Gallery: 7 indoor plants that purify the air around you naturally

Massangeana Cane The Massangeana plant may be hard to pronounce but it's easy to love. Native to Africa, it has a wild look that makes it ideal for decorating your home and it also sucks formaldehyde from the air.

Massangeana Cane

The Massangeana plant may be hard to pronounce but it's easy to love. Native to Africa, it has a wild look that makes it ideal for decorating your home and it also sucks formaldehyde from the air.

Dendrobium and Phaeleonopsis Orchids

Orchids have a bad reputation as being finicky and difficult to grow, but really, the opposite is true. On our last trip to Costa Farms, we learned that orchids actually love to be neglected and most people end up killing their orchids with kindness (too much water and sunlight). Aside from being easy to take care of, orchids rid the air of xylene—a pollutant found in many glues and paints—so they make wonderful housewarming gifts for anyone who recently moved into or renovated a new space. Unlike some other plants, orchids also respire and give off oxygen at night, so they’re great for the bedroom.


The palm family of plants, also known as Arecaceae or Palmae, is extremely popular and it’s easy to see why. These hardy houseplants are easy to grow and perfect for lifting people’s spirits and distracting from otherwise drab surroundings, and they’re also known to be natural air purifiers. Palms specifically target and remove formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide (which is especially helpful if someone in your household smokes cigarettes).

Peace Lilies

The peace lily, a.k.a. spathiphyllum, is an ideal plant to have in your home if you love flowers but don’t want to buy bouquets that die after a few days. Spathiphyllum thrives in the shade in temperatures below 55 degrees F, and removes harmful toxins like acetone, ammonia, benzene, ethyl acetate, formaldehyde, methyl alcohol, trichloroethylene, and xylene.


Ferns have a reputation for being a bit mundane but most people don’t realize that they’re actually fascinating plants that have survived since Prehistoric times! They’re favored for their soft, feathery leaves, and it’s those same large fronds that help rid the air of pollutants like toulene and xylene, which are found in many paints, nail polishes, and glues.


Schefflera are easily recognizable because they have glossy, sturdy-looking oval leaves that almost look unreal because of their waxy shine. They’re really hardy and long-lasting so they make great investment plants as long as you keep the leaves dust-free and wipe them down once in a while. In addition to looking great, they’re also known to soak up nasty toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene so, like palms, they’re good for households where there’s a smoker.


Anthuriums make lovely gifts because of their exotic-looking blooms, but they ain’t just a pretty face! Their large, dark leaves suck up ammonia, formaldehyde, toluene and xylene, so they’re a thoughtful present for a workplace (especially around copiers, printers, or adhesives).

Song of India (a.k.a. Dracaena reflexa)

As versatile as its name is poetic, Dracaena reflexa or “Song of India” is easy to identify because of its telltale green, lime, and yellow leaves. These plants are easy to grow in both high and low light and absorb undesirables like formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene.


Pothos is characterized by its golden, heart-shaped leaves and is extremely popular in North America. It’s a hardy plant that can survive in lower light and colder temps and is great for offices and homes since it rids the air of carbon monoxide and formaldehyde.

Massangeana Cane

The Massangeana plant may be hard to pronounce but it’s easy to love. Native to Africa, it has a wild look that makes it ideal for decorating your home, and it also sucks formaldehyde from the air.


Philodendrons are easy-care houseplants that need very little attention. Their unique coloring makes them an attractive addition to your home and they’re known to ride the air of xylene.

Eager to learn even more about how to clean the air inside your home with plants? How to Grow Fresh Air is a wonderful resource with many more types of air-purifying foliage and comes highly recommended by Inhabitat’s editor-in-chief, Jill Fehrenbacher. You can also visit Costa Farms’ helpful O2forYou website for more information.

+ O2forYou


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  1. Syed Aktaruzzaman August 23, 2015 at 1:40 am

    Very nice.

  2. monique lemaire March 24, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Are they not toxic for Cats or Dogs?

  3. monique lemaire March 24, 2015 at 6:04 pm


    I have a cat in the house, and she likes sometimes to check on the plant and bite on one leaf.
    Which plant is the best for people who have Pets?
    Thank you for your answer on this issue.

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  5. Ness Alingasa March 2, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    thank you so much for the information i read here about how useful plants are. I love plants especially indoor plants. but i don’t have any idea that indoor plants have different abilities to clean up different toxic substances. Not until i have browse this page that i found many useful tips in growing indoor plants at home. Like the snake plants i have plenty in my garden! but since they’re already over crowded in my little garden i pulled them out and have thrown them away! but good thing that i have save two in the flower pots which i have planted for indoors! eversince i loved to put indoor plants in my sala,in my kitchen, dining area and even in my bathroom! I really love plants because it soothes my spirit and bring much joy and happiness in my eyes!

  6. Craig Schaffer February 26, 2015 at 2:45 am


  7. sanika January 22, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    I love my plants, these tips will definitely come in handy.

  8. Natasha Stephen January 20, 2015 at 4:06 am

    Different plants have different abilities to clean up different toxic substances. The indoor air quality of your house is essential to your health. With these houseplants, you can filter the air without dumping large sums of money into electronic air screens

    Natasha from

  9. Brenda Vieira November 25, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Good information. Love plants . I like to start them small an challenge my self to grow them . You do need to fertilize your plants once a week or every other . The thing of plants let them dry out before watering them again . If you keep them wet it will rot your roots an die . Spray the leaves instead of watering the soil . It helps the plant to breath .

  10. kata September 30, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Plants are lovely. Plants are shown to improve mood and calm. However, If someone in a household smokes,a plant is not enough to help. The smoking must stop completely. If they go outside, they harm the neighbors.
    NASA data is inconclusive about air cleaning in a real world environment.

  11. Medi September 3, 2014 at 11:14 am

    What is the best manure f0r indoor plants?

  12. jorgeroger July 17, 2014 at 1:57 am

    Hey can you suggest something colorful, I want to decorate my house and surprise my wife, if you could help me out thank you.

  13. Rachana Bhargaw May 9, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    (indian) is the most powerful antitoxic n it emmits O3 at sunrise!!
    it deservers a place (1st place) in the list.

  14. Matthew Corran April 28, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    By chance, does anyone know of a place online where I could purchase any of these plants? Bizarre question, I know; however I live in a very rural area of the country.

  15. vivegha August 24, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    i have a doubt that these indoor planatations will emit Co2 in nights and it may harmful to our health

  16. greg ory allen loftus August 8, 2013 at 1:44 am

    cool what about s[pider planyts I have a house full of these?

  17. Lisa Eldred Steinkopf August 7, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    This is a great article, but using a picture of a silk anthurium was really in poor taste. We are talking about living plants taking the harmful VOC’s out of the air, so let’s use pictures of REAL plants.

  18. chandu July 29, 2013 at 3:52 am

    Good article

  19. June 22, 2013 at 10:06 am

    how to keep plants without fertilizer?

  20. ijoasri October 16, 2012 at 11:41 am

    thank your for this information

  21. suparnaa August 15, 2012 at 8:18 am

    It will be very useful ,if some knowledgeable person puts tips for regular maintenance of these plants.

  22. annatom June 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm


  23. Melissa M. March 23, 2012 at 9:06 am

    @caeman – Most plants are toxic and can cause a reactions ranging from mild all the way to death. Pet owners need to be aware that the best place for a plant is where the animal can’t get to it. So where do I have my gazillion plants? I place them on stereo speakers, high plant shelves where there is no room for the cat to jump and furnishings in the house like small side tables and the top of hutches. Cat safe plants are catnip and grass grown especially for cats.

  24. Yuka Yoneda March 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Hi caeman. I actually don’t know off the top of my head but let me find out for you.

  25. caeman March 13, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Which of these plants are cat-safe?

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