A government study has concluded that many common houseplants do more than just provide greenery; they can actually clean the indoor air we breathe. The study was part of a NASA inquiry into ways to clean the air in future space stations. It found that some plants can remove formaldehyde and benzene, which are especially common in newly built houses and office spaces. NASA studied common houseplants which you might want to add to your house for their air-cleaning properties.
Hedera Helix--English Ivy
These climbing vines like bright light and cool temperatures. They can be allowed to climb or can be trained onto a topiary.
Chlorophytum Comosum--Spider Plant
Spider plants have rosettes of green or green and white leaves which produce baby plantlets at the end of long stems. They make good hanging basket plants.
Philodendron Scandens `Oxycardium'--Heartleaf philodendron
The vining philodendron does best if given bright indirect light and moist soil.
Sansevieria Trifasciata--Snake Plant
Sansevieria is commonly known as "mother-in-law's tongue". The leaves are erect and strap-shaped. They are happy in almost any light situation.
Dracaena Marginata--Red-Edged Dracaena
Dracaena grow slowly and have long slender leaves which can be plain green or variegated. They like to be kept moist but not soggy.
Ficus Benjamina--Weeping Fig
Ficus are very adaptable houseplants. They like bright, indirect light, and prefer to have their roots crowded in a small pot.
- University of Minnesota Extension
- University of Illinois Extension
houseplants which clean indoor air, english ivy, spider plant
About this Author
Gwen Bruno has been a full-time freelance writer since 2009, with her gardening-related articles appearing on DavesGarden. She is a former teacher and librarian, and she holds a bachelor's degree in education from Augustana College and master's degrees in education and library science from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin.