Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning Blog: Archive for May, 2012

10 Fabulous Houseplants that Work as Living Air Purifiers

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Often people do not understand why they feel sick on a regular basis and why we develop symptoms that worsen over time. We hardly know that inside our house, various toxins are present at any time: toluene, xylene, ethyl acetate, methylene, acetone and chloroform, none of which are healthy.

Among other toxins present, three are of major concern: benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, which could lead to serious health problems like asthma, cancer and various allergies.

In recent years, scientists at NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) have discovered that there are various houseplants that keep our household air clean and pure and balance indoor humidity. Not only do these plants absorb pollutants, they also scrub harmful gases out of the air and help fight pollution. How incredible!

Let’s visit a gallery of a few of these beneficial types of houseplants, which can take good care of indoor pollution.

10. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

A beautiful houseplant with long grassy leaves, the spider plant is also a rapidly growing plant. This elegant plant is great at removing poisonous gases as well as other impurities like formaldehyde and xylene. For better effect, it should be kept in the kitchen or near the fireplace as these are the places where carbon monooxide accumulates a lot.

9. Boston fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata bostoniensis)

An exotic plant that has gracefully arching fronds and frilly leaves, the Boston fern also acts as a natural humidifier. Boston ferns grow better in filtered sunlight and in humid conditions. By releasing moisture into the air, they remove nasty air pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde and xylene, and provide clean air inside the home.

8. English Ivy (Hedera helix)

Despite its poisonous leaves, English Ivy is a very popular houseplant and best suitable for patients with asthma and allergic conditions. Easy to grow in bright sunlight, the plant has the amazing capability of removing benzene, formaldehyde as well as off-gassing various chemicals released by synthetic materials. So, it keeps the inside air non-toxic. With its ground-covering property, the plant often serves well in landscaping.

7. Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescen)

This very sensitive plant with feathery fronds is best known as a humidifier. Therefore, it is best in places where winters can get quite brutal. Though the plant grows slowly and needs year-round care, it can be kept anywhere in the house, especially next to newly varnished furniture or in carpeted areas. The areca palm helps remove deadly toxins like formaldehyde and xylene.

6. Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Also known as Devil’s Ivy or Silver Vine, the Golden Pothos is a highly invasive plant. With evergreen leaves and progressive stems, this hardy plant easily overtakes its surrounding area. Yet it is also very efficient in removing indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene and xylene. But, care should be taken as the plant is toxic to small animals such as dogs and cats, and even kids.

5. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

We all know that aloe vera is present in many skin care products. Not only does it help with skin burns but also with filtering various gas emissions from dangerously toxic materials. Claimed to possess tons of medicinal properties, this incredible plant can also be grown as an ornamental plant.

4. Chinese Evergreen (aglaonema modestum)

An excellent air-purifier plant, Chinese evergreen is a herbaceous perennial plant. A very common houseplant with shiny, green leaves that have interesting markings on them, it grows even better with less water and minimum light. It can filter out airborne toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde.

3. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Widely used as an ornamental plant, the snake plant is an evergreen perennial plant that is tolerant of irregular watering and less lightning. Scientists at NASA have found out that this plant has the amazing capability to absorb formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides and a variety of other chemicals present in the air.

2. Marginata (Dracaena marginata)

One cannot ignore the beauty of Marginata, a plant that has glossy thin leaves with red edges. It is a very famous, slow-growing flowering houseplant with very few growing requirements. It removes not only formaldehyde and benzene from the air, but is also capable of filtering other toxins present there. However, proper care should be taken while placing the plant inside, as it could be poisonous to dogs.


1. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

Our top houseplant is the peace lily, best known for reducing harmful indoor toxins that may cause cancer. An easy-to-care-for houseplant, the peace lily is a great pollution fighter and air-purifier. It helps in removing benzene and formaldehyde present in the house. No doubt this plant is recommended for homes that meet the term ‘sick building syndrome’.

Life on Earth depends on plants, whether directly or indirectly. We can’t ignore the fact that plants do keep the air clean and pollution free by absorbing the excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. To know more about the list of air-filtering plants, prepared by scientists at NASA, visit here.

“We feel that future results will provide an even stronger argument that common indoor landscaping plants can be a very effective part of a system used to provide pollution free homes and work places”, says Dr. Bill Wolverton, former senior research scientist at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center.

Today, we can see the effect of global warming and pollution on human health as well as on plants. Why not visit a nearby nursery today and decorate your house with some life-saver plants?

I hope you found this helpful and informational.

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