9 Houseplants for Improving Interior Air Quality

Looking for something to spruce up your interior and improve air quality? Look no further than the houseplant. Some good greenery is inexpensive and can bring great benefits to your interior space like producing more oxygen from CO2 and absorbing airborne toxic chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. Having good indoor air quality is important, especially since many of us spend more time inside. That is why we’ve rounded up 9 beautiful houseplants that even NASA recommends to keep the air in your home fresh. 

Disclaimer: Most plants listed here should not be ingested by humans or animals. Doing so can cause skin irritation, stomach discomfort, and other minor side effects.

English Ivy – Hedera Helix

English Ivy, the evergreen climbing vine can do many things. NASA scientists listed the English Ivy as the number one best air-filtering houseplant. This houseplant is also the most effective plant when it comes to absorbing formaldehyde found in some household cleaning products and rids the air of mould spores. We recommend choosing an English Ivy plant over an air purifier. It is also incredibly easy to grow and adaptable – try it as a hanging plant or let is cascade off a pedestal.

This ivy grows in moderate temperatures and medium sunlight. However, there are some cons to the English Ivy you should know. Like some house plants, the English Ivy is poisonous to humans and pets. We recommend placing this houseplant in a higher location like on a bookshelf. Make sure this plant is placed out of reach for kids and pets and your home will benefit its features.


Aloe Plant – Aloe Vera

This easy-growing, sun-loving succulent has numerous healing properties. You may see it everywhere in health stores, beauty products, and even your drink. This plant can help clear the air of pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene (found in chemical cleaners and paint products).

If you notice your Aloe Vera is displaying brown spots, that means your aloe is absorbing all the harmful chemicals in your space. Aloe is a perfect choice for a sunny kitchen window. Keep it close by in case you get a sunburn, burn, abrasion or a cut. Your aloe will come to good use!


Rubber Tree – Ficus Elastica

The Rubber Plant is a tough plant that will survive in low levels of natural light than most plants of its size and will tolerate cool temperatures. Rubber Plants are good for cleaning the air and are one of the easiest plants to grow. Similar to the English Ivy, the Rubber Plant is powerful for removing toxins from the indoor environment by filtering formaldehyde and can grow 6 to 10 feet tall or more. Again, this plant does have some toxicity in its leaves so make sure it out of reach for pets and children. Successfully growing a Rubber Plant generally means finding the right balance in your environment: light but not too light, moist but not wet, enough fertilizer to keep it healthy but not too much to encourage fast growth.


Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum

The beautiful Peace Lily Plant is a wonderful low-maintenance flower to have in your home. This tropical flower topped NASA’s list for removing the three most common VOCs (formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene) as well as fighting toluene and xylene found in paint thinner. Peace Lilies do well in shade and cooler temperatures.

One great advantage in maintaining the Peace Lily is that it droops when it needs water which is really helpful for people who don’t have a green thumb. Remember to check the soil moisture before watering any plant. It’s simply a beautiful plant that can make a statement in your home or office.



Snake Plant –  Sansevieria Trifasciata or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

The Snake Plant is one of the most recommended plants for improving air quality. (And one of our personal favourites) The long tongue-like leaves with sharp pointed tips are an inexpensive and low-maintenance plant. The most optimal place to keep these plants is in the bedroom because it converts CO2 into oxygen at night. Most plants do so during the day.

Similar to the other plants mentioned, Snake Plants also filter out formaldehyde. The Snake Plant is an extremely resilient species that can go for weeks without water or light and seems to thrive just about any climate.

Bamboo Palm – Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens

The Bamboo Palm, also known as the Butterfly Palm or the Areca Palm, does an amazing job as an indoor air purifying plant that loves absorbing formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide. The Bamboo Palm also made it on NASA’s list of top clean-air plants with a high air purifying score.

This species is a natural humidifier making them well suited for dry climates and people with breathing problems. Bamboo Palms grow rapidly and can become quite large (up to 20 feet in height). An optimal spot for bamboo palms is in a room with high ceilings so it brings your eye up when inside the space. You can limit their vertical height by keeping them confined to smaller pots.


Heart Leaf – Philodendron

Photo by Luisa Brimble

The Heart Leaf is a popular plant choice for your interiors. Like the English Ivy, they are particularly good at absorbing xylene but poisonous to human and pets.

The Heart Leaf is a very low-maintenance plant that thrives without direct light. The great feature of this species is that it also filters all kinds of VOC’s and you are able to pinch this plant. Pinching will allow you to limit the length the stem can grow. After pinching (always after a leaf node) a new stem will grow from that node. This means you’ll be able to create a bushy potted plant. The optimal space for these species to grow is from a hanging basket or on a shelf. Go ahead make your space a little more green with these guys!

Red-Edged Dracaena – Dracaena Reflexa

The Red-Edge Dracaena is a beautiful, vibrant plant can be situated anywhere as an accent piece to your space. The Dracaena is a little more low-medium maintenance plant as you’ll need to keep this one in semi-direct sunlight and have the soil slightly moist.

These plants can grow tall and produce narrow green, yellow or red cream-coloured leaves which are a great way to bring colour to your space. Like most plants listed here, the Red-Edge Dracaena also removes toxins including xylene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air. Unlike the other plants listed, this one is considered non-toxic to humans, but are to pets.


Golden Pothos/ Devil’s Ivy – Epipremnum Aureum

This ivy has many names, but the Golden Pothos is a popular houseplant that has small green heart-shaped leaves with yellowish-white hues. Like the Heart Leaf, they share similar qualities. The difference between the two is that the Heart Leaf is dark green, has a distinct surface gloss, and thinner leaves.

The Golden Pothos loves the sun more than the Heart Leaf and loses its beautiful yellow-golden colour when it is not properly exposed to bright light or sun for a few hours each day. This NASA approved plant was listed for its ability to clear formaldehyde from the air. An optimal spot for your next Golden Pothos is to hang it in your kitchen or living room as the leaves will grow down in cascading vines.