Houseplants remove pollutants from the air. They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as part of photosynthesis. Houseplants also counteract gaseous chemicals and help balance the humidity indoors. Harmful pollutants can be absorbed in the air and made harmless into the soil. Some plants are better at removing the pollutants than others.
The Boston fern is used in hanging baskets. This perennial plant prefers moist, nutrient soil. Indoors, the plant prefers bright, filtered light for at least eight hours a day. The humidity must be high for the plants to survive, so mist your ferns daily. The fronds of the Boston fern can grow as long as 8 feet. Ferns are excellent at filtering trichloroethylene, benzene and formaldehyde from the air.
Reed palms are a small version of the palm tree commonly grown indoors and detoxify the air. These plants can adapt to low light conditions but prefer a bight, sunny location. Like most palm trees, reed palms prefer moist soils and should be watered as soon as the soil gets dry. Allow water to collect in a tray underneath the plant to be drawn up by the roots. Keep the fronds clean by wiping them with a damp cloth or misting them weekly.
A member of the fig family, the rubber plant has a large trunk and large leaves that can grow up to 14 inches long and 6 inches wide. The large leaves make this plant an excellent plant for purifying the air. It produces a small, long, yellow fruit that is typically not eaten. The rubber plant prefers full sun and moist soil. The tree should be misted with water at least once a week to keep the humidity up. The plant will adapt to the container. The larger you allow the container, the larger the tree will grow.
The weeping fig, also referred to as a ficus tree, is native to southeast Asia and Australia. Outdoors the tree can grow up to 100 feet tall but can be controlled indoors by the size of the container. The weeping fig has glossy leaves that are around 5 inches long. It is very tolerant of poor indoor conditions but thrives best in a sunny window with moist soils. The weeping fig can effectively decrease indoor toxins.