Top Air Cleaning Plants

Almost a decade and a half ago NASA scientists did a study about houseplants and their contributions to indoor air quality. According to B.C. Wolverton, a former senior research scientist involved in the study, the environment in our homes and offices may be as much as 10 times more polluted than the outdoor environment. The good news is that the study showed that houseplants, by absorbing contaminants through tiny holes in their leaves, help to clean indoor air of certain pollutants.

Chrysalidocarpus lutescens

Also known as areca palm and golden palm, this is the plant that was chosen by NASA scientists as the all-around best air cleaning plant. Very adaptable, it will thrive in sunny or shady areas of the home but tends to be more attractive when grown in bright, diffused light. The specimens you will find for sale in garden centers have been grown in very bright light, so the plant may need to be slowly acclimated to the dimmer interior lighting of the typical home. You can do this by leaving the plant outdoors when you bring it home. Then, over the course of a week, bring it inside the home for longer periods each day.

Rapis excelsa

This palm, commonly known as the lady palm, has a more compact growth habit than the areca. The fans are also smaller and daintier. This is a very hardy plant that will take a lot of neglect. Use it in the dimmer areas of the home for it doesn't require a lot of light. Water the lady palm when the top two inches of soil is dry. According to the NASA study, the lady palm helps to clear indoor air of all toxins.

Chamaedorea seifrizii

Commonly known as the bamboo palm, this plant is particularly good at removing traces of trichloroethylene, a dry-cleaning solvent, from the air. It also works on formaldehyde, which has been declared a known carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (National Cancer Institute). Sources of formaldehyde in the home include wood furniture and gas or wood-burning stoves. The bamboo palm will do best in soil that is allowed to dry to the top 2 inches prior to watering, and an area of the home in which it will receive low light.

Keywords: top air cleaning plants, plants that clean the air in the house, houseplants that remove toxins from the air

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.