Easy to care for, resilient, and a quick way to inject some nature into your living room – no wonder houseplants have recently made a comeback. But did you know they also clean the air in your home? A NASA study found that a plethora of plants neutralise the chemicals found in furniture, household products, and decorating materials.
So before you start looking for the perfect copper pot to plonk your dream ficus into, read our handy guide to find out which plants are best for your home – and which rooms they’ll thrive in.
Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
This red-edged, spiky plant is one of the most effective at removing pollutants, including formaldehyde (found in paints, wallpaper, and smoke from fireplaces) and benzene (found in dyes and synthetic fibres). It may be slow-growing, but it can reach up to 8ft in height – so pop it in a living room with high ceilings and moderate sunlight.
Snake plant (Sansevieria)
Snake plants – also known as Mother-in-law’s tongue – give out oxygen at night; place one in your bedroom and you’ll breathe better while you sleep. They also combat xylene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, toluene, and benzene from the air.
Barberton daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
This colourful flowering houseplant battles trichloroethylene (a chemical used in dry cleaning), which makes it best suited to laundry rooms and bedrooms. Keep it in direct sunlight with well-drained soil for tall flowers in red, yellow, orange, or pink.
Broadleaf Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
The Broadleaf Lady Palm is one of the few houseplants to filter out ammonia, a chemical found in cleaning products. As they’re also good with humidity and thrive in low light, they’re best placed in the bathroom.
This succulent fights benzene (found in detergents and plastics) and formaldehyde (found in varnishes and floor finishes). As the gel inside also treats burns, keep this sun-loving plant on your kitchen windowsill.
Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
This bright flowering plant battles a whole host of chemicals, including xylene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, toluene, and benzene. Keep it in the living room (in bright sunlight) so its anti-polluting superpowers can be best put to use.
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
The resilient spider plant combats carbon monoxide, xylene (found in petrol and rust preventers) and formaldehyde (emitted with vehicle exhausts), making them the ideal choice for garages and sheds. They work best in cool temperatures and indirect sunlight.
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
As well as filtering out the formaldehyde found in cosmetic products, English ivy reduces airborne fecal-matter particles – making it the ideal plant for bathrooms and toilets. Keep the soil moist and give the plant at least four hours of direct sunlight daily for flourishing ivy…