Be mindful not to overwater, as the roots are prone to rot in moist soil.
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.
5. SPIDER PLANT
For those of you who are houseplant newbies, the resilient spider plant is the perfect choice. It will quietly battle toxins including carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the printing and rubber industries. If you have pets, this is one of the few houseplants that is non-toxic to animals.
Care advice: You can also repot the tiny ‘spiderettes’ and grow a whole family of plants that will pretty much take care of themselves… and you.
6. ALOE VERA
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.
7. BROAD LADY PALM
This is one of the few plants that can help reduce levels of ammonia that can be found in a range of cleaning products. They are expensive to buy fully-grown so you might want to shop around for a smaller one or start from seed.
Care advice: Humidity-loving, this plant will be very happy in your bathroom.
8. RED-EDGED DRACAENA OR DRAGON TREE
Trichloroethylene and xylene are amongst the pollutants fought by this spiky, slow-growing plant. The leaves have a bright red trim which add a flash of colour to your home.
Care advice: This plant has the potential to grow to 8ft, so keep it in a room with high ceilings and reasonable sunlight.
9. WEEPING FIG
Popular houseplants since the Victorian times, weeping figs can help to tackle levels of formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.
Care advice: They are fairly fussy plants that don’t like change. Keep your weeping fig in bright, indirect light away from drafts, and it will be a trusty purifier for many years to come.
10. CHINESE EVERGREEN
This tropical plant is proven to be an effective cleanser of formaldehyde and benzene, found in detergents and cosmetics.
Care advice: The Chinese evergreen enjoys low-lit and humid conditions, so will thrive in your bathroom. If you choose to keep the plant somewhere else, remember to mist the leaves occasionally to prevent browning.