Whether we want to realize it or not, most modern-day households contain an astonishing number of volatile organic compounds that we should not be breathing. Luckily there are quite a few exceptional houseplants that have been scientifically proven to clean the air of common harmful household compounds.
Here are the top ten houseplants proven to filter out volatile organic compounds or VOC’s:
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) – The ideal houseplant if you have a tendency to forget to water plants, the Spider Plant is incredibly tough and can survive for long stretches of negligence. Its rich foliage and little white flowers filters out several VOC’s including benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, as well as xylene, a solvent used in the rubber, printing and leather manufacturing industries.
- Gerber Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) – For those that regularly have their clothes dry-cleaned the Gerber Daisy is the go to houseplant. This brilliant red flowering plant is outstanding at filtering out a chemical often brought home from dry cleaning called trichloroethylene, as well as benzene that are linked to ink.
- Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’) – This low upkeep plant can flourish in low light areas and is great at cleaning out formaldehyde, a chemical found in many personal care products, cleaning products, as well as in toilet paper and tissues.
- Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures) – This powerful and rapidly growing vine also targets formaldehyde. Golden pothos also astonishingly keeps its green color even in soft light to near complete darkness making it a wonderful option for a garage plant given the fact that car exhaust contains formaldehyde.
- Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium) – The gorgeous pink flowers of the Chrysanthemum need plenty of sunlight and should be placed near a window. This plant is great at filtering out benzene, which is often found in paint, detergents and plastics.
- Red-edged Dracaena (Dracaena marginata) – Add some zing to your living room with a Red-edged Dracaena. Its leaf’s edges have an unmistakable brilliant red tone that will elevate any indoor living area and the plant itself can grow to reach the ceiling. This plant is most efficient at removing trichloroethylene, xylene and formaldehyde that are often brought into households through gasoline, varnishes and lacquers.
- Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) – Though these plants are somewhat sensitive to water and lighting conditions they are excellent at filtering out pollutants associated with furniture and carpeting like benzene and formaldehyde.
- Azalea (Rhododendron simsii) – This beautiful flowering shrub does best in cooler areas like basements that keep in the 60 to 65 degree range. The Azalea primarily targets formaldehyde brought about from insulation and plywood.
- English ivy (Hedera helix) – If you’ve been looking for a plant to put in your bathroom look no further than the English ivy. This plant has been found to reduce airborne fecal matter particles, as well as formaldehyde associated with cleaning products.
- Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’) – This striking indoor plant can grow up to 12 feet and can survive without any direct sunlight. It has been shown to combat VOC’s associated with oils and varnishes.
These are just a few excellent houseplant options if you care about the quality of air in your home. Not only will these plants elevate the interior aesthetics of your home but they very well could save you from breathing potentially life threatening compounds.
By Michael Bain, an analyst for Move New Homes