What Plants Are Good for Air?

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    • It's long been known that plants help absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. What you may not know is that some plants actually help improve air quality by also absorbing common airborne toxins and pollutants, such as formaldehyde. Some of these plants are so effective that NASA has even instituted plant-based air filtration systems to naturally purify air by pushing it through compact rooms full of plants. You can experience some of these benefits for yourself by growing certain houseplants that universities have identified as being able to trap and absorb the common toxins found in your home's air.

    Golden Pothos

    • The golden pothos, or Epipiremnum aureum, comes recommended by the University of Minnesota as one of the top houseplants for cleaning indoor air. Because it's originally a tropical plant, the university states that the high photosynthesizing capabilities of its foliage help it "process gasses in the air efficiently." The University of Vermont says its attractive, bright-green leaves and easy maintenance make it one of the most commonly grown houseplants.

    Bamboo Palm

    • The bamboo palm, or Chamadorea elegans, is a houseplant that's "easy to care for," according to the University of Hawaii. On a scale of one to 10, with 10 meaning the plant is excellent at removing common chemical vapors in the air such as benzene or ammonia, the university rates this houseplant a nine. Characteristics include dark-green foliage and smooth, gold-colored canes.

    English Ivy

    • English ivy, also known as Hedera helix, isn't just a vigorously growing, vining houseplant that's ideal for trailing over hanging baskets or climbing upwards on a trellis. It's also one of the best houseplants for removing benzene, an airborne toxin common in tobacco smoke and paints, according to Colorado State University.

    Kimberly Queen Palm

    • The Kimberly queen palm, or Nephrolepis obliterrata, earns a score of nine in the University of Hawaii's 10-point air-purifying scale. Unlike many houseplants, this drooping fern thrives in semishade conditions. Not only does it improve indoor air quality, but the university states that this plant also "releases an abundant amount of moisture" into your home's air. This can help moderate humidity levels, which may help with health problems such as respiratory illnesses and excessively dry skin.


    • Chrysanthemums are one of the best plants for removing formaldehyde, according to Colorado State University. This toxin is present in pressed-wood products and plastic grocery bags. The plant can also help remove benzene and trichloroethylene. In addition, it's one of the few houseplants that produce lots of vibrant, colorful flowers.

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