We all know that plants can fill a room with colour and life. But, did you know there’s more to them than just that? Some have air-purifying superpowers, which means that while you take care of them, they’re taking care of your home. Want to know the best air-purifying houseplants? Keep scrolling.
First things first, how do plants purify air?
Let’s take it back to science class: During photosynthesis (you remember that word, don’t ya?), plants convert the carbon dioxide we exhale into fresh oxygen and remove toxins from the air we breathe. NASA tested this theory in a landmark 1989 study when they examined how popular houseplants diffuse toxic chemicals including:
- Formaldehyde, which can cause irritation to nose, mouth, and throat.
- Benzane, which can cause irritation to eyes, drowsiness, dizziness, increase in heart rate, headaches, and confusion.
- Trichlorothylene, which can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
In the study, they found several, no-fuss plants that actually filter out the bad stuff and easily grow indoors.
How many plants do I need to purify a room?
A study has shown that adding five medium-sized plants in a room could improve air quality by 75% and even mental health by 60% – leading to improved health, wellbeing and productivity. Keep in mind that plants with larger leaves purify air quicker.
The 7 best air-purifying plants to buy
The Peace Lily
What’s there not to love about peace lilies? They produce the loveliest little flowers, are a dream to look after and can absorb harmful airborne toxins. And the same way they soak up moisture through their leaves (humid kitchens are their dream home), they also take in any mould spores and microbes in the air. This plant just keeps on giving.
The Chinese Money Plant
Chinese money plants are thought to bring good fortune to their owner. And it could be said that the first thing they bless their new home with is cleaner air. These plants are also very easy to propagate. So, if you wanted to, you could fill your home with lots of little air-purifying indoor plants. Or treat your friends to some too.
The Rubber Plant
One of the best air-purifying plants for newbies – caring for a rubber plant is a breeze. As long as it’s popped somewhere that gets equal amounts of sun and shade, and is watered occasionally, it’ll love any owner it lives with. Even someone who may be too busy to give it attention every day. So that it can keep pumping out lots of clean air, its leaves will need to be wiped clean with a wet cloth every so often.
The Bird’s Nest Fern
Because of their rippled edges, bird’s nest ferns are experts at soaking up pollutants in the air. Like formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene. But while they’re working hard to take care of your home, they need an owner who’ll keep up with their needs too. It’ll be happiest with someone who knows when to check in on the people – and plants – they love.
The ZZ Raven
Notoriously easy to look after, ZZ raven plants are the perfect pick for those that can be quite forgetful. Ever miss a watering? This air-purifying superstar won’t make you feel bad. And because they don’t mind shady spots, they’re great for home offices. We can’t think of a better desk buddy than one that can keep the air around it lovely and fresh.
The Boston Fern
Just like its cousin, The Bird’s Nest Fern, Boston ferns are thought to be some of the best air-purifying plants because of all their lush green foliage. They love humid environments, so can easily balance the moisture levels in your home too. If you were looking for a plant to pop in a steamy shower room, this is it. Not only will it give any bathroom a spa-worthy look, but it can also make showers feel that little bit more refreshing.
The Snake Plant
Snake plants are the ultimate low-maintenance plant. Just like the friend who forgives you when you forget to text back, snake plants won’t mind if you miss a watering. And they’re one of the only plants that can convert CO2 into oxygen during the night. Some say you’re in for a more restful night’s sleep with this plant in your room. There’s only one way to find out.