4 Plants that Improve Indoor Air Quality (11/12/2019)

Feb 10, 2023 Emmeline Clein

Contrary to what you might assume based on restaurant decor and instagrams of influencers’ apartments, there are more house plants in the world than just the fiddle leaf fig. And, many of those plants can do more than simply add a bit of greenery to a boring shelf. Many common houseplants can actually help clean the air inside of your apartment. 

You might be wondering why the air inside your apartment needs cleaning. If so, you would probably be surprised to learn that indoor air, which the EPA estimates we spend 90% of our time breathing, can cause a terrifying plethora of ailments from an eternal cold to recurring headaches and nausea. These issues arise because commonplace furniture, paint, and upholstery release volatile organic compounds into your indoor air, bringing the rate of VOCs anywhere from double to quadruple its outdoor rate inside your home. 

Luckily, plants can help get rid of some of these harmful compounds, in addition to lowering your indoor CO2 level and serving as a natural humidifier. We’ve pulled together a list of plants that not only suck toxins out of your apartment’s air, but are also hardy survivors, which means they won’t die if you forget to water them for a week.

1. Dracaena 

These plants can get up to three feet in height, so they are a great addition to a sparsely decorated room. There are over 40 varieties of Draeceana, so you will definitely be able to find one that fits your space constraints. This plant does quadruple duty on indoor pollutants, sucking up formaldehyde, benzen, trichlorethylene, and xylene. 

2. Barberton Daisy

These flowers have gorgeous red blooms, which can do a lot to add some variety to a plant shelf. Barbertons pull out formaldehyde, xylene, and trichlorethylene.

3. Broad Leaf Lady Palm

Besides having a great name, this plant’s fronds add a fun, tropical touch to a plant collection. These will suck ammonia out of the air in your apartment. 

4. Spider Plant

Sucking up xylene and formaldehyde, these plants are also super easy to take care of. They only need indirect sunlight, and they produce shoots that can be easily re-potted and grown into brand new baby spider plants.

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