Modern homes are now designed compact and lack proper ventilation resulting in the accumulation of air toxins coming from including plywood, particleboard, carpets, furniture, pesticides, paint thinners, air fresheners and other and cleaning products.
A study by NASA in the late 1980s shows that several plants are capable of filtering out harmful air toxins including formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, toluene, and other volatile organic compounds. Here’s a list of the 10 Most Effective Houseplants for Removing Air Toxins.
Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily) belongs to the family Araceae, comprising about 40 species of flowering plants in the family Araceae, indigenous to tropical areas of southeastern Asia and of the Americas. A popular indoor houseplant and an excellent air purifier as confirmed by NASA, the peace lily was selected as the “desk plant of the year 2007”!
A perfect plant to have in your office desk, this indoor plant can reduce or remove indoor pollution including, benzene, xylene, formaldehyde, acetone, other pollutants, as well as smoke from cigarettes and smell of gasoline. Peace Lily thrive in little sunlight and lives best in diffused light. Watering the plant twice a week is suggested.
CAUTION: Peace Lilies are slightly toxic to humans and animals. Digesting a few leaves can result to diarrhea and vomiting in children; can lead to a burning sensation in the mouth, tongue and throat. Ingesting great enough quantities, can result to death. It is best to hung these plants high enough from children and pets’ reach!
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is a popular house plant having long arching leaves produces new shoots with insignificant white flowers. They are easy to care for, thriving under bright or shady light or even survive in less than perfect conditions Aside from being a very attractive hanging plant, Spider plants are excellent air purifier. Based on a study conducted by NASA, the plant has the ability to absorb air toxins including carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene.
Having thousands of extant cultivars, the Gerber Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) is a popular indoor flowering plants or as cut flowers. A perennial flowering plant with gorgeous flowers, it thrives in bright or filtered light and a well drained soil. It is best to place them in your bedroom or laundry room – provided you give them suitable light. Gerberas help in filtering out trichloroethylene, and benzene.
English ivy (Hedera helix) is a robust evergreen climbing plant that thrives in shade to full light and a well-drained soil. Also good as hanging plant, English Ivy helps in filtering airborne formaldehyde aerosols and other solid waste from the air.
CAUTION: The plant’s leaves and berries are poisonous to human and animals. Ingesting a large quantities can result to vomiting, convulsions, difficulty in breathing or in extreme cases coma.
Philodendrons are about 900 species of large flowering plants belonging to the Araceae family. As houseplants, they prefer less light and a well drained soil. A climbing philodendron planted in pots of soil can gives added beauty to any outdoor living room and/or plain windowsills.
Two species of philadendron namely: the Elephant Ear Philodendron (Philodendron domesticum) and the Heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron scandens `oxycardium’), are excellent in gobbling up formaldehyde.
CAUTION: Philadendrons leaves, stems, and juices which contain oxalates are poisonous to humans and pets. Ingestion of large quantity will result to reddening of the skin, and swelling of mouth, throat, lips, and tongue.
Chrysanthemum (Pot Mum) comprising about 200 species of ornamental plants is native to Asia and some part of northeastern Europe. Aside from being a popular decorative flower and for its medicinal properties, Chrysanthemum is also an excellent in filtering out benzene (present in paint, glue, detergent and plastics.) These perennial flowering plants thrive on full sunshine and evenly moist soil.
Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata), also known as Snake plant, is a hardy green house plant that rarely needs watering. A low maintenance bathroom plant, it prefer low shades and moist conditions. Tagged by NASA as one of the best ornamental plants, Mother-in-law’s tongue is excellent for filtering out indoor air toxins including nitrogen oxides and formaldehyde – present in toilet papers, cleaning products and personal care products
CAUTION: The plant contains toxic sap – ingesting large quantity can result to agonizing loss of speech.
This slow-growing flowering shrub which blooms in spring is native Asia, North America and Europe. When planted as indoor plants, azaleas (Rhododendron simsii) help in absorbing formaldehyde present in plywood or foam insulation. Since they thrive in semi-shade and in well-drained acidic soil, azaleas are perfect basement ornamental plants. Azaleas are also considered toxic plants
The Cornstalk Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans), is a slow growing shrub with long leaves and white or pink very fragrant flowers. Perfect for hallways and corners, this indoor plant requires low light and little watering. Another excellent indoor air-purifying plant, Cornstalk Dracaena absorbs benzene, toluene and xylene, and other air toxins associated with oils and varnishes.
CAUTION: The whole plant is toxic, ingestion of large quantity can result to diarrhea, difficulty breathing and weakness. It is best to place it away from children and pets.
A weeping fig (Ficus benjamina), is a topiary tree native to southeast Asia and Australia. It is a slow-growing tree that prefers bright to partial sunlight and a well-drained soil. These trees are grown for outdoor and indoor decor. As indoor ornamental plants, weeping figs are good in absorbing air toxins present in furniture and carpets including benzene, xylene, formaldehyde, ammonia, and trichloroethylene.
CAUTION: the plant is considered potentially toxic to birds.