10 Best Houseplants That Purify The Air In Your Home Or Office


10 Best Houseplants That Purify The Air In Your Home Or Office

Why invest in expensive electrical air purifiers when you could purchase a few types of houseplants to clean and filter the air naturally and inexpensively?

Electrical air purifiers require maintenance. In addition, air filters only purify the air; they don’t create oxygen like plants do.

Sometimes you just can’t replace what Mother Nature can do.

Much of the research on these beneficial houseplants has been done by NASA scientists researching ways to create suitable space station habitats.

All indoors plants (flowering or not) are able to purify indoor air to some degree through their normal photosynthesis processes.

But some were found to be more beneficial than others in removing harmful household toxins, even removing 90% of chemicals in the air in only twenty-four hours!

The main household toxins of concern are:

  • formaldehyde
  • xylene / toluene
  • benzene
  • trichloroethylene

These carcinogenic chemicals are used in the manufacturing of synthetic substances and materials and are off-gassing from new materials for some time, up to several years, depending on the material of product.

In the past, houseplants were sought only for their beauty and psychological value. The ability of houseplants to improve the quality of the air we breathe is now accepted scientific fact.

How many houseplants are necessary to clean the air?

NASA researchers suggest that the optimal air-filtering effect is achieved with at least one potted plant per 100 square feet of home or office space.

One large plant or several smaller ones can be used for a spacious area such as the family room depending on what works best for a given decorating scheme.

Which plants are the best for cleaning the air and what chemicals do they remove?

The following information is provided on houseplants that have been tested for their ecological benefits.

These plants have been grated according to ease of growth and maintenance, resistance to pests, efficiency at removing chemical vapors and transpiration rates.


(Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)

NASA Purifying Score: 8.5

The top air purifying plant as ranked by NASA’s study is the Areca palm tree.

In a home setting, a 6 ft (1.8 m) Areca palm transpires approximately 1 quart (1 liter) of water every 24 hours.

The Areca is consistently rated among the best houseplants for removing all indoor air toxins tested.

It also has the unique ability to move salt accumulations to selected branches. When saturated, these branches die and should be quickly removed.

During winter time, it can literally replace the use of electric humidifiers altogether!


(Rhapis excelsa)

NASA Purifying Score: 8.5

Neck and neck with the Areca palm tree for NASA’s top-ranked air purifying plant is the Lady palm.

Lady palm is one of the easiest houseplants to care for and is highly resistant to attack by most plant insects.

It grows slowly and it is easy to maintain.


(Chamaedorea seifrizii)

NASA Purifying Score: 8.4

Bamboo palm is easy to care for.

It pumps much needed moisture into the indoor atmosphere, especially during winter months when heating systems dry the air.

This palm is also one of the top-rated plants tested for the removal of benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.


(Ficus robusta)

NASA Purifying Score: 8.0

Formerly known as Ficus elastica. Its common name is derived from its thick, leather-like, dark-green leaves that contain a rubber-like latex.

This plant is easy to grow and is especially effective at removing formaldehyde.

Of the ficus plants tested, the rubber plant is the best for removing chemical toxins from the indoor environment.

A word of caution, though: rubber plant leaves can be toxic, so keep it away from animals or young children who might consume it.


(Dracaena deremensis)

NASA Purifying Score: 7.8

The dark-green leaves of Dracaena “Janet Craig” make it most attractive plant.

It is one of the best plants for removing trichloroethylene.

“Janet Craig” is best among the dracaenas for removing chemical toxins from the indoor environment.

Scoring well in all categories, it should live for decades if properly maintained.


(Hedera helix)

NASA Purifying Score: 7.8

WebMD describes the effervescent plant as “a fix for allergies“, noting that 78% of airborne mold in the room vanished just 12 hours after English ivy was brought in. So were nearly all of the airborne feces (94%), the study shows.

As airborne mold spores have been linked to a variety of serious illnesses, English ivy could reduce indoor mold counts.

It has an excellent overall rating and is particularly effective at removing formaldehyde.

It is ideal to use in hanging baskets. It is easy to grow.

A word of caution, though: the plant is toxic, so keep it away from animals or young children who might consume it.


(Phoenix roebelinii)

NASA Purifying Score: 7.8

Dwarf date palm is one of the best palms for removing indoor air pollutants and is especially effective for the removal of xylene.

It is a very slow grower. When its environmental needs are met, the date palm can survive for decades.

The dwarf date palm, like most other palms, has a high overall rating.


(Ficus macleilandii “Alii”)

NASA Purifying Score: 7.7

There are three types: the standard tree, the bush (several stems from one pot) and the braids (two or three entwined trunks).

Like all species of ficus, except some leaf drop until the plant adjust to its new location.

A magnificent large plant, its ability to help purify the air, ease of growth and resistance to insects make it an excellent choice for the home or office.


(Nephrolepis exalta)

NASA Purifying Score: 7.5

As an indoor plant, the Boston fern requires a certain amount of attention.

It must have frequent misting and watering or the leaves will quickly turn brown and begin to drop.

Of the plants tested, it is the best for removing air pollutants, especially formaldehyde, and for adding humidity to the indoor environment.


(Spathiphyllum sp.)

NASA Purifying Score: 7.5

The Peace lily excels in the removal of alcohols, acetone, trichloroethylene, benzene and formaldehyde.

Its ability to remove indoor air pollutants and its excellent performance in all categories make it most valuable houseplant.

All that’s needed to keep and maintain this beautiful indoor air toxin killer is plenty of water and a modest amount of sunlight.

Preserve these conditions at all time and you’ve got yourself an all-natural air purifier that will remain hard at work 24/7!


Dr. B.C. Wolverton, How To Grow Fresh Air, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Great Britain, 2008.

English Ivy: A Fix for Allergies?


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