Want to clear your air? Bring these 15 house plants right in!

The air inside your home could really be making you cough up! Here are greens that can purify it and add freshness and colour to your living areas.


If we told you that the living area in your house is a virtual swamp of subtly dangerous gases – ammonia from your toilets, formaldehyde from your garbage, carbon monoxide from your stoves, benzene from the detergents, xylene in your surface cleaner, trichloroethylene from your wood finishes, lubricants and many more gases etc: would you believe it?

If you are prone to itching, frequent cold, allergies, burning sensation in the eyes then these gases are probably to blame.

One of the ways you can have a healthier “breathing area” in your house where you or your family spend a lot of time in, is by just adopting house plants. Choose one of these hardy green leafy things and see the difference in a week’s time!

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera. Pic: flickr/ natureandevents

Aloe vera. Pic: flickr/ natureandevents

It is short and very easy to grow. Maintenance is not much; mild sunlight and slightly moist soil is enough to make it multiply in to a large bush in no time. It helps clearing formaldehyde and benzene from the air.

2. Peace lily

Peace lily PIC: Flickr/ TahidMunaz

Peace lily

PIC: Flickr/ TahidMunaz

According the NASA research the Peace lily is very good choice to get rid of formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. One of the most productive in terms of cleansing the air of the breathing space. The plant also looks different and the top most part stands like a hood of a snake. Needs less light and weekly watering to survival

3. Golden Pothos

Golden Pothos PIC: flickr/ junksignal

Golden Pothos

PIC: flickr/ junksignal

It is fast growing and looks best on hanging pots. The Golden Pothos helps against the spreading of formaldehyde. Stays green even when kept in the dark.

4. English Ivy

English Ivy PIC: Flickr/ nociveglia

English Ivy

PIC: Flickr/ nociveglia

It reduces spreading of excreta, especially found in toothbrushes which are kept near the bathrooms. It also helps against formaldehyde found in cleaning products.

5. Weeping Fig

Weeping fig PIC: flickr/ Noam, Jemima & Lila

Weeping fig
PIC: flickr/ Noam, Jemima & Lila

Once you get accustomed to the living conditions of this plant, it survives long and renders amazing results. It helps against emissions from curtains, carpets and furniture.

6. Warneck Dracaena

Warneck Dracaena PIC: mahoneygarden.com

Warneck Dracaena

PIC: mahoneygarden.com

Grows up to 12 feet in height and does not require direct sunlight. It combats pollutants generally found in varnishes.

7. Heart leaf philodendron

Heart Leaf PIC: flickr/ Jilia Folsom

Heart Leaf

PIC: flickr/ Jilia Folsom

This plant is not a good choice if you have pets because it is toxic in nature. The plant is a great to remove all kinds of VOCs – volatile organic compounds.

8. Chinese Evergreen

Chinese Evergreen PIC: flickr/ Marissa

Chinese Evergreen

PIC: flickr/ Marissa

The plant will produce blooms and red berries even in low lighting conditions. It filters a variety of air pollutants.

9. Azalea (Rhododendron Simsii)

Azalea PIC: flickr/ cliff1066

Azalea

PIC: flickr/ cliff1066

It is a flowering shrub which can grow in cool areas but needs bright spots. It helps against formaldehyde from plywood and foam insulation.

10. Bamboo Palm

Bamboo PalmsPIC: flickr/ ocplants

Bamboo Palms
PIC: flickr/ ocplants

Reed palm is a common nick name. It can survive in shady indoors. Filters benzene and trichloroethylene and is the good choice to be in places around furniture emitting formaldehyde and filtering trichloroethylene.

11. Green spider plant

Green Spider PlantPic: flickr/ helenoftheways

Green Spider Plant
Pic: flickr/ helenoftheways

It helps purify indoor air. It needs to be watered liberally in summer.

12. Gerber daisy

Gerber DaisyPic: flickr/ Kevin Eldon

Gerber Daisy
Pic: flickr/ Kevin Eldon

Another flowering plant that improves the indoor air quality by removing trichloroethylene, which might come with dry cleaning. Must haves in the laundry and bedroom.

13. Snake plant

Snake Plant PIC: flickr/ UrbanDirtTv

Snake Plant

PIC: flickr/ UrbanDirtTv

Best suited for bathrooms as it can survive in low light and humid conditions. It filters out formaldehyde which is commonly found in personal care products.

14. Red-edged Dracaena

Snake Plant PIC: flickr/ UrbanDirtTv

Snake Plant

PIC: flickr/ UrbanDirtTv

Helps combat gases like xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde which is released from varnishes and sealers.

15. Areca palm

Areca Palm PIC: ecogreenchennai.org

Areca Palm
PIC: ecogreenchennai.org

Grows up to a height of  about 3 – 5 feet. They need less watering and just enough light from a window. Thus, do great as indoor plants. They are help in filtering xylene and toluene from the air also do great as an effective humidifier. 

 The Greenprint Your Home series by The Alternative brings together news, views, analysis, expert opinion, photospreads, product reviews, DIYs and much more to help you go green with your dwelling. This series is in collaboration with ZED Habitats, a pioneering green developer in India.


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Passionate about literature, curious about art, worried about media. more

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Discuss this article on Facebook

  • V. Balasubramanian

    Many thanks to Ms. Sarayu Srinivasan, an excellent collection of indoor plants that are easy to manage and that help clean the indoor air. Healthy living. Cheers, Bala.

  • nidhi

    thanks for providing this information,,,

  • pradeep

    Where do we get these plants?

    • Chris Isaac

      Hi Pradeep,

      These can be bought in just about any nursery.

      Best,
      Chris Isaac
      Associate Editor – The Alternative