Clean Air Plants

Bradford Greenhouses Blog

Since we’re spending most of our time indoors, the air quality in your home should be top priority. Improve your air quality naturally with plants that aid in the removal of pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide. These plants are more than just a pretty leaf! 😉 

English Ivy 

Beautiful as a groundcover or a houseplant, English ivy is a classically elegant choice that is excellent for removing harmful chemicals found in the home. It can grow in full shade to full sun and can be trained into many shapes. According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, English Ivy is effective at cleansing benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the air. 

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) 

The Chinese evergreen is one of the best plants for beginners that it tolerates just about every type of indoor condition. It tolerates low light well, but also grows well in bright spots. It doesn’t even need natural light to thrive — they do just fine in offices with fluorescent lighting! This tropical plant is proven to be an effective cleanser of formaldehyde and benzene

Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) 

When placed indoors, this popular annual is useful in removing benzene and providing mood-enhancing beauty to the home. 

Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) 

With a leaf color that ranges from green to purple, this plant would be a gorgeous addition indoors or outdoors. It would also fit right in at the office, as it can tolerate low light. Dracaena is one of the most effective houseplants in air purification. It helps remove formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene and carbon dioxide. 

Snake Plant/Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) 

A hardy succulent, a snake plant is a fantastic houseplant for beginners and can survive in some of the toughest conditions, including a wide variety of temperatures and light conditions. However, be careful not to overwater. The Snake plant purifies air by absorbing toxins through the leaves and producing pure oxygen. In fact, the Sansevieria is an ideal bedroom plant. Whereas most other plants release carbon dioxide at night (in the absence of photosynthesis), the Sansevieria continues to produce oxygen. 

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) 

Known for its ability to fight against toxic gases such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, peace lilies are relatively easy to care for and even show signs of drooping when they need to be watered. 

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)  

This easy to care for houseplant thrives in bright, indirect light and works hard to remove the air of harmful pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene. Spider plants dislike soggy soil, so let them dry out slightly between waterings. 

Mass Cane (Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana) 

Proven to help remove formaldehyde from the air, the mass cane is one of the most popular varieties of Dracaenas for its lovely foliage that ranges from green to yellow. They look stunning in tree form but can also be grown as shrubs. 

Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica) 

Rubber trees have been shown to absorb and break down harmful chemicals in the air. Their large, glossy leaves also take in the carbon dioxide we exhale and convert it to oxygen. Grow them in well-drained potting soil, water regularly in a spot that receives bright indirect light. 

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) 

Pothos earned high marks in a NASA clean air study for clearing the air of benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, carbon monoxide and xylene. These vining tropical plants can tolerate low light. They are especially beautiful in hanging baskets or containers where they can trail over the edge. 

Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) 

According to NASA’s study on plants that clean the air, they can also remove benzene and trichloroethylene from your home or workplace. Parlor Palm plants are often passed from generation to generation as the very slow-growing lives actively for many years. They thrive in low light and shaded areas of the home. Bright filtered light is also acceptable but do not place in direct sunlight. 

Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis Miller) 

Aloes are easy-to-grow succulents that clean the air of benzene and formaldehyde when given off by paints, cleaners with chemical ingredients and other products. The plants need a sunny spot in your home. Grow them in a cactus potting mix or add perlite or sand to a regular potting mix to improve drainage. Use the gel from a piece of broken or cut aloe to treat minor burns. 

Ficus (Ficus benjamina) 

NASA found that ficus trees improve indoor air by removing pollutants like formaldehyde and xylene. Most ficus like bright indirect or filtered light. Give your plant high humidity and wait until the top of the soil is dry before watering. 


Researchers for NASA’s Clean Air Study report it can cleanse indoor air of ammonia, toluene, xylene and formaldehyde. Anthuriums need bright, indirect light and high humidity, so mist them regularly and keep their soil moist, but not soggy. 

Remember: some plants and plant parts can be toxic. Keep those out of the reach of children and pets. For a complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants please visit