Best Air Purifying Indoor Plants Part 1

NASA in partnership with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) found that plants are the easiest and most efficient air filters for the most common three toxins present in the house.


Benefits of Indoor Plants
A Guide to Indoor Plants
Air purifying indoor plants Part 2
Air purifying indoor plants Part 3
Air purifying indoor plants Part 4
Air purifying indoor plants Part 5
At night, in the absence of photosynthesis, plants absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide. There are, however, some plants like succulents, orchids and epiphytic bromeliads take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen during night. These plants can be placed in bedrooms to refresh air during the night.

NASA Scientist Dr Wolverton [1997] and his co-workers studied several plants and listed 50 household plants in order of their effectiveness. More recently Dr Kobayashi [2007] and his team has also studied several plants for their ability to clean the air, the ease of growing and maintaining them and their light requirement.

List of Top Air Purifying Indoor Plants


Following are some of the plants from the Wolverton's list according to their ability to clean the air. Please note that many other plants can also remove chemical air pollutants.

In the following, the Air Cleaning Capability Rating is from 1 to 10, with 10 being excellent - measured in a controlled experiment. The lighting conditions are

Full sun: minimum 5 hour of sun,
Semi-sun: 2 hours of sun and
Semi-shade: only indirect light.

1. Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)

Bamboo Palm Chamaedorea seifrizii air filtering plant
Bamboo Palm
Rating: 9
Position: Direct Morning Sun

The two palm trees that effectively purify the indoor air are the bamboo palm (also known as reed palm) and the Parlor palm or Bela Palm (Chamaedorea elegans). These plants add moisture to the air. They purifies air by removing xylene, formaldehyde, benzene,  chloroform and trichloroethylene from the air.

Place the plants in living rooms with new floors, carpets, etc.

These are resistant to insect. They grows between three and six feet tall, the Parlor palm stays the shortest.

Place the plant in bright light area, but not in direct sunlight. These palms tolerate very low light.

Keep the soil moist, but excess water will damage the roots. Do not let this palm sit in standing water for long.

Wash the leaves periodically with soap and water to prevent spider mites.

2. Rubber Plant (Ficus robusta or Ficus elastica)

Rubber Plant Ficus robusta or Ficus elastica air cleaning plant
Rubber Plant
Rating: 9
Position: Direct Late Afternoon Sun

The rubber plant cleans the air by removing toxins. This plant is very effective at removing formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, etc., however, more efficient at removing formaldehyde from the air.

It can grow in lighting conditions from low to bright light but not in direct sunlight. Read on how to grow and care a rubber plant and rubber plant propagation.

Allow the surface of the rubber tree's soil to dry out in between watering.

3. English Ivy (Hedera helix)

English Ivy Hedera helix air cleaning plant
English Ivy
Rating: 9
Position: No Direct Sun

English ivy is good in removing benzene and formaldehyde from cigarette smoke, detergents, pesticides and synthetic materials.

English Ivy can reduce the amount of mold in the air, so this plant is good to prevent asthma and allergies.

Place the plant in partial shade to bright light, but not in direct sunlight. The leaves lose their colouring in very dark rooms.

Ivies make wonderful climbing plants or indoor topiaries. However, it grows aggressively without any care and spreads very rapidly.

English ivy may be toxic if eaten, keep plants away from children and pets.


4. Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)

Dwarf Date Palm(Phoenix roebelenii air purifying plant
Dwarf Date Palm

Rating: 9
Position: Semi-sun to semi-sun

It is also known as Pygmy date palm or miniature date palm.

Like most palms, this palm is one of the best for removing indoor air pollutants, specially removing xylene and formaldehyde.

Place this palm in semi-sun to semi-shade position, although well to low-light conditions.

The Dwarf Date Palm is a very slow growing plant. It has sharp needle-like spines near the base of the leaf stem so it should not be placed near children’s play areas.

It is a hardy, drought-tolerant and long-living plant.

5. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata "Bostoniensis")

Boston Fern Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis air purifying plant
Boston Fern
Rating: 9
Position: Direct Morning Sun

It is also known as Sword Fern.
It is a natural air humidifier and removes pollutants like formaldahyde from air. It releases an abundant amount of moisture into the air.

Place in a bright light area, may be in living room.

This plant has stiff fronds arch outwards, drooping downward as they age.

Boston fern is deal for hanging baskets. It likes damp soil (mist daily) but can be tolerant of drought. Mist and water frequently to reduced leaf drop. Dry air can kill Boston ferns.

Benefits of Indoor Plants | A Guide to Indoor Plants | Air purifying indoor plants Part 2 | Air purifying indoor plants Part 3 | Air purifying indoor plants Part 4 | Air purifying indoor plants Part 5

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