If you are concerned about indoor air pollution, you might be considering purchasing an expensive air purifier. Although this may work, a cheaper and greener solution lies in your local greenhouse. According to a study by NASA, having one 6-inch plant for every 100 square feet of interior space will reduce the level of toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, carbon monoxide and benzene.
Bamboo or Reed Palm
The bamboo or reed palm (Chamaedorea Seifrizii) is considered the best plant at removing carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, and among the top five plants for removing benzene and trichloroethylene, by a NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America study. It is a tall plant that can reach a height of 7 feet that needs bright, indirect light and warm temperatures. Keep soil moist but not too wet, and allow the top third of the soil to dry between waterings.
Although all dracaena species are good at removing toxins, the three best are Janet Craig dracaena (Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig'), striped dracaena (Dracaena deremensis 'Warneckei') and red-edged dracaena (dracaena marginata). Janet Craig and red-edged dracaena are considered the best at removing formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and trichloroethylene, while striped dracaena is better at removing benzene, according to a NASA and Associated Landscape Contractors of America study. Another study by the University of Technology in Australia showed that Janet Craig dracaena can reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a room by up to 70 percent. Dracaenas like medium light and high humidity and should be kept in a room where the temperature does not drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to several studies done by NASA, the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, and University of Technology in Australia, peace lilies (Spathiphyllum spp.) are good at removing trichloroethylene, benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, xylene and toluene. The will survive in low light, but prefer indirect bright light. It prefers a moist soil and should not be allowed to dry out between waterings.
Other Toxin Removing House Plants
Other house plants that are good for removing formaldehyde include Boston ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis), English ivy (Hedera helix), spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum), golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum), mother-in-law's tongues (Sansevieria trifasciata laurentii), philodendrons (Philodendron spp.) and dwarf date or Phoenix palms (Phoenix roebelenii). Plants that are good for removing carbon monoxide include English ivy (Hedera helix), spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum), snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata), golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum), chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum spp.) and philodendrons (Philodendron spp.). Benzene-removing plants include English ivy (Hedera helix), gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii), mother-in-law's tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata laurentii) and pot mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium).