Best indoor plants for air quality

Forests and plants are our source of life on this Earth. They provide us with oxygen and food. What’s even nicer is that they aren’t necessarily have to be outdoors. There are many indoor plants for air quality which help decorate your house at the same time.

As a matter of fact, I grew up in a household where there was always a corner or a room like a greenhouse. I loved those plants with big flat leaves or the ones with red veins on their leaves. We believed that if long spiky leaves of mother-in-law’s tongue got long enough you’d buy a new house.

I decided to get few of those for our house. Especially around the time when my son was having respiratory problems, I was looking for every possible solution to keep the air clean in our house. Houseplants were one of the simplest solutions and definitely less expensive than air purifiers.

I came across this TED talk about growing fresh air and Lifehacker’s post about 3 plants that give better indoor air. During my research I also found out about NASA’s Clean Air Study on the plants which remove toxic agents such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air, in addition to absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

I got my list, went out and came back home with 4 plants I liked:

  • Areca Palm
  • Ficus Benjamina
  • Peace lily
  • Mother-in-law’s tongue

I repotted them into huge clay pots and placed two of them in the living room and two in the office. I feel like our home livened up and got some color against the earthy tones on our walls and furniture.

Some require sunlight, some are fine in shade. Some need water frequently, some occasionally. Some of them might be poisonous to pets. You have to read the plant care instructions very carefully before you buy.


Here is the list of the indoor plants that increase the air quality: (I got the plants in italics)

Plants mentioned in TED talk and Lifehacker post

  •  Areca palm – Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
  • Mother-in-law’s Tongue/Snake Plant – Sansevieria trifasciata
  • Money Plant – Epipremnum aureum

NASA’s list of air-filtering plants

  • Dwarf date palm – Phoenix roebelenii
  • Areca palm – Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
  • Boston fern – Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”
  • Kimberly queen fern – Nephrolepis obliterata
  • English Ivy – Hedera helix
  • Liriope spicata
  • Spider plant -Chlorophytum comosum
  • Golden pothos or Devil’s ivy – Scindapsus aures or Epipremnum aureum
  • Peace lily – Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’
  • Flamingo lily – Anthurium andraeanum
  • Chinese evergreen – Aglaonema modestum
  • Bamboo palm or reed palm – Chamaedorea sefritzii
  • Broadleaf Lady Palm – Rhapis excelsa
  • Snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue – Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’
  • Heartleaf philodendron – Philodendron oxycardium, syn. Philodendron cordatum
  • Selloum philodendron – Philodendron bipinnatifidum, syn. Philodendron selloum
  • Elephant ear philodendron – Philodendron domesticum
  • Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata
  • Cornstalk dracaena – Dracaena fragans ‘Massangeana’
  • Janet Craig dracaena – Dracaena deremensis ‘Janet Craig’
  • Warneck dracaena – Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’
  • Benjamin – Weeping Fig – Ficus benjamina
  • Gerbera Daisy or Barberton daisy – Gerbera jamesonii
  • Pot Mum or Florist’s Chrysanthemum – Chrysanthemum morifolium
  • Rubber Plant – Ficus elastica
  • Dendrobium orchid – Dendrobium sp.
  • Exotica Dieffenbachia
  • Homalomena wallisii
  • Moth orchid – Phalenopsis sp.


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