The month of January is usually all about improvement. You get a gym membership, you begin eating healthier, you buy a planner, and you start recycling. In this season of self-care, it’s good to reflect on how our home benefits us – specifically, the things within our home. Houseplants are a great addition to any dwelling, not only because they visually make spaces feel more “alive,” but because they are also good at improving health and productivity. Want some more good news? There are also air-purifying houseplants that can naturally clean out organic pollutants in your home. Check out these attractive plants that can make your home happier and healthier in the new year.
According to a NASA study of houseplants for indoor air pollution abatement, there are certain plants that are way better at air purification than others. The study found that low-light plants were among the best at being able to remove trace amounts of organic formaldehyde and benzene from the air. Here are seven of my favorite plants from that list. Bonus: they’re all really easy to care for.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
A number of the greens on this list of air-purifying houseplants are tropical. When you think tropical, think the rainforest. High moisture, but not constant rainfall, with sunlight filtering through the dense trees. Tropical plants love being misted with a spray bottle, and their soil should be kept damp but not soaking wet. They love warm climates, and indirect light. The Chinese Evergreen is classic, and well-loved due to its ease of care and big, beautiful leaves.
Janet Craig (Dracaena)
Meet Janet. She’s from Africa, and she is a no-fuss type of gal. She likes low light, doesn’t care for hot climates, and requires infrequent watering. When indoors, she can grow anywhere from 6 to 8 feet tall!
Spider plant (Chlorophytum elatum)
This plant can adapt to a variety of situations, but is happiest when in bright, indirect light, seated in well-draining soil. It likes taking showers, and prefers to stay moist, but not soaking wet. It is one of the best at maintaining air quality control, but is picky when it comes to what kind of water it likes. Give your spider plant filtered water if possible, as the extra fluoride in regular tap water tends to turn the tips of the leaves brown.
You know it for its ability to soothe burns, but aloe vera makes it on my air-purifying houseplants list for being able to remove pollutants from the air. Aloe vera is a plant that can do a lot, and it doesn’t ask for much in return. It likes to stay on the dry side, prefers quick-draining soil, and enjoys indirect light.
Pothos (Scindapsus aures)
NASA’s study on air-purifying houseplants determined that it’s the low-light plants that are the best for air quality. This is great news if you don’t live in a particularly sunny place, or are needing a plant for the more poorly-lit areas in your home (like the restroom). The pothos can grow in all kinds of light conditions, including low light. Their outreaching limbs make them great plants to hang or drape from up high – which is the best place for them if you have kids or pets, as they are considered poisonous.
Snake plant (Sansevieria)
This plant, also known as “Mother-in-law’s tongue,” is infamous for its ability to survive in the midst of total neglect. It’s hard to kill, and easy to take care of. It’s also pretty good at removing pollutants from the air! To keep a snake plant happy, don’t over-water it, and do allow the soil to dry completely in between waterings. While they can deal with most light conditions, their favorite kind of light is indirect.
Warneck dracaena (Warneckii)
Our last plant is another classic, and requires the same conditions as the Chinese Evergreen. I.e., think rainforest.