The perfect plants to purify your space.

peace lily helps reduce indoor air pollution


Plants have amazing abilities. Yep, your little plant pots are full of living BREATHING plants!

And this can be hugely beneficial for us as plants are absorbing gasses from the air, processing them and releasing a changed form of gas back out. They are also great at removing nasties from the air.

Bad air.

Nasties like Formaldehyde. You know, that stuff they used to preserve animals in? (and people!) The same chemical is common in paints and adhesives. Over time Formaldehyde can evaporate from your walls and ceilings into the air in the form of vapour. Thankfully, these quantities are usually tiny and hopefully, are washed out when you open a window or door. [See our post on how to avoid toxic chemicals in paint]

Sometimes though, these nasties accumulate in larger quantities and can have a detrimental effect on your health. Volatile organic compounds, or VOC’s, are chemicals that remain “volatile” in average ambient temperatures.

While some VOCs are ok, problems associated with VOC’s usually centre around air quality. VOC’s have been known to cause irritation of the throat, nose and eyes. High concentrations of certain VOC’s can cause nausea or vomiting and can be linked to some serious health concerns.

Clean up crew.

These health hazards are a concern in larger cities and urban areas with high levels of pollution. Winds can only carry away so many VOC’s and usually, they are blown straight back in again. The smog that settles over a city’s skyline is a mixture of VOC’s and other man-made emissions. The human body was never intended to breathe such pollution.

Indoor air quality is an even bigger problem. Office furniture and fittings usually evaporate VOCs over time, potentially filling the indoor space with toxic air. A good ventilation system is crucial to any safe indoor space, giving the VOC’s no time to accrue. Another perfect partner to air purification is plants! There are certain plants that do a better job of cleaning the air than others, whilst some will eliminate harmful chemicals, others will do nothing. Here are five plants that will purify space and improve your indoor air quality.

Aloe Vera

This iconic plant was known in early Egypt as ‘the plant of immortality’ and for good reason. For thousands of years, people have been using the gel from this plant to heal cuts and grazes, in modern times we still use it to treat skin conditions and sunburn. You can find seven ways to use Aloe Vera on your skin here. Aloe has another handy trick up its sleeve, its ability to remove VOC’s. If you are planning on bringing some Aloe into your home, make sure it gets plenty of sunlight.

Peace Lilly

This beautiful indoor plant is well loved for its hardy nature and gorgeous white flowers. Peace lilies thrive in darker, humid environments making them perfect for a bathroom. These air purifiers are low maintenance but will burn in direct sunlight and prone to root rot if overwatered, so some care is needed.  Peace lilies usually prefer the ground to plant stands.

Devils Ivy

Devils Ivy is an attractive, leafy indoor plant that is more common in temperate environments. This plant can grow in excess of 2 meters in height and can be poisonous to household pets, so proper placement of the plant pots is important. Whilst toxic to pets and mildly to toxic to humans it does filter formaldehyde, trichloroethene, toluene, xylene, and benzene from the air. Thanks, Devils Ivy!

Boston Fern

Also known as the sword fern, the Boston Fern is another popular indoor plant across the world. The Boston Fern has large broad fronds with tiny leaflets running down their sides. This particular fern is very hardy compared to other cultivated ferns but still needs high humidity in order to grow to its full potential.

Pineapple plant

This is a wild card addition to the list. A pineapple plant is a multitude of steps harder to grow than the other plants on this list, but if you can manage to grow one you may reap some pretty hefty rewards. A pineapple plant not only filters out VOC’s from the air, but it produces a lot more oxygen. There are claims that adding a pineapple plant your bedroom will increase the air quality so much, it can cure snoring!

Tell me, do you use any of these plants in your home to purify the air?