10 Indoor Flowers That Help Clean the Air in Your Home

You might think your apartment has nothing in common with NASA’s International Space Station. But in spite of their obvious differences, you might find poor air quality in both mediums. Unfortunately, indoor air pollutants are among the top five environmental risks that pose a threat to public health. Without proper ventilation, pollutants build up in idle indoor environments, surpassing the amount we should be breathing in. Therefore, the easiest solution is to invest indoor flowers and enjoy their magical cleaning properties.

Living or simply working in locations with high levels of air contaminants can cause “sick building syndrome.” Some of the symptoms include dizziness, headaches, nausea, as well as eye and nose irritation. However, NASA scientists have been doing their best to understand this problem and they found a pretty cheap solution: Keep the air fresh with the help of houseplants.

What’s the Story?

Studies show that modern people spend around 90 percent of their time indoors, which means air quality is more important for us than it was for our farming ancestors. Synthetic building materials, harsh cleaning products, and stuffy upholstery – all of these emit an array of toxic compounds, such as formaldehyde. At the same time, pollen, bacteria, and molds can also cause indoor air pollution, given that outdoor air contaminants easily find their way into our buildings. Poorly-ventilated homes or offices simply aggravate all of these factors.

But there’s good news! You can fight easily and affordably the nasty particles you may be breathing in. The solution comes right from the natural world, tapping into the ability of indoor flowers and other plants to filter air. According to NASA scientists, simply adding houseplants to a living space can significantly lower the air pollutants.

So, how exactly do houseplants purify the air in your home? It seems that plants also absorb more than carbon dioxide. Some of the unhealthy air particulates can also be processed by your little green friends. Through photosynthesis, the plants produce oxygen, getting rid of the causes of stuffy air. In addition, the cleaning microorganisms that make plants great air filters can also be found in the potting soil, which means more green power!

What to Do?

Indoor flowers do more than improve air quality. They also make people feel better by reducing blood pressure and stress levels. Studies show they can even keep you smart and alert by lowering your mental fatigue. However, houseplants may be a big step for people who fear commitment or have the dreaded “black thumb.” Not to worry! You can always buy easy-to-care-for plants, which can take a lot of carelessness before dying on you.

Based on NASA’s research, we’ve come up with a list of ten plants that are essentially immortal. Each plant species has its favorite environmental conditions, so look online to find out how much sunlight and water the plant needs. If your plant doesn’t come in a pretty pot, there are plenty of repotting DIYs. What matters is that you respect the watering and soil needs, and the rest is easy. Enjoy your filtered air!

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe is not just extremely easy to maintain, but it also makes some major health claims. The plant’s leaves are a haven for vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, and other compounds that have antibacterial, wound-treating, and anti-inflammatory abilities.

  • Pollutant removed: formaldehyde

2. Dracaena

With over forty different types of Dracaena plants available, it’s rather easy to find one that fits your needs and your home. These foliage plants are extremely pretty to look at. Their long, wide leaves are often lined with contrasting colors, such as red, white, or cream. However, if you’re a pet owner, we recommend you choose a different plant from our list. Dracaena are toxic to both cats and dogs.

  • Pollutants removed: trichloroethylene, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene

3. Garden Mum

According to NASA’s research, this plant won the air-purifying competition. It removes formaldehyde, xylene, ammonia, and benzene from indoor air. Inexpensive and beloved as well, the Garden Mum can be planted outside after it’s done blooming. Not to mention how easy this plant is to take care of!

  • Pollutants removed: formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, and xylene

4. Spider Plant

One of the low-maintenance plants on the list, this one makes a great gift to beginners or forgetful plant owners. A huge fan of bright, indirect sunlight, spider plants grow pretty flowers that turn into baby spider plants – also known as spiderettes.

  • Pollutants removed: formaldehyde and xylene

5. Ficus/Weeping Fig

In its native home of Southeast Asia, the ficus is not a plant but a full grown tree. However, when it grows indoors, it’s a plant which stops growing after 10 feet tall. The soil needs to dry out between waterings, so this houseplant thrives in indirect light. With its significant air-cleaning powers, the plant works great for both indoor and outside settings. Just make sure to bring it back inside when temperatures are not well above freezing.

  • Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene

6. Snake Plant

Do you have that “black thumb” we talked about? Fewer houseplants are harder to kill than snake plants. Even though the occasional watering is more than welcome, this low-maintenance indoor plant generally thrives in the sun and in drier conditions.

  • Pollutants removed: trichloroethylene, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene

7. Peace Lily

Many of the plants on our list are larger than peace lily plants, but don’t let that fool you. These sweet and tiny flowers still come with some serious air-purifying abilities. Easy to grow and care for, these plants will stay in bloom almost all summer. What you need to know is that these flowers – any flowers, in fact – enrich the air with floral scents and pollen. Don’t fill a room with them if you want fresh air. For best results, peace lilies love relatively moist soil and a bit of shade.

  • Pollutants removed: ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene


8. Bamboo Palm

A campion when it comes to purifying formaldehyde, this palm plant loves to stay in the sun or in direct, bright light. Their air filtering capabilities are increased by the fact that they can grow to be big. A pet-friendly indoor plant, the bamboo palm can grow as tall as 12 feet high.

  • Pollutants removed: trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde

9. Boston Fern

To do what they do best, Boston ferns prefer to hide in a cool spot with enough humidity and some indirect light. While some would say they’re somewhat easy to care for, you need to make sure the ferns stay moist. Regular waterings are required.

  • Pollutants removed: formaldehyde and xylene

10. Golden Pothos

Well-known for its flexibility, this fast-growing plant requires a bit of support. Therefore, you’re best off planting it in a hanging pot, or training it to cover the side of a trellis. The little golden vines on the dark green leaves make it a superb addition to any living room or office.

  • Pollutants removed: carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and benzene
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Green and Growing Team

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