15 Best Indoor Plants for Cleaner Air

House Plants Remove Pollutants and Toxins

Imagine using indoor plants for cleaner air!

You spend a lot of time indoors. In your house, in your office, in your car, shopping. Inside air can carry pollutants and toxins. Studies show that having indoor plants can remove the pollutants and toxins from the air.

Wanna know something that a lot of people don’t think to do? Bring the plants inside!

Plants with their lovely foliage and flowers are a welcome (and inexpensive, score!) addition to the interior of any home.

But, there are more benefits to them than just their good looks.

Indoor house plants have been shown to reduce stress and lift moods. Some studies even suggest that plants help improve workplace performance productivity when people have them grow within their workspace.

Plants can naturally absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful compounds from the air, acting as living air purifiers, absorbing chemical pollutants. And not only do they look good, but plants also produce oxygen and naturally add humidity to the air.

Want proof? Need hard and fast numbers to convince you? We’ve got that too. Let’s look at some of the studies to see how indoor plants can help purify the air and remove toxins.

What is Indoor Air Quality?

A survey by the U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) found that Americans spend 87 percent of their time indoors.

Since we spend so much time indoors, good indoor air quality is vital for good health!

Many factors contribute to indoor air quality. The EPA also found that indoor levels of pollutants might be as much as 100 times the levels found outside!

This is due to all of the toxins released into the air from cleaning chemicals, dust and dirt, cooking fumes, and all of the other simple daily activities that take place in the home on a daily basis.

The most common toxins in your home are ammonia, formaldehyde, and benzene.

These indoor toxins can come from furniture, carpets, building materials, cleaning products, personal care products, and improper maintenance of heating and air conditioning systems.

The pollutants become trapped by closed ventilation systems and can cause respiratory and allergic reactions that are now known as Sick Building Syndrome.

And you know what the experts recommend for improving indoor air quality? Indoor house plants!

In 1996, a six-month study was published that compared a room filled with plants with a room that had no plants.

The room without plants had a 50% higher level of airborne microbes and bacteria.

It proved that large quantities of house plants can be used to increase humidity levels and suppress harmful bacteria while reducing air polluting substances.

And perhaps indoor plants purify the air!

Do You Know What NASA Plants Are?

How pure is the air you breathe? Perhaps you can create your own fresh air! WITH PLANTS! Plants remove pollutants and toxins from the air.

NASA conducted a Clean Air Study trying to find solutions for individuals who were having health issues caused by spending a large amount of time indoors.

They published the results in 1989 (Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement) and recommended using plants to help remove contaminants from the air.

If you want to learn more about the NASA Clean Air Study, here’s a link to the Wikipedia article that is easier to read than the NASA Clean Air Study document.

Also, while working with NASA to develop a method for creating a breathable environment for a NASA lunar habitat, Dr. B.C. Wolverton discovered that house plants are the best filters of the common pollutants.

He wrote a book How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office which list 50 indoor plants that can help remove contaminants and pollutants.

In his book, he shows us how to grow and nurture 50 plants and rates each one for its effectiveness in removing indoor toxins, as well as its ease of growth and maintenance.

Today, NASA even adds plants to its international space station to help control air quality.

Just think what a few plants can do to improve your home or office air quality!

The Plants

While most leafy plants can purify indoor air, some are better than others at removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzene and formaldehyde.

VOCs may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.

Here are a few of the plants that were studied in the NASA Clean Air Study.

They are proven to help improve your indoor air quality and remove pollutants, toxins, and VOCs from the air. And the plus? Plus, they are all very low-maintenance and easy-care!

Aloe Vera

aloe vera plant in red pot on a wooden table
Aloe Vera Plant

Aloe Vera (Aloe genus) is a succulent plant species originating from the Arabian Peninsula.

It is rich in antioxidants and antibacterial agents and is known for its topical benefits, including wound healing and keeping skin moisturized.

Aloe Vera is very easy to grow both indoors and outdoors in your garden. It can serve double-duty as an air purifier, medicinal burn relief/moisturizer, and can even make delicious additions to dinner recipes!

  • Growth: It grows slowly, with mature leaves 8-10 inches in length.
  • Light: Aloe Vera needs a balance of sunshine and shade. Place in bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Water: Don’t overwater. Let it completely dry before watering. The soil should feel damp, not soaked.
  • Soil: Aloe Vera grows best in dry soil, so cactus potting soil mix is ideal.
  • Fertilizer: Use a phosphorus-heavy, water-based fertilizer at half strength once a year.
  • Planter: Medium or large planter with good drainage capabilities.
  • Pests: Keep the soil dry to avoid fungus. Bugs can be handled with a natural, organic pesticide.
  • Air Quality: Removes benzene from the air.
  • Costa Farms Premium Live Indoor Snake Plant, Sansevieria, 2-FT Floor Plant, Shipped Fresh From Farm in Cylinder Planter

Bamboo Palm

bamboo palm plant in white pot with white background
Bamboo Palm

Bamboo Palms (Chamaedorea costaricana) originate from Central and South America.

The plant features a bamboo-like clustering trunk pattern and can add a relaxing, tropical feel to any room.

  • Growth: Will grow 4 to 6 feet tall
  • Light: Indirect or filtered sunlight. Place in a southeast-facing window.
  • Water: Keep moist but never overwater. Pour excess water from the drainage tray.
  • Soil: Use well-draining, peat moss-based potting soil.
  • Fertilizer: Use a water-soluble 15-5-15 fertilizer monthly only during active growth.
  • Planter: Pot should have drainage holes. Repot only every two to three years, as they like having their roots confined.
  • Pests: Palm pests like thrips, scales, and mites. Clean the palm by rinsing in the shower to remove fertilizer salts and prevent pests.
  • Air Quality: Removes formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.
  • Costa Farms Majesty Palm Tree, Live Indoor Plant, 3 to 4-Feet Tall, Ships with Décor Planter, Fresh From Our Farm, Excellent Gift or Home Décor

Chinese Evergreen

chinese evergreen houseplant in brown pot by white wall
Chinese Evergreen

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) originated from the tropics and subtropics of Asia.

It is one of the easiest plants you can grow inside. It tolerates poor light, dry air, and drought. You can look like a plant expert with the resilience of this plant!

Chrysanthemums

pink chrysanthemums in pot on window sill
Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums (Asteraceae genus) are native to Asia and northeastern Europe.

Mums are easy to find in several different colors and have a large number of beautiful blooms to add color to the environment.

  • Growth: Height and width of one to two feet
  • Light: Filtered, bright light conditions
  • Water: Water when the soil begins to feel dry. Don’t wait too long or overwater.
  • Soil: Use well-draining potting soil.
  • Fertilizer: Feed with a balanced flowering houseplant fertilizer.
  • Planter: Pot should have drainage holes.
  • Pests: Monitor for aphids and leaf miners. If found, wash with insecticide soap.
  • Air Quality: Removes benzene, trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, and ammonia.
  • The Three Company Live 8″ Hardy Chrysanthemums (2 Per Pack), Bronze

Dragon Tree

dragon tree has green leaves with red edges
Dragon Tree Houseplant

Dragon Tree (dracaena marginata) looks a bit like palm tree plants, though they have a unique appearance to them and are a great conversation piece!

Elephant’s Ear

elephant ear plant in gray pot on a table
Elephant’s Ear Houseplant

Elephant Ears (Colocasia) are a plant with large leaves that resemble an elephant’s ear.

The foliage colors can range from purplish-black to green, to green/white variegated and can add the feeling of the tropics to your home!

One of the beautiful indoor plants for cleaner air.

  • Growth: Can grow to three to five feet tall.
  • Light: Prefers partial shade or indirect sun.
  • Water: Keep the soil moist.
  • Soil: Moist, rich potting soil
  • Fertilizer: Not necessary but could feed with a slow-release fertilizer periodically.
  • Planter: Choose a large container and elevate the pot on rocks in the water saucer.
  • Pests: Aphids. Treat with insecticide soap to control.
  • Air Quality: Removes formaldehyde.
  • Black Coral Elephant Ear Colocasia Esculenta Live Plant

English Ivy

Ivy with green leaves, white edges in a wooden box
Ivy Houseplant

English Ivy (Hedera helix) is an evergreen climbing vine.

An aggressive plant when used outdoors, it can be better controlled when planted indoors and provides an old English, cottage feel.

When used in the house, plan on trailing vines.

  • Growth: Will grow to 6 to 8 inches tall, but can spread out 15 feet or more.
  • Light: Bright, indirect light conditions .
  • Water: Keep the soil evenly moist, not dry.
  • Soil: Use well-drained soil.
  • Fertilizer: Use basic houseplant food at half the recommended dose monthly.
  • Planter: In containers or baskets where trailing vines can hang down.
  • Pests: Aphids and spider mites are the most common pests. Use insecticidal soap.
  • Air Quality: Removes benzene, formaldehyde, and fecal particles.
  • AMERICAN PLANT EXCHANGE English Ivy Baltic Trailing Vine Live Plant, 6″ Pot, Indoor/Outdoor Air Purifier

Gerbera Daisy

closeup-of-flower-pot-with-pink-or-purple-gerbera-daisies
Gerbera Daisies

Gerbera Daisy, (Gerbera Jamesonii) is also known as the Transvaal or Barberton Daisy.

They originate from South Africa and are available in a variety of sizes and colors and can easily cheer up any home.

  • Growth: will grow 1 to 3 feet tall.
  • Light: Bright conditions will encourage longer-lasting blooms.
  • Water: When the top ½ inch of soil feels dry. Empty the water collection tray.
  • Soil: Use all-purpose potting soil.
  • Fertilizer: Use a 15-5-15 blend for flowering houseplants once each month.
  • Planter: No need to repot, last only three years.
  • Pests: Might get aphids and mites. Spray with insecticidal soap.
  • Air Quality: Removes benzene.

Golden Pothos

decoration of golden pothos in a pot
Golden Pothos

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), also known as devil’s ivy, is a trailing vine with pointed leaves that are shaped like hearts. It is native to the Solomon Islands.

There are several varieties with different colors of leaf variegation. Golden Pothos is often mistaken for Philodendron, but the Pothos has larger waxy leaves.

The Golden Pothos can also create a cozy, cottagey feel. Another good indoor plant for cleaner air!

  • Growth: Can grow to six to ten feet long.
  • Light: Bright, indirect light but can thrive with dark or artificial lighting.
  • Water: Let the soil dry out completely between watering. It will tell you when to water.
  • Soil: Use well-drained potting soil.
  • Fertilizer: Feed monthly with a balanced houseplant fertilizer.
  • Planter: Repot in a container one or two sizes larger.
  • Pests: Usually pest free, can get infested with mealy bugs. Spray with insecticidal soap.
  • Air Quality: Removes formaldehyde, trichloroethene, toluene, xylene, and benzene.
  • Golden Devil’s Ivy Pothos 4″ Pot 3 pack Very Easy to Grow – unique from Jmbamboo

Lavender

lavender plant with flowers in purple pot on a table
Lavender Plant

Lavender: Everyone’s favorite natural potpourri! The French variety is the easiest to grow indoors (you’ll see the leaves are serrated).

The lavender will require some time outdoors for it to produce blooms prior to being transplanted to its spot inside.

It is a great addition to any room, provides beautiful purple blooms and relaxing smell.

Literally, lavender has been proven to help calm people and provide relaxation! Beautiful addition, and one of the good indoor plants that purify the air.

  • Growth: Will grow to 26 to 30 inches tall.
  • Light: Provide lots of natural sunlight with fresh air daily.
  • Water: When the soil is dry to the touch.
  • Soil: Use a sandy, alkaline, well-draining potting mix with slow-release fertilizer pellets.
  • Fertilizer: Not usually needed.
  • Planter: Use a pot that is one to two inches larger than the root ball.
  • Pests: Lavender rarely has pests, but sometimes whitefly and aphids will visit.
  • Air Quality: Removes formaldehyde.
  • FXI Live Plant French Lavender Plant / 4″ Pot/House Plant – RK206

Mass Cane/Corn Plant

grasslike corn plant with green leaves edged with brilliant yellow
Corn Plant

Mass Cane (dracaena fragrans) originated from Africa. Also known as “Corn Plant,” it is one of several varieties of Dracaena. It has stalky stems and long, green leaves with yellow stripes.

  • Growth: Will slowly grow 4 to 6 feet tall
  • Light: Indirect or filtered sunlight. It can tolerate low light!
  • Water: Once a week. Let the soil be slightly damp.
  • Soil: Use any well-draining potting soil.
  • Fertilizer: Not needed!
  • Planter: Pot should have drainage holes. Repot only every two to three years, as they like having their roots confined.
  • Pests: To control mealybugs, wipe the leaves and remove new leaf crowns if needed.
  • Air quality: Removes formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene.
  • AMERICAN PLANT EXCHANGE Dracaena Massangeana Corn, Worry Free Live Plant, 6″ Pot, Indoor/Outdoor Air Purifier

Peace Lily

really good indoor plant for cleaner air peace lily with green leaves and white flag flowers in white pot
Peace Lily

Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum) are native to tropical rainforests of America. They are not true lilies (lilium spp.) but are a member of the same family (Aracheae) as Calla Lilies.

The white flower features a hood-like sheath which resembles a white flag of surrender. Hence, the “Peace” name.

The Peace Lily is in the NASA Top 10 Household Air Cleaning Plants. It is very resilient, so if you forget to water it, it will spring back quickly once you remember!

  • Growth: It can grow to four feet tall and wide with big, bold leaves.
  • Light: Prefers partial shade and can tolerate artificial light.
  • Water: When the plant droops slightly, once a week. Spritz the leaves in summer.
  • Soil: Use a peat-moss based potting soil that is light and springy for good drainage.
  • Fertilizer: Not needed. But, for larger blooms, you can use a 20-20-20 house plant fertilizer at one half or one quarter recommended strength once per month.
  • Planter: This plant is tall and wide, so a large floor planter is best. Repot every 1-2 years.
  • Pests: Keep under control by regularly wiping the leaves.
  • Air Quality: Removes benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and ammonia.
  • Two Peace Lily Plant – Spathyphyllium – 4.5″ Unique Design Pot From Jm Bamboo

Rubber Plant

pot of green ficus elastica with drips on white background
Rubber Plant

Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica) originated in India, Nepal, Myanmar, China, Malaysia. The plant has shiny, leather-like leaves that grow to a foot long.

You have a choice of leaf color. The F. elastica decora has plain green leaves.

  • The F. elastica black prince or burgundy has leaves that are reddish-black in color.
  • F. elastica robusta has larger leaves than decora. And, there are several variegated types available.
  • Growth: Can grow to up to 10 feet tall.
  • Light: Bright indirect light that isn’t too hot.
  • Water: Keep moist during the growing season. Water once per month during dormancy. Wipe the leaves with a wet cloth.
  • Soil: Use a well-draining and well-aerated potting soil.
  • Fertilizer: Feed every two weeks during spring, summer with diluted liquid fertilizer.
  • Planter: The pot needs sufficient drainage holes to allow excess water to move.
  • Pests: Mealybugs, scale, and mites. Use insecticide soap.
  • Air Quality: Removes formaldehyde.
  • Burgundy Rubber Tree Plant – Ficus – An Old Favorite – 6″ Pot

Snake Plant

good indoor plants for cleaner air two snake plants in pots by white brick wall
Snake Plants

The Snake Plant (Sansaveria trifasciate) is a succulent that is native to West Africa, Madagascar, and southern Asia that can easily be grown by even the brownest thumbs.

It is an architectural plant with upright leaves that are used for interior design.

There are around 70 different species of Snake Plant, though Mother-in-law’s Tongue is one of the more interesting to look at, with a yellow border on the leaves.

  • Growth: It can grow from one to up to 8 feet tall.
  • Light: The snake plant needs bright, indirect light.
  • Water: Since it has succulent leaves, the snake plant has mild watering needs. Keep its soil slightly moist and do not overwater.
  • Soil: A standard potting mix with good drainage is good enough.
  • Fertilizer: Use a general-purpose fertilizer a couple of times per year.
  • Planter: Snake plants are top-heavy with very strong roots. Use a planter with a wider bottom made with strong material.
  • Pests: Fungus gnats are the main pest concern, though they are harmless. The best way to control these is not to overwater! They can be handled with a natural, organic pesticide.
  • Air quality: Removes benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene.
  • Superba Robusta Snake Plant – Sanseveria – 3 pack – Impossible to kill! – 4″ Pot Gift

Spider Plant

indoor plants for cleaner air Green-and-white-Leaves-Of-Spider-Plant-Chlorophytum-comosum
Spider Plant

Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are very adaptable and very prolific. The plants form grass-like clumps with long slender stems hanging two to three feet below the container.

Spider plants are named for the baby plantlets, or spiderettes, that form on their dangling stems.

  • Growth: will grow to 2 to 2 ½ feet wide and 2 to 3 feet long.
  • Light: Bright, indirect light. They will scorch in direct sunlight!
  • Water: Water liberally in the summer, allow to dry out between watering. Do not let the soil become too soggy.
  • Soil: They prefer fast-draining, well-aerated potting mix.
  • Fertilizer: Use a 3:2:1 ratio fertilizer once a month.
  • Planter: Grow in a hanging pot or in simple baskets. Replant every other year.
  • Pests: Control aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, and spider mites by rinsing the plant or using a miticide or vinegar.
  • The plant might get brown tips, the result of fluoride in your water. Control this by thoroughly watering to rinse out the salts. Allow to drain out.
  • Air Quality: Removes formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.
  • Ocean Spider Plant – 4” Pot 3 Pack for Better Growth – Cleans the Air/Easy to Grow by Jmbamboo

* Where can you get these house plants? *

Each indoor plant listed is available at Amazon.com. I have added the links for your convenience in the plant’s description.

Costa Farms has a popular offering that includes four of the best plants for cleaning the indoor air in a single order.

The bottom line? Use Indoor Plants for Cleaner Air

Add house plants to your home or office and enjoy their beauty and fresher air around you.

Plants are natural air purifiers that remove pollutants and toxins from the air, providing a simple way to help keep your home or office healthy.

Try to have two of these plants for every 100 feet of space in your home. Add more plants to the rooms that you use most frequently.

I hope you are able to incorporate some of these plant recommendations into your inside spaces.

They are beautiful, easy to care for, and will add a healthy touch to your lives!

You’ll breathe more easily once you begin using indoor plants for cleaner air!

For more reading, here are 17 plants that don’t need much sunlight.

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