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20 Best Air Purifying Plants To De-Stress Your Home

Indoor air purifying plants make beautiful decor items. Be it your bedroom or on your kitchen windowsill, or hanging from a ceiling. They're often mentioned as critical features in decor trends.

A bit of greenery and foliage livens up any room, and they're so versatile. You can add plants to any room as an addition to your home office or in a dedicated space as a centerpiece in your main areas.  

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Best Air Purifying Plants To De-stress Your Home

Besides their aesthetically pleasing qualities, houseplants have several other benefits. This article explores how air purifying plants can de-stress your living space and enhance the air quality.

How Air Cleaning Plants Purify the Air

How Air Cleaning Plants Purify the Air

Spending time outside for some fresh air and a bit of vitamin D is essential. The quality of indoor air is equally important, especially as some people spend more time indoors than outdoors. 

Plants filter the air and remove toxins plus convert carbon dioxide we breathe out to produce oxygen. This process is called photosynthesis, and scientists refer to indoor plants as "effective natural air purifiers."

It's thought that 'eco-friendly, health-conscious millennials' who live in apartments and cities are further boosting the popularity of indoor greenery.

A beautiful and calming space can help you, de-stress. Spending time in a room where you feel relaxed and can breathe clean air enhances your mood. 

If you're a true environmentalist and concerned about your plants' real source, go directly to Seed Needs. Here eco-aware owner, James Everly, describes a more environmentally friendly process where they only harvest seeds from open-pollinated plants. 

They supply mostly heirloom and non-GMO seeds, which means you'll have authentic seeds right from the parent plant. 


Best Air Purifying Plants to Grow at Home

In 1989 NASA conducted a study of tropical plants, commonly grown as houseplants throughout the US, to understand their air purifying qualities in enclosed, unventilated spaces.

The research is unrivaled today but should be taken with a pinch of salt as the study did not account for air filtration in normal homes. 

In other words, if you’ve got open windows and good airflow, most plants will struggle to do as good a job as the wind at cleaning your home.

However, there are some plants which we’ll look at below that are undeniably efficient indoor plants that clean the air, particularly at night.

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a great low-maintenance houseplant that actively improves the air quality in your home
  • Botanical name: Aloe vera
  • Common name: Aloe Vera, True Aloe
  • Growing Conditions: Well-drained to dry, Full sun
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Useful properties: Filters benzene, formaldehyde
  • Size: 3ft

Aloe vera is a great low-maintenance houseplant that actively improves the air quality in your home by filtering out formaldehyde and benzene. These toxins are harmful in large amounts, and particularly prevalent in urban environments, making Aloe vera a great apartment plant.

Not only are aloe vera one of the best indoor plants for clean air, they can also be used to soothe burns by simply cutting off a leaf and rubbing it directly on the affected area.

Check out our guide on how to grow Aloe vera here

2. Bamboo Palm (Dypsis lutescens)

Bamboo Palm filter out some air-borne toxins and are incredibly easy to care for
  • Botanical name: Dypsis lutescens
  • Common name: Bamboo palm
  • Growing Conditions: Evenly moist, indirect light
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Useful properties: Filters formaldehyde, benzene
  • Size: 4-12ft

Bamboo palms aren’t the most effective air purifier, but they do filter out some air-borne toxins and are incredibly easy to care for.

Unlike succulents, thin-leaved plants like bamboo palm help to humidify rooms in the evening and overnight by expelling moisture through their leaves, as well as higher concentrations of oxygen in the evening.

Here is our complete guide on growing Bamboo palms for both indoors and outdoors

3. Broad Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)

Broad Lady Palm are perfect for homes with pets as they help to reduce ammonia in the air
  • Botanical name: Rhapis excelsa
  • Common name: Broad Lady Palm
  • Growing Conditions: Reasonable drainage, indirect light
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Useful properties: Filters ammonia, formaldehyde, 
  • Size: 6-15ft

Broad lady palms only exist in cultivation and were bred initially for their beautifully fanned foliage. When they were initially bred, I’m sure their air purifying qualities weren’t intended, but they are perfect for homes with pets as they help to reduce ammonia in the air so make a perfect accompaniment for a busy litter tray.

4. Flamingo Lily (Anthurium andraeanum)

Flamingo Lily has thick waxy leaves that store water and filter xylene, toluene, formaldehyde, and ammonia from the air
  • Botanical name: Anthurium andraeanum
  • Common name: Flamingo Lily, Painter’s-palette
  • Growing Conditions: High-humidity, moist but well-drained, bright light
  • Maintenance: Medium
  • Useful properties: Filters formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, ammonia
  • Size: 2-3ft

Flamingo lily has thick waxy leaves that store water and filter xylene, toluene, formaldehyde, and ammonia from the air. All toxins are present in most indoor spaces but particularly widespread in urban homes.

Flamingo lily isn’t the easiest plant to grow, but it does reward you with beautiful blooms over a prolonged flowering season and helps to humidity indoor spaces too.

5. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)

Chinese evergreen are really easy to grow making it one of the best air purifying house plants
  • Botanical name: Aglaonema
  • Common name: Chinese evergreen
  • Growing Conditions: Bright indirect light, high humidity, water regularly
  • Maintenance: Medium
  • Useful properties: Filters benzene, formaldehyde
  • Size: 3ft

Chinese evergreen are really easy to grow making it one of the best air purifying house plants. They can be picky about moisture levels, so try to keep on top of their watering by keeping them moist but not damp, and occasionally mist indoor plants to stop them wilting through over-transpiration as they can attract pests when their foliage dries out.

Find out more about Chinese evergreen and it's varieties here

6. Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum are incredibly efficient in air purification
  • Botanical name: Chrysanthemum
  • Common name: Chrysanthemum
  • Growing Conditions: Repot annually, direct light, feed twice a month
  • Maintenance: High
  • Useful properties: Filters benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and ammonia
  • Size: 1-2ft

There are more reasons to grow chrysanthemums than we can fit in this article. Amongst their extensive list of benefits is pest prevention, spider repellents, flea deterrents for pets, and incredibly efficient air purification.

While the NASA study in 1989 showed chrysanthemums to be amongst the most efficient air purifying plants, they also hold up to studies in home environments and ventilated spaces too, making an active impact on the amount of ammonia and benzene in indoor spaces.

While chrysanthemums are toxic to pets, they have an incredibly bad taste so pets avoid them. Placing chrysanthemum near the door deters pests from entering the home, and occasionally rubbing the foliage on pet bedding will make it uninhabitable to fleas.

7. Dendrobium Orchids

Dendrobium is one of the best indoor plants for clean air
  • Botanical name: Dendrobium
  • Common name: Dendrobium orchids
  • Growing Conditions: Warm, bright, high humidity. Crowded, tightly packed roots.
  • Maintenance: High
  • Useful properties: Filters formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, acetone, chloroform
  • Size: 2-4ft

While most airborne toxins are at low levels in the home, there are some, like formaldehyde and chloroform that are constantly present in bathrooms and kitchens.

They are released as glues and sealants are warmed up, so it’s useful to have bathroom-friendly houseplants that can help to limit the effects.

Dendrobium orchids are long-stemmed orchids that thrive in poor soil, or none at all, with restricted roots and regular watering and misting. To thank us for such constant care, they clean our home and flower prolifically.

8. Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum)

Dracaena is one of the most popular air purifying plants
  • Botanical name: Epipremnum aureum
  • Common name: Devil’s ivy
  • Growing Conditions:  Well drained, regular watering, bright indirect light
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Useful properties: Filters benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, toluene
  • Size: 6-24ft

There are many reasons to grow Devil’s ivy, and air purification is definitely one of them. They filter out the most common toxins from the air, but they are also incredibly efficient at removing dust from our homes. 

Our bathroom has always been dusty, so it was a brilliant surprise when we planted a potted Devil’s Ivy in there. It’s now trained across an entire wall and attracts so much dust that it needs dusting almost weekly to keep its leaves looking good.

But all of that dust would have been in our lungs or walked into the carpet. For me, that makes Devil’s ivy the best air purifying plant you can have in your home, regardless of any toxicity study.

9. Dragon tree (Dracaena)

Dracaena is one of the most popular air purifying plants
  • Botanical name: Dracaena
  • Common name: Dragon tree
  • Growing Conditions: Bright indirect light, part shade, keep soil moist
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Useful properties: Filters benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene
  • Size: 2-10ft

There are dozens of species of Dracaena, and all share similar air purifying qualities, but with a significant disparity in size between each species, it’s important to find the right one for your home.

Dracaena fragrans or Dracaena marginata are both compact species that will usually reach around 6ft tall indoors.To know more about the latter, check out our complete growing guide on Dracaena marginata here

10. Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)

Dumb Cane is great for home offices and studios as it focuses it’s air purification skills on xylene and toluene
  • Botanical name: Dieffenbachia
  • Common name: Dumb cane, leopard lily
  • Growing Conditions: Well-drained soil, bright indirect light
  • Maintenance: Medium
  • Useful properties: Filters formaldehyde, xylene, toluene
  • Size: 5ft

Dumb cane is great for home offices and studios as it focuses it’s air purification skills on xylene and toluene. Both toxins are released as paint, glue, or ink dries and can be released from generators or stoves.

While dumb cane does tend to wilt if over-watered and dry to a crisp if under-watered it is generally pretty easy to care for, so makes a good houseplant for new gardeners.

Find out more about Dieffenbachia, it's varieties, and how to grow this popular plant here

11. English Ivy (Hedera helix)

English Ivy has to be one of the best air purifiers you can grow at home
  • Botanical name: Hedera helix
  • Common name: Common ivy, English ivy
  • Growing Conditions: Water regularly, full sun or partial shade, mist fortnightly
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Useful properties: Filters benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene
  • Size: <50ft

English ivy has to be one of the best air purifiers you can grow at home. Sadly it is also one of the most hated plants amongst gardeners thanks to a misconception that it damages your home.

The common belief that ivy damages bricks is unfounded. The roots do get into mortar, and can cause the old render to pull away from walls, but they do not cause damage.

Growing ivy indoors can be done in hanging baskets, up obelisks or up bare brick walls. Provided their roots are kept moist and they are misted occasionally to replicate outdoor conditions.

Now for the grim bit. In 1989 NASA carried out a study of houseplants’ abilities to filter air toxins. Ivy was one of the most effective.

In a more recent study of ivy, it was tested against common household air problems (airborne mold and airborne feces). In six hours, ivy had filtered out 60% of mold, and 58% of feces from the air. In 12 hours, 98% of feces, and 78% of mold was gone from the air.

12. Kimberly Queen Fern (Nephrolepis obliterata)

Kimberly Queen Fern commonly known as Nephrolepis obliterata

Source: thejunglecollective.com.au

  • Botanical name: Nephrolepis obliterata
  • Common name: Kimberly queen fern
  • Growing Conditions: Moist but well-drained soil in part shade
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Useful properties: Filters formaldehyde, xylene, toluene
  • Size: 2-3ft

The sprawling fronds of Kimberly Queen Ferns make a beautiful addition to any home, and look particularly good in entrance halls and bathrooms, where they benefit from through breezes and higher humidity. 

Like all ferns, Kimberly queen should be kept out of direct sunlight, and kept reasonably moist. After a couple of years, you should have a bushy plant with tons of foliage ready to filter out anything your home can throw at it.

13. Barberton Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)

Barberton Daisy is surprisingly well adapted for air filtration
  • Botanical name: Gerbera jamesonii
  • Common name: Barberton daisy, Gerbera daisy
  • Growing Conditions: Keep soil moist at all times, full sun
  • Maintenance: Medium
  • Useful properties: Filters benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene
  • Size: 2ft

The Barberton daisy is surprisingly well adapted for air filtration. This bright, beautiful, daisy from South Africa evolved in the wild to cope with harsh summers and has been bred into a much plumper flower form with low-spread foliage. 

But, like all things in nature, the reasons for evolution are never clear cut. There is no particular reason that Barberton daisies are such effective air purifiers, as it has no tangible benefit to them in the wild, but when grown indoors they help to filter out most household toxins and are very efficient oxygenators for bedrooms.

14. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

Peace Lilies are great at filtering toxins from the air
  • Botanical name: Spathiphyllum
  • Common name: Peace lily
  • Growing Conditions: Free draining soil, bright indirect light or partial shade.
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Useful properties: Filters benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, ammonia
  • Size: 2-6ft

Peace lilies are great at filtering toxins from the air, but their biggest benefit is humidification. Peace lilies increase room humidity by up to 5% which helps to trap toxins that the plant misses and creates a cooler, crisper environment to live in.

The key to a healthy peace lily is to keep the soil evenly moist, and ensure the foliage is supported to allow air to flow right around the base of the plant. See our complete growing gudie on Peace lilies here

15. Philodendron

Philodendron transpire routinely every evening, increasing humidity, and turning toxins into oxygen and water
  • Botanical name: Philodendron
  • Common name: Philodendron
  • Growing Conditions: Moist but well-drained soil, full sun
  • Maintenance: Medium
  • Useful properties: Filters formaldehyde
  • Size: 3-20ft

Philodendrons are a massive genus of tropical plants which transpire routinely every evening, increasing humidity, and turning toxins into oxygen and water.

If you want a statement architectural plant for your conservatory or bedroom there is nothing more humidifying than a philodendron which increases evening humidity by around 10% in a typical home.

We love Philodendrons so much, we have a full list of growing guides for you to choose from:

16. Rubber Fig (Ficus elastica)

Rubber Fig are used as filters from homes
  • Botanical name: Ficus elastica
  • Common name: Rubber fig, rubber plant, rubber bush, rubber tree
  • Growing Conditions: Full sun, moist but well-drained soil, feed regularly
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Useful properties: Filters formaldehyde
  • Size: 6-8ft indoors (50ft outdoors)

Rubber figs have always struck me as an odd choice for a houseplant as they can easily reach over 50ft tall in ideal conditions. However, the reality when grown indoors is a limited plant that effectively bonsais itself, producing masses of thick, waxy, leaves, on a smooth stem that’s packed with naturally occurring latex when the plant reaches 6-7 years old.

As well as being one of nature’s miracle plants, they are also used as filters from homes, particularly new builds where chemical building materials continue infusing the air with formaldehyde for months after work is complete.

Placing a rubber plant in kitchens, dining rooms or bathrooms helps to target the most prevalent areas of formaldehyde in the home.

17. Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)

Dracaena trifasciata commonly known as Snake Plant
  • Botanical name: Dracaena trifasciata (formerly, Sansevieria)
  • Common name: Snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue
  • Growing Conditions: Bright indirect light, restricted roots, good drainage
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Useful properties: Filters benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene
  • Size: 6”-8ft (depending on species

Like most succulents, snake plants do most of their work during the day, but pump out oxygen at night. The leaves of these succulent Dracaenas store moisture, making their spiky leaves incredibly tough.

Their main stems are underground and tend to duplicate. Leave snake plant pups in their pots until it’s so crowded that the pot begins to stretch.

Once snake plants have completely outgrown their containers, pot them on into individual small pots and place them around the house where they can help to clean the air all over the house.

For context, if you have a single mature snake plant in a locked room, it can remove up to 50% of the toxins in the air over 24 hours. Learn more about Snake plants and it's benefits here

18. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Spider Plant filter out most common toxins in the air and are particularly efficient at filtering carbon monoxide
  • Botanical name: Chlorophytum comosum
  • Common name: Spider plant, spider ivy, ribbon plant, hen and chickens
  • Growing Conditions: Bright indirect light, moist soil, mist regularly
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Useful properties: Filters formaldehyde, xylene, toluene
  • Size: 1ft (trails 6-8ft)

Spider plants filter out most common toxins in the air and are particularly efficient at filtering carbon monoxide so are perfect if you live near a road or in a heavily polluted area.

Their sprawling suckers hold up to a dozen pups, all supported by a single root ball on the parent plant, creating a mass of dropping foliage that all serves one main purpose in your home: air purification.

Spider plants are ideal for bathrooms, where they filter any air that enters through vents, and benefit from the humidity of regular showers.

19. Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

Ficus benjamina commonly known as Weeping Fig
  • Botanical name: Ficus benjamina
  • Common name: Weeping fig, Benjamin fig, ficus tree
  • Growing Conditions: Well drained soil, regular watering, indirect light
  • Maintenance: Medium
  • Useful properties: Filters formaldehyde, xylene, toluene
  • Size: 6-20ft

Weeping figs can be pretty picky about where they live. When we first got ours we followed all the guidance and advice of friends and fellow gardeners about finding direct light and allowing the soil to dry between watering, but in reality, it took five locations and three years to figure out what our weeping fig wanted. 

Now, we’ve got a super happy weeping fig, thriving in our downstairs toilet. The light is bright, but filtered, and it’s really well ventilated.

What it really seems to enjoy though is the warmer temperatures and super regular watering, and like many leafy houseplants, it’s great for attracting dust and keeping the room clean.

20. Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

Parlor Palm actively reduce dust, and noticeably improve air quality in the room
  • Botanical name: Chamaedorea elegans
  • Common name: Parlor palm, neanthe bella palm
  • Growing Conditions: Shade tolerant but prefers bright light, any well-drained soil
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Useful properties: Filters benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene and ammonia
  • Size: 4-5ft

If you’re after a plant that can perform with little to no care, you need to buy a parlor palm. Parlor palms will survive through months of complete neglect and burst back into life after a decent water.

They actively reduce dust, and noticeably improve air quality in the room when they are kept well-watered though, so if you want them performing at their best, keep them moist, but not over-watered, and provide them with plenty of indirect light. 

When selecting the indoor plants that’ll bring you the most benefit, you should not only consider the decorative effect. Being a plant parent comes with more responsibilities than just light and water requirements.   

You'll have to ensure that they're compatible with other occupants, like younger children and pets. Keeping them out of reach is always the best idea, but you'll live stress-free when you know there are no toxins or other harmful qualities to your houseplants.


Wrapping Our List of the Best Air Purifying Plants List to Grow at Home

Plants are not just trendy decor items. You just need to choose the best air purifying indoor plants that clean the air. They have many other therapeutic qualities that can benefit you while beautifying your home or office. 

Several indoor plants are easy to grow, and you can select one that fits your environs and 'green-finger' skills. Check that you know what's required for each in terms of light, soil, and water, and you'll have a green companion without much hassle. 

Once you're comfortable with one or two, you can keep adding air purifying plants to your collection to naturally de-stress your home. 

About the Author Mabel Vasquez

Mabel has enjoyed a long career as a horticulturist, working in nurseries and greenhouses for many years. Although she loves all plants, Mabel has developed a particular passion over the years for herb gardens and indoor plants. Mabel has since retired from her horticulture career and loves sharing her many years of experience with our audience here at Sumo Gardener.

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