Indoor plants are very beneficial to have. They boost our productivity, reduce stress and fatigue, add life to otherwise bland living spaces, reduce noise levels and even improve the air quality in our homes. While you might know that plants turn carbon dioxide into oxygen during the process of photosynthesis, you may not be aware that they also have the ability to filter dust particles and harmful toxins out of the air we breathe. 

If you want to naturally improve the air quality in your home, stimulate your mental health and add pretty decor, introducing air-purifying plants to your home is a great way to go.

Houseplants and NASA

VOCs infographic

What on earth do houseplants have to do with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)? Well, it’s not as far-fetched as it may seem. In 1989, NASA published a study indicating that houseplants can filter out harmful toxins from the inside air within your house, making it cleaner and safer for you to breathe. Some of these toxins include:

  • Benzene: Found in glues, adhesives, lubricants and cleaning products
  • Formaldehyde: Found in wood products and building materials
  • Toluene: Found in inks, dyes, paints and cigarette smoke 
  • Trichloroethylene: Found in paints, spot removers and carpet-cleaning fluids
  • Xylene: Found in paints, lacquers, adhesives and permanent markers
  • Ammonia: Found in fertilizers and window-cleaning products
  • Carbon monoxide: Found in stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces and gas ranges

To help reduce these toxins, it’s recommended to have two or three plants for every 100 square feet within your home. Consider using a variety of plants for the maximum benefit. Find out what kind of air-purifying indoor plants are the perfect fit for your lifestyle and living space below.

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1. Bamboo Palm

bamboo palm plant

If you have a neglected corner in your home that could use a little makeover, the bamboo palm is the perfect plant to add life to it. While it’s a tropical plant, this tree is one of the more popular low light indoor plants and only wants to be watered when the soil is looking dry. A well-cared-for bamboo palm can grow up to 6 feet indoors and will leave you with nothing but clean air to breathe.

  • Pet safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, xylene, chloroform

2. Areca Palm

areca palm plant

Areca palms are another tropical plant that can grow tall and look amazing in industrial lofts or rooms with high ceilings. Expose your plant to bright indirect sunlight, water it carefully and you’ll soon enjoy a tree that grows up to 8 feet tall, purifies the air you breathe and boosts your mood every time you glance at the beautiful, lush foliage.

  • Pet safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene

3. Thatch Palm

thatch palm plant

The thatch palm is native to Australia and has a skinny trunk with dark green fronds. These are easy plants to grow as they can tolerate varying conditions, making them a great option for those new to caring for plants. They dislike direct sunlight and only need water when the soil is dry, making them rather easy to care for. This is a top choice for a plant that cleans the air and adds beauty to your space.

  • Pet safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Formaldehyde, ammonia, carbon monoxide

4. Gerbera Daisy

gerbera daisies in vase

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Growing a gerbera daisy inside your home is a great way to enhance your mood while still making your air healthier to breathe. Gerbera daisy care is relatively easy, with the biggest hassle being finding the balance between plenty of sunlight and moderate temperatures. Consider placing your daisies in a location that has moderate sunlight all day to prevent bloom scorching, and remember to water the plant at its base.

  • Pet safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Benzene and formaldehyde

5. Spider Plant

spider plant on shelf

Sprucing up a room like your home office is a piece of cake with a spider plant. This plant is super forgiving, will grow under almost any circumstance and the added greenery to your home office or study room helps with reducing physical and psychological stress! Water your spider plant about once a week and expose it to moderate sunlight so you can enjoy it for a long time.

  • Pet safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats 
  • Helps eliminate: Formaldehyde, xylene

6. Parlor Palm 

parlor palm plant on table

A relatively adaptable plant, the parlor palm is one of the best indoor plants for clean air. It’s important to note that this particular plant is sensitive to too much water and sunlight, so make sure to keep it out of direct sunlight and only water when necessary. Because this plant prefers room temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, it will make a great addition to any room in your home

  • Pet safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Benzene and trichloroethylene

7. Broad Lady Palm

broad lady palm plant

If you’re looking for a corner plant that doesn’t need a ton of sun, the broad lady palm is your best bet. These are great indoor plants because they prefer comfortable temperatures — around 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The broad lady palm can grow up to six feet tall and has a unique appearance, making it a great decoration to talk about. 

  • Pet safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Ammonia, xylene, toluene, benzene

8. Fittonia

fittonia plant

Fittonias are another great choice if you’re looking for a low-maintenance option for a houseplant. Smaller than some other air-purifying plants, fittonias typically grow to be 3 to 6 inches tall, making them perfect for smaller spaces. They need high humidity, indirect sunlight and plenty of water to thrive and to add a pop of color to your home

  • Pet safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Toluene, benzene, trichloroethylene

9. Lemon Button Fern

lemon button fern plant

Like other ferns, the lemon button fern is generally easy to maintain, making it a great option for those who lead a busy lifestyle. They typically grow to be a foot high and do best in indirect sunlight, which would make this plant a great option for a desk or table. An added bonus of this fern is that it naturally raises humidity levels inside your home, which can be extremely helpful in the dry winter months. 

  • Pet safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Formaldehyde, xylene, toluene

10. Kimberly Queen Fern

kimberly queen fern plant

A graceful and elegant plant, the Kimberly queen fern is among the special plants that purify the air and is a perfect option if you have spots in your home that receive bright light. The fronds arch upward and outward and will add a nice touch of decor to your home office or family room. Make sure you keep the soil moist but not soaked to ensure the best growth possible.

  • Pet safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Formaldehyde, xylene, toluene

11. Calathea

calathea plant

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The calathea plant has leaves that boast a fun pattern, making it an exotic and unique plant for home decorating. This plant changes the angle of its leaves throughout the day depending on the sun, so it might look like it’s moved throughout the day! The calathea’s leaves will start to curl inward if it’s getting thirsty, so water as soon as you notice this and it should bounce back quickly.

  • Pet safety: Nontoxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Benzene and carbon monoxide

12. Scarlet Star 

scarlet star plant

The scarlet star is a great plant option to grow if you want something long-lasting and unique. This plant provides a stark pop of color, as the leaves tend to umbrella out from the main flower. They like to be kept moist but never soggy, and prefer moderate sunlight for best growth. Scarlet stars will make a great addition to any room that has frequent visitors so they can stop and see the beauty.   

  • Pet safety: Nontoxic for dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Toluene, xylene, benzene

13. Snake Plant

snake plant

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Snake plants, or mother-in-law’s tongue, are easy to care for and can grow up to 12 feet high when exposed to plenty of sunlight. This plant releases oxygen at night, so a good location for it would be the bedroom for a better night’s sleep. The larger the leaves of a plant, the more toxins it can absorb, which makes the snake plant the perfect air purifier.

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, trichloroethylene

14. Dragon Tree

dragon tree plant

This tree is native to Madagascar and Mauritius, but will enjoy sharing your home anywhere in the world, as long as it’s exposed to bright indirect sunlight and watered about every two weeks. While dragon trees grow on the slower side, they do have the potential to reach 8 feet tall! The dragon tree is characterized by its long green leaves with red edges and will be an absolute delight to care for since it’s very low-maintenance.

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Trichloroethylene, xylene

15. Chrysanthemum

chrysanthemum plants

The beautiful fall chrysanthemum is not only a great visual option for your home, but is also one of the most effective indoor plants that clean the air and remove toxins. Since chrysanthemum blooms last about six weeks, feel free to add this plant to your home in the fall and again in the spring, keeping in mind that the flowers are what help purify the air. 

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, xylene

16. English Ivy

english ivy plant

The English ivy is an easy vine to maintain that provides stunning detail in your home. This plant needs plenty of water and at least four hours of direct sunlight daily to continue to purify your air. Consider planting in a hanging basket to let the vines spread out naturally.

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Carbon monoxide, benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene

17. Rubber Plant

rubber plant

Native to India, the rubber plant boasts humidifying properties in addition to air purification. The roots of the rubber plant tend to grow upward and around the trunk, creating different shapes to look at. This plant needs to be watered once a week and provided bright indirect sunlight. Make sure you wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth when you do your other household cleaning for maximum effectiveness. 

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene

18. Weeping Fig

weeping fig plant

Also known as Ficus benjamina, the weeping fig is one of the best plants you can choose to improve the air quality in your home. You will need to be a bit more attentive to the weeping fig, which, by the way, makes a great addition to your living room, if you want to see it grow up to 6 feet high. This tree loves bright indirect sunlight and hates wet feet, so only water it when the soil is slightly dry.

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Formaldehyde, xylene, toluene

19. Peace Lily

peace lily plant

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The peace lily is not only a great natural air purifier — it’s also a beautiful flower to look at. This plant loves humid conditions and doesn’t mind little to no sunlight, which makes it the perfect plant to decorate your bathroom with. To keep your peace lily happy, water it with distilled or rainwater.

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, ammonia

20. Corn Plant

corn plant

The corn plant is tall and narrow and looks similar to a palm tree. It boasts foliage that can be green or yellow, making it an easy plant to add to your existing decor. For the best growth, make sure that these are kept in a bright room (but not in direct sunlight) and are not near any sources of drafts like an air conditioning or heating vent. 

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Benzene and formaldehyde

21. Philodendron

philodendron plant

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For an adaptable plant, look no further than the philodendron. These have large green leaves and can thrive in most homes with medium to bright light. Philodendrons are a great option for inexperienced plant parents, as they naturally adjust to growing conditions within the home, plus they add an element of beauty to wherever you decide to keep them.

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Formaldehyde 

22. Flamingo Lily

flamingo lily plant

There’s no better way to spruce up your living space than with a pop of color from the flamingo lily. This plant needs to be placed in a bright area that’s not in direct sunlight for optimal growth. Flamingo lilies do need high humidity; it’s best to mist them every few days and water them enough that the soil is moist but not soggy. These red, heart-shaped leaves will be a perfect addition to your existing decor and will help keep your air clean. 

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Ammonia, toluene, xylene, formaldehyde

23. Aloe Vera

aloe vera plant

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Aloe vera is a great plant for beginners, as it’s on the smaller side and one of the easiest to maintain indoor plants you can place in your home. They love bright light and do well on windowsills or work desks. If you let this succulent grow a bit, you can cut one of the thicker leaves off the next time you have a scrape or sunburn and ease the pain by smearing the gel from the inside of the leaf on your skin.

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Formaldehyde and benzene

24. Devil’s Ivy

devil's ivy plant

Perfect for the newbie plant parent, devil’s ivy is, for the most part, disease-and pest-free and prefers to be left alone to grow. This plant can grow to be 6 to 8 feet long if unpruned, and showcases yellow and green foliage. Giving your devil’s ivy plenty of filtered sunlight and only watering when the soil is dry will ensure long-lasting beauty and air purification.

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene, carbon monoxide

25. Chinese Evergreen

chinese evergreen plant

For a more challenging plant to care for, the Chinese evergreen is a great option for experienced plant growers. These pretty and colorful plants tend to do best in low- to medium-light conditions and require some humidity. It’s important to keep your Chinese evergreen away from drafts, as they can cause this plant to turn brown. When all conditions are properly maintained, these plants will remain durable to provide you with beauty and clean air for years to come

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene

26. ZZ Plant

zz plant

The ZZ plant has wide, dark green leaves, making it a good addition to most existing decor in your home. They only need to be watered every two to three weeks, which is a major positive for those who have a busy schedule or are plant novices. This plant will go great in a smaller room; the waxy leaves reflect sunlight, brightening up any room they’re in. 

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Xylene, toluene, benzene

27. Croton

croton plant

The croton is a show-stopping plant to have displayed in your home. They have colorful, bright leaves that are different from other typical houseplants. This is a tropical plant, so make sure it’s getting plenty of water and direct sunlight. When treated correctly, this plant can grow pretty quickly, so be sure to prune when necessary.

  • Pet safety: Toxic to dogs and cats
  • Helps eliminate: Benzene, formaldehyde, xylene

28. Pineapple Plant

pineapple plant

The pineapple plant is unique from the rest of the plants in this list, in addition to being a fun addition to your home. While this plant doesn’t remove any specific toxins from your home, it is one of the most efficient plants that can produce oxygen, especially at night. 

While pineapple plants don’t require a lot of water, they do require plenty of sun, so keep them in a brightly lit room. As an added bonus, the plant produces a pineapple once every two years!

  • Pet safety: Nontoxic to cats, but toxic to dogs
  • Helps to: Produce clean oxygen

Plants provide many benefits just by being in a room, such as providing fresh oxygen and filtering toxic pollutants out of our living spaces. Adding air-purifying plants to your home is a fantastic way to improve your physical and mental health, but you should still take other steps, such as dusting and vacuuming regularly, to maximize your air quality. Even if you are tight on space, adding a few tiny succulents can help absorb airborne pollutants and give you that mood boost you may be craving. Shop with FTD and order an air-purifying plant online for yourself or anyone else.