Indoor plants add beauty and function to any indoor space. Green plants filter the air, creating a healthier environment for work or play. A joint study done by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) found that several common houseplants are not only effective in the production of oxygen, but also serve to absorb pollutants, including formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.
Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum species)
Chrysanthemums are hardy, colorful flowers that are grown indoors in any climate and outdoors in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) growing zones 5 through 9. These plants are good at removing benzene from the air, according to the NASA study. Chrysanthemums are easy-care plants that thrive with exposure to at least a half-day of sunlight and come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Chrysanthemums thrive if the soil is kept moderately moist and if they are given space to breathe.
Philodendron (Philodendron species)
Philodendron plants were found to be very effective at removing formaldehyde molecules from the air, according to the NASA study. These evergreen plants, which feature attractive, glossy leaves, come in several varieties, including the lacy cut-leaf cultivar. Philodendrons are very common, easy-to-grow indoor plants, according to Karen Russ, a horticulturist with Clemson University. Some are climbing, while others grow as more of a bush. All thrive in low-light conditions with basic culture, and they are resistant to pests and diseases.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Spider plants are fast-growing, attractive perennials that feature slender, graceful leaves and small white flowers. They tolerate low-light conditions very well, according to Edward F. Gilman, a horticulturist with the University of Florida. While spider plants can grow in the shade, they do need continually moist soil. If left in extended drought conditions, the tips of the long leaves will turn brown. These plants are also excellent at filtering toxins from the air, according to the study done by NASA.
Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina)
The wandering jew is a popular indoor plant that is also named by NASA as a good plant for cleaning the air. It is often grown in a hanging basket due to its trailing habit. The 3-inch-long leaves are attractively variegated and covered with a fine layer of fuzz. The wandering jew grows and spreads quickly, which is how the plant earned its name. Place the wandering jew in rich, loose soil in a dimly lit location and keep the soil moist for maximum growth.