Air-purifying house plants by NASA that can help you improve the quality of air in your home. These air purifying indoor plants remove toxins, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from any space in your home. It’s important to note that we don’t know how many plants we need in a space to effectively clean the air. Most people go for quite a few between 5 and 20 depending on the square footage of your house.
It’s safe to assume that the more air purifying plants you have the more toxins they remove. Air circulation also plays a large part in the removal of the VOCs. Make sure you keep your windows open as much as possible to allow some sort of transfer of outdoor air inside. This list contains plants listed by NASA as well as others listed by other researchers.
How Air Purifying Plants Remove Toxins
The plants get rid of the toxins in the air by either absorbing them, excreting them or degrading them. They take the toxins and absorb them through their foliage through the stomata and cuticles. The toxins move into the plant’s system where they are absorbed, excreted, or degraded.
The plant root system and the soil system also have microorganisms that break down the toxins. The soil can also bind the toxins making them immobile and not able to move freely in the air.
Can Air Purifying Plants Become Toxic
It’s interesting how the plants clean the air and get rid of the toxins. However, if you’re like me you must have wondered can the air purifying plants become toxic? The plants are absorbing the toxins into their leaves, and systems.
The answer to this question is that some of them can become toxic. It depends on several factors such as the type of plant and the number of toxins in the air.
Boston Ferns are like the number one air-purifying plants that almost everyone knows. It’s like the bigger they are the more effective and impactful they are.
These plants are easy to care for and produce long fronds with bedecked leaves. When kept happy Boston ferns are great home décor plants that develop large volumes of bold arching leaves.
Pothos are great plants because they are super easy to care for even for beginners. It can also tolerate low light conditions. It gets so big and the leaf structure is also big making it good for absorbing bad things like toxins.
Pothos varieties to consider for removing VOCs include Golden Pothos and Pothos Scindapsus.
Peace Lilies are some of the common plants that are on every air-purifying list. They are beautiful houseplants. They like water and if you miss watering the leaves are going to droop.
If you take good care of your Peace Lilies, they can easily last for many years. They get big and you can just divide them up and make new plants.
Ficus Elastica has a large leaf structure and surface area that helps remove toxins from the air. However, you need to keep the leaves clean for the plant to be effective. Beautiful plant too that can be used for home décor.
Ficus Benjamina is a great medium-sized to large indoor plants. They will greatly help you reduce your VOCs with their bushy foliage. It is one of those plants that when it’s in a place it makes it feel better.
Pachira Aquatica commonly known as the Money Plant is another good air-purifying plant. I love these plants and how you can intertwine the stems to create beautiful patterns.
Remember you have to keep a healthy plant for it to work and be effective in removing toxins. So, keep your plants healthy and keep them clean so that they can help keep your air clean.
Syngonium species are some of my favorite plants. I love them especially the little compact types which are super cute houseplants and don’t take a lot of space.
They can tolerate low light but most of the varieties prefer medium to bright indirect light. If you keep them in low light, they will still grow and help clean your air.
Dracaenas make great indoor plants too and are easy to care for. They have been indicated as some of the plants that will remove toxins and are on the list of air purifying house plants by NASA.
They get big and have a lot of surface area too. If you forget to water dracaena, they will develop brown spots. They also like bright light but, they can handle a little bit of low light. Check this post on the complete care guide for Dracaena.
Tradescantia species are fabulous as well and they have amazing colors. There are different varieties to choose from including the white varieties and the pink variegated varieties.
These plants sprawl over your pots and planters. They do like a bit more light compared to other plants so, if you can provide them with sufficient light, they might be the right fit for you.
Chlorophytum Commosum (Spider Plants)
Spider Plants are some of the top air-purifying plants probably only second to Boston ferns. Some of the beautiful Spider Plant varieties to consider include Bonnie spider plants.
The Spider Plants like brighter light than most people give them. Also, allow the plants to dry out between waterings.
Just remember that one plant might not do much in purifying the air it’s advisable to get a bunch of them. The Spider Plant is also on the list of air purifying house plants by NASA.
There are several varieties to consider including the Schefflera Elegantissima and Schefflera Arboricola. It’s important to note that these two varieties become big medium-large sized trees.
They also have a lot of surface area that helps absorb toxins, VOCs, formaldehyde, and xylene. These plants are gorgeous to look and my favorite is the Schefflera Elegantissima.
Orchids clean your air too. So, if you’re an orchid lover and an orchid collector you’re in luck because, in addition to all the beauty, your air is probably super clean.
There are different types of orchids that you can grow to beautify and decorate your home as well as clean the air. Check this post on how to grow orchid flowers.
Gardenias smell amazing and help take the smell out of your house. They will also help purify your air.
Gardenias are great plants that can be planted both indoor and outdoor. When space is filled with many plants, it has a different feel sort of like a forest-feel.
Sansevierias are great plants that produce oxygen at night, unlike most plants that produce oxygen during the day. The Snake Plant or Mother-In-Law -Tongue is also on the list of air purifying house plants by NASA.
Sansevierias are common house plants that most people are familiar with and are used to growing and caring for. Most plant owners will be glad to know that their Sansevierias are not only beautiful to look at but they are also great at purifying the air.
The Fatsia Japonica is commonly known as the Paper Plant. It is somewhat of an easy plant to maintain. You have to keep the leaves clean by wiping them regularly.
Most people find the Paper Plant as a medium to easy-care plant even beginners. It needs the soil to dry out slightly between waterings and it needs more light than you think. The more light you give it the happier it will be and it will keep producing new growth.
The Paper Plants can get pretty big over time, in nature they can grow as tall as 3 or 4 feet. Paper Plants have beautiful dark green leaves.
Begonia Maculata is also referred to as the Polka Dot Begonia. It is one of the most striking houseplants without a doubt. It produces olive-green leaves with contrasting white spots hence the name.
This exotic houseplant is not only gorgeous, but it also helps clean the air. However, it’s not one of the low maintenance houseplants and its care ranges from medium to high depending on your experience with plants.
Farfugium Japonica has a beautiful cup-like round leaves that are arching slightly. You can keep them inside the house or alternate keeping them inside and transferring them to the porch. If you keep them outside during winter, they will not make it. They’re gorgeous plants that can get quite big.
Mint is a common herb that you will find in most herb gardens. It’s one of the herbs I love using in drinks such as tea. Research shows that the Mint Plants pull toxins out of the air. It is also used for soil remediation along with other plants. Not only is Mint delicious in food and drinks, but it will also play a role in purifying your air.
Fittonia is a high maintenance plant. Most people even experienced plant owners often find it hard to keep them alive and happy. Fittonia will also help purify the air in your home.
They’re beautiful and they have great color and have a beautiful presence in a room. This is one of the plants you should try after you have cared for and grown several other types so that you don’t give up.
Baby’s Tears are beautiful plants with small leaves. Baby’s Tears are high maintenance plants and will not forgive you if you neglect them. You have to stay on top of the watering schedule because they love their water.
They remove toxins as well and purify the air. They’re also super adorable with their tiny little leaves. If you are up for the work, they are cute and worth it.
Crassula Portulaca is another variety that will help you out with getting rid of toxins and being a healthier person. Crassula Portulaca is often confused Crassula Ovata (Jade Plant) but they are different. Even sellers have been known to get them mixed up.
I love this plant, it’s interesting to look at with interesting-shaped leaves. It’s succulent and easy to care for and grow.
Dumb Canes (Dieffenbachia)
Dumb Canes are also helpful in purifying the air. They are called dumb canes because they produce sap that when put in the mouth it closes the throat up and the person can’t speak.
Dumb Canes have a giant surface area when they get big and they have beautiful patterns and textures. There are more and more interesting varieties showing up in the marketplace be sure to check them out. Check this post on the complete care guide for Dumb Canes.
Homalomena is originally tropical to subtropical plants that love growing in humid places. The plants do well in bright indirect light. Although they can tolerate low light, their growth will be stunted.
They can also get root rot easily, so plant them in pots with drainage holes. Also, make sure any excess water drains off at the bottom. There are different varieties to consider such as the Emerald Gem.
Aglaonema Species are commonly referred to as Chinese Evergreens. They get pretty large and they can handle different situations pretty well. They do well in medium to low light conditions and can, therefore, grow in locations that get indirect light.
The Chinese evergreens are some of the best plants for beginners and people who are too busy because they are low maintenance. They are on the list of air purifying house plants by NASA.
You can also incorporate some colorful houseplants that will also purify your air as well as look awesome. Anthuriums are available in different colors including different hues of pinks and reds.
The flowering Anthuriums require more bright indirect sunlight compared to the foliage only types. Also note not to expose the Anthuriums to direct Sun or the foliage and the flowers will burn.
Phoenix Robelenii is a beautiful plant that has great structure. They don’t tolerate cold temperatures well and will die if you leave them outside during cold weather.
They thrive under bright indirect light. Very interesting plants especially for plant owners looking to add some plants with character to their collection.
Lady Palms (Rhapis Excelsa)
Lady Palms are also beautiful plants and a great option for people who love palms. However, they need bright indirect light and don’t tolerate low light well.
They also need a lot of water and require to be fed regularly. If you have that right type of environment the lady Palms and the Phoenix Roebelenii are great plants to try. They are on the list of air purifying house plants by NASA.
Aloe Vera is a common succulent. Most people know Aloe Vera for its medicinal uses and wide adoption in making DIY skincare products. However, the plant is also on the list of air purifying house plants by NASA.
Aloe Vera is easy to care for and grow. Almost anyone can grow the plant and keep it alive. They can tolerate different conditions fairly well. There are many varieties of Aloe Vera to choose from and add to your collection.
Philodendrons are great houseplants. Easy to care for without any problems even for beginners. An example is the Pink Princess
Philodendrons can get massive and their leaves grow big too which helps them become efficient in removing VOCs from the air.
Just to note, just because a plant has big leaves doesn’t mean it helps purify the air. An example is the Monstera deliciosa which has big beautiful leaves but it’s not an air-purifying plant.
Cast Iron Plant
Cast Iron plants grow fast when provided with the right conditions. You can also easily divide them up and make new plants.
It is easy to care for and grow just like the Sansevieria plants. They are very forgiving and are generally hard to kill. Even if your plant is not looking so great, new leaves show up in no time and replace the old ones.
They can grow in a wide range of lighting conditions including low light, medium light, indirect light, and bright light.
Calatheas are beautiful houseplants. There are also many varieties to choose from including those with pink, purple, and silver hues.
Calatheas are probably the most popular low light houseplants. They produce wide colorful leaves. New varieties in the market such as Calathea Network have bold variegation and become bushier compared to traditional varieties.
Crotons are colorful houseplants and bring a blast of color into any space. Crotons do need a lot of light. You should not let them dry out completely between watering because they will go through a lot of leaf drop.
Crotons are interesting plants that have different variations even between leaves on the same plant.
Hoyas are also awesome houseplants. Hoyas can get big, and they hang beautifully. There are different varieties with different colorations to choose from including Hoya Carnosa, Tricolor Hoya, and Rope Plant.
Be careful not to overwater Hoyas because they will get root rot easily.
Maranta (Prayer Plants) are also air-purifying plants and will help get rid of VOCs. These plants produce great-looking leaves with beautiful patterns.
There are different varieties to consider including the popular Red Maranta, Lemon Lime, and the Green Maranta.
The Peperomia Clusifolia do well in moderate to bright light conditions. You should avoid placing them under direct light as it can destroy the leaves.
An easy-to-grow indoor plant that produces medium to large leaves.
Gerbera Daisies are native to South Africa. They are available in many different colors including white, yellow, salmon, pink, and orange.
Although they are mostly grown on flower beds, they also do well in containers. They grow to a height of between eight and 24 inches. The Gerbera daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii) is also on the list of air purifying house plants by NASA.
Cyclamen is also another flowering plant that is used in air purifying. They are hardy perennial flowers. The flowers require bright but not direct light and temperatures of between 50-60 degrees. They come in many different colors and you will be spoilt for choice when making a purchase.
There are different types of Kalanchoe and that is pretty good for cleaning the air. An example is the Kalanchoe Blossfeldina.
The Kalanchoe Blossfeldina is a flowering succulent that will give you beautiful flowers for an extended period. They are sensitive to cold temperatures and do well between 60-85 degrees. They also need well-draining soils just like most succulents.
Areca Palms and Parlor Palms
Areca palms are on the list of air purifying house plants by NASA. The Areca Palms and the Parlor Palms are great palm trees because they can be placed indoor or on surfaces such as tables. They don’t get that big.
Palms are also easy to take care of and keep happy. You need to remain on top of watering otherwise you will get little brown fronds. Keep up on the fertilizing and also keep it in bright indirect light. If you love palm tree check this post on 30 varieties of palm trees.
English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
Hedera helix or English Ivy is aggressive and can easily become invasive. It’s a woody evergreen perennial vine. When grown outside it is used as a covering for brick and stone walls or as ground cover.
If you grow them indoors, plant them in hanging pots or place your pots high to give them room to vine downwards. They can be susceptible to spider mites so keep an eye out for that.
Ardesia Japonica is often sold during the holidays because it has beautiful red berries. However, even without the berries, the foliage is superb. They are often given as holiday gifts and it turns out they are great at purifying the air. So, after the berries are gone, keep them around and let them clean the air in your home.
Put them in a well-lit spot because they will be happy and grow.
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)
The ZZ plant also an air-purifying houseplant. It is a tropical plant native to Zanzibar, Kenya, and East Africa.
These are beautiful and unique houseplants. They have potato-like rhizomes where the stems grow from. The stems produce beautiful dark green waxy leaves.
This is a comprehensive list of plants that potentially purify the air in your home. From what I read, different plants remove different types of toxins. There are different schools of thought on this topic, some people feel that the plants do a lot in cleaning the air while others feel the plants do very little.
Having plants in my house makes me feel better, more relaxed, less anxious, and more connected to nature. If also they are purifying the air, it’s awesome.
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