Some plants are actually said to purify the air the air we breathe by removing toxins. Living in an energy efficient, modern building can have unintended side effects such as asthma, choosing the right air purifying plants for your home can detoxify the air in your living spaces, meaning your houseplants not only look lovely but are working hard too.
NASA’s Clean Air Study published in 1989, found that indoor plants can scrub the air of cancer-causing volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene. Air purifying plants can detoxify your home from airborne toxins, dusts and germs that you never knew were lurking in a variety of household products, materials and furniture, even your own carpet may carry more chemicals than expected.
These chemicals can make up to 90 percent of indoor air pollution. (NASA researchers were looking for ways to effectively detoxify the air of space station environments.) Later research found that soil microorganisms in potted plants also play a part in cleaning indoor air. Based on this research, some scientists say house plants are effective natural air purifiers.
Plants are also known to:
THE BOSTON FERN – Can be high maintenance because they need a cool place with a high level of humidity and indirect light. However, experts say they are well worth the maintenance because of their air–purifying abilities. Boston fern’s remove more formaldehyde than any other plant.
THE GOLDEN POTHOS – or Devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum), a widely grown houseplant that can tolerate low light levels and extreme neglect. It has been modified to produce a liver enzyme called cytochrome p450 2e1 – taken from rabbits – that breaks down a wide range of pollutants.
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.
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.
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.
CHRYSANTHEMUM – 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.
SPIDER PLANT – For those of you who are houseplant newbies, the resilient spider plant is the perfect choice. remember taking little cuttings as a kid and growing baby spider plants. 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.
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.
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.
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. WEEPING FIG – Popular houseplants since the Victorian times, weeping figs can help to tackle levels of formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.
CHINESE EVERGREEN – This tropical plant is proven to be an effective cleanser of formaldehyde and benzene, found in detergents and cosmetics.