Some scientists have suggested that choosing the right air purifying plants for your home can help detoxify the air in your living spaces, meaning your houseplants not only look lovely but work a little harder to clean the air you breathe in.
NASA's Clean Air Study found that there are a number of air purifying plants that can detoxify your home from the airborne toxins, dusts and germs that can be found in a variety of household products, materials and furniture.
A follow-up study in 2019 confirmed that, to make a substantial difference to the air quality inside your home, you would need a large number of house plants working together to clean the air – up to 93. But, with houseplants becoming an interior design trend that looks like it's here to stay, we might as well choose one that will go some of the way to improve the air we breathe, if not all of it.
To give your home a healthy breath of fresh air, here's our list of the best air purifying plants and where to keep them…
1. Barberton Daisy
As well as injecting a cheerful burst of red, yellow, orange or pink into your home, the Barberton daisy is an effective cleanser of the toxins formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene, found in a range of household materials from paints to synthetic fibres.
Care advice: Place the plant in a room with plenty of natural light and keep the soil moist but well-drained.
2. English Ivy
This easy-growing perennial vine is particularly effective at reducing airborne faecal particles which makes it the perfect air purifying plant for your bathroom or en suite. In addition, studies have shown that the ivy can also help combat mould levels in the home.
Care advice: Provide your English ivy with generous watering and four hours of direct sunlight a day, and it will return the love to you with clean, detoxified air.
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3. Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law's Tongue
With this plant in your bedroom, you're in for a great night's sleep. Also known as Mother-in-Law's Tongue, this yellow-tipped succulent releases oxygen at night, helping you to breathe better while sleeping. It is one of the best plants for filtering the air of formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene.
Care advice: Be mindful not to overwater, as the roots are prone to rot in moist soil.
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Brighten up your kitchen or living room with a chrysanthemum. These pretty blooms help to filter out a host of toxins including ammonia and benzene, which is often found in plastics, detergents, and glue.
Care advice: This plant loves sunlight, so place it in a spot near a sunbathed window.
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5. Spider Plant
For those of you who are houseplant newbies, the resilient spider plant is the perfect choice. It will quietly battle toxins including carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the printing and rubber industries. If you have pets, this is one of the few houseplants that is non-toxic to animals.
Care advice: You can also repot the tiny 'spiderettes' and grow a whole family of plants that will pretty much take care of themselves... and you.
BUY NOW £11.99, Thompson & Morgan
6. Aloe Vera
A healing aloe plant is a lovely addition to your kitchen windowsill, as it loves a sunny spot. While being on hand to soothe any kitchen burns, this succulent will be purifying the air of formaldehyde and benzene, found in varnishes, floor finishes, and detergents.
Care advice: This plant will thrive in a sunny location.
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7. Broad Lady Palm
This is one of the few plants that can help reduce levels of ammonia that can be found in a range of cleaning products. They are expensive to buy fully-grown so you might want to shop around for a smaller one or start from seed.
Care advice: Humidity-loving, this plant will be very happy in your bathroom.
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8. Red-edged Dracaena or Dragon Tree
Trichloroethylene and xylene are amongst the pollutants fought by this spiky, slow-growing plant. The leaves have a bright red trim which add a flash of colour to your home.
Care advice: This plant has the potential to grow to 8ft, so keep it in a room with high ceilings and reasonable sunlight.
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9. Weeping Fig
Popular houseplants since the Victorian times, weeping figs can help to tackle levels of formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.
Care advice: They are fairly fussy plants that don't like change. Keep your weeping fig in bright, indirect light away from drafts, and it will be a trusty purifier for many years to come.
BUY NOW £19.99, Waitrose Garden
10. Chinese Evergreen
This tropical plant is proven to be an effective cleanser of formaldehyde and benzene, found in detergents and cosmetics.
Care advice: The Chinese evergreen enjoys low-lit and humid conditions, so will thrive in your bathroom. If you choose to keep the plant somewhere else, remember to mist the leaves occasionally to prevent browning.
BUY NOW £14.99, Waitrose Garden
11. Devil's Ivy or Pothos
Famed for its large, waxy leaves, the Devil's Ivy is perfect for keeping the air in your home clean. If you're not very good with taking care of plants, this one is brilliant to consider as it works well in most light conditions.
Care advice: While the Devil's Ivy will thrive anywhere, they prefer brighter spots in the home. They also love moisture, so make brilliant bathroom plants. Water weekly or whenever the soil feels dry.
BUY NOW£9.99, Primrose
12. Kentia Palm
The beautiful Kentia Palm — also known as the Thatch Palm — is a species of flowering plant that comes from the palm family Arecaceae. Perfect for those who live in flats, they are incredibly resilient, elegant and air-purifying.
Care advice: The Kentia Palm prefers bright, indirect light but will tolerate shade. To avoid overwatering, make sure you leave the top soil to go dry first. If it isn't getting enough water, you will notice the tips of the leaves turning brown.
BUY NOW£42.99, Thompson & Morgan
13. Rubber plants (Ficus elastica)
This hardy low-maintenance houseplant is one of the most popular, thanks to its striking look. A natural humidifier, a previous study found that it had been recommended by NASA as one of the best for cleansing the air. Perfect for brightening up a desk or windowsill.
Care advice: Easy to care for, a rubber plant can grow well on low levels of light. It's worth knowing that it's toxic to dogs and cats, so be extra careful if you have one close to your pets.
BUY NOW£39,99, Primrose
14. Pineapple Plant
A type of Bromeliad, Pineapple Plants create quite the statement in the home. With dramatic foliage and large leaves, these are known for purifying the air and removing harmful toxins. Ideal if you're looking to add a touch of the exotic to your interiors.
Care advice: Pineapple Plants love warm, sunny conditions so they're best kept close to sunlight or in a conservatory. They don't need a lot of water, so wait until the soil has dried out before watering, and then water the leaves and soil.
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15. The Flamingo Lily
Perfect for adding a pop of colour to your room, the Flamingo Lily is a great air purifying plant for beginners and city-dwellers. As well as having salmon-red, heart-shaped leaves, it's excellent at purifying the air.
Care advice: Keep your Flamingo Lily close to bright areas, but away from direct sunlight. To ensure it thrives, water yours once or twice a week. They also work particularly well in humid areas, such as the bathroom or kitchen.
BUY NOW£25.99, Primrose
16. Kimberly Queen Fern
With a shapely form and gracefully arching fronds, the Kimberly Queen Fern is perfect for the not-so-green-fingered as they don't require much care. Considered one of the most effective indoor air purifiers, they do exceedingly well when placed in low light areas.
Care advice: Keep them in a bright area and ensure you water them every five to seven days. During the heat of the summer, they may need watering more often.
BUY NOW£19.99, Primrose
17. Bamboo Palm
Perfect for low light conditions, the Bamboo Palm makes the perfect focal point in any living area. Its graceful, arching leaves make great all-around air cleaners, specifically famed for removing formaldehyde from the air.
Care advice: Water regularly through the growing season, but it's advised you let the surface of the soil dry out slightly before re-watering.
BUY NOW£15.99, Primrose
This popular houseplant, which originates from forests in Africa, is one of the most effective houseplants in air purification. As well as keeping the air indoors fresh, it looks particularly striking when placed on a coffee table.
Care advice: These plants require less water than other plants, so keep them hydrated by misting the leaves with water. Make sure the water stays moist but not soggy. Overwatering can lead to root rot.
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19. Peace Lily
A long-time favourite for houseplant lovers, the Peace Lily is one of the top air purifying plants as it can help filter out certain harmful compounds. If you do plan on adding this one to your plant collection, it's worth knowing that it is poisonous to cats and dogs.
Care advice: Peace lilies can tolerate short periods of dry soil, but their leaves will start to brown if neglected for too long. To keep it thriving, place it in bright, indirect light and keep the soil consistently moist.
BUY NOW£14.99, Primrose
20. Scarlet Star Bromeliad
With leathery leaves and a pop of colour, the Scarlet Star Bromeliad is a beautiful houseplant that is incredibly long-lasting. As well as helping to clean up the air in your home, these flowering plants love humid environments and are great when placed in the bathroom.
Care advice: Ensure this plant is always well watered, but never soggy. Place your plant in a location with moderate to bright light year-round, avoiding direct sunlight.
BUY NOW£9,99, Primrose
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