Plants That Purify the Air


Our homes are more energy efficient than ever, and with that increased efficiency comes an unexpected side effect: indoor air pollution. Household cleaning products, paints and home furnishings contribute to poor indoor air quality (IAQ). A NASA report suggests that a selection of air-filtering houseplants can help improve air quality. For a 2,000 square foot home, at least 15 plants in a minimum 6-inch pot will be required.


Heartleaf philodendron thrives in bright, indirect light. Plant heartleaf philodendron in hanging baskets, out of reach of children and pets. It is toxic if ingested. Heartleaf philodendron removes chemical vapors.


Sansevieria is also known as the snake plant. Its rigid, upright leaves are sculptural and dramatic. It grows well in low light and requires little care. Sansevieria removes formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.


Ficus or weeping fig is a small tree that can be grown indoors. Weeping fig removes ammonia from the environment.

Aglaonema modestum

Aglaonema modestum has variegated, ribbon-like leaves and thrives in low humidity. It removes toxins such as benzene from the air.


Shiny green leaves and an upright habit make Dracaenas popular houseplants. Dracaena Janet Craig and Dracaena Warneckii remove formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, xylene and trichloroethylene.

Chlorophytum comosum

Another well-known and easy-to-grow houseplant, Chlorophytum comosum is commonly known as the spider plant. Planted in a bright window, it appreciates a light water misting occasionally. Spider plants remove formaldehyde from the air.


  • Plant Care Encyclopedia: Air Purifiers
  • EPA: Introduction to Indoor Air Quality
  • NASA: Plants Clean Air and Water for Indoor Environments

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Moira Clune is a freelance writer who since 1991 has been writing sales and promotional materials for her own and other small businesses. In addition, she has published articles on, and

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