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12 Plants to Purify the Air You Breathe (2 of 2)

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6. Chrysanthemums

While not a typical houseplant, the mum can be grown indoors with a little care.

Mums enjoy good air flow, bright indirect sunlight, and warm water. Let the soil dry out completely between waterings. They like well-drained potting soil.

To encourage flowers, reduce their time in the light to under ten hours a day, and they start producing colorful flowers. Direct sunlight is detrimental to a mum, so keep them in an area of filtered light.

Provide nitrogen and potassium to your mums during their vegetative phase. Feed before the flower buds form to produce healthy roots and buds. Feed them monthly until they begin to bud, then stop for the fall and winter.

Mums are one of the best air purifiers. They remove ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from the air.

Caution: Keep them out of reach of your pets. Signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, and dermatitis.

Rubber plant

Rubber plant

7. Rubber Plant

Rubber plants can be enjoyed as medium-sized houseplants or as beautiful indoor trees. They can grow to impressive heights within a few years, especially if you put their pot outside during the hot summer months.

Rubber plants don’t like sitting in water, so use well-drained, well-aerated soil. They like a lot of bright but indirect sunlight and do well if you grow them behind a sheer curtain. If their leaves become lusterless, it means they aren’t getting enough sun.

Their watering must vary with the seasons. In the summer growing season, they like a lot of water so keep them moist, which includes wiping or misting the leaves with water.

In winter, they may only need watering once or twice a month, though you’ll want to keep misting the leaves because of the dry heated air.

Droopy leaves mean the plant needs water, while yellow or brown leaves that drop mean too much water. Try watering with lukewarm water that’s been sitting out so the chlorine will evaporate.

Fertilize your rubber plants only during the growing season.

Rubber plants can remove xylene, formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from your home’s air. They do well in an office, living room, or any freshly painted or refurbished room.

Boson Fern

Boson Fern

8. Boston Fern

Boston ferns are one of the most common houseplants. They are easy to grow and are known for their sword-shaped fronds grown in a hanging basket.

They like lots of indirect light. Morning light is perfect while the afternoon sun burns the fronds. Place them near a window, but not in direct light.

Boston ferns thrive in humid climates and need steady moisture. Keep hem in moist but not soggy soil with regular misting. If the pot feels light when you lift it, it likely needs watering.

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Keep your fern away from drafts or heating vents. In the winter, cut back the fronds to about two inches to help them grow and regenerate in the warmer months.

You don’t need to prune them unless the fronds are drying up and dropping leaves.

Fertilize once a month in the spring and summer, but no feeding in the fall and winter.

Ferns remove formaldehyde and xylene from the air, so they’re good for almost any room, especially one that’s freshly painted or refurbished.

Areca Palm

Areca Palm

9. Areca Palm

The Areca Palms are originally from Madagascar and prefer bright light, but direct sunlight can burn their leaves.

Palms prefer temperatures between 15 to 23 degrees Celsius. Keep them away from chilly drafts or sudden temperature drops. If you see brown spots on the leaves, it’s either gotten too cold or the air is too dry.

They can grow to six to ten feet tall.

Avoid overwatering this plant without supplying adequate drainage. Plant in well-draining soil in a pot with drainage holes and let the top of the soil dry out between waterings.

Water less often in winter. This plant grows slowly and prefers to be somewhat root-bound. It does not require repotting more than every two to three years. Fertilize with a time-released fertilizer in the spring, so it will last all growing seasons.

Toxins removed include benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene. You can place this plant in any room, and it will purify the air.

These plants are non-toxic to pets, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.



10. Dracaena

This undemanding houseplant has colorful strap-like foliage on a stem called a cane. You can prune the cane back at any time to keep the plant under control.

The Dracaena plant comes in large tree-like varieties which may reach six to fifteen feet, or in smaller cultivated varieties. Pruning will yield fresh foliage right below the cut within a few weeks.

Dracaena loves indirect sunlight. A spot behind a sheer curtain near a sunny window is ideal.

Water once a week, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. Droopy or yellowing leaves suggest overwatering or poor drainage. Have a well-draining soil mix and a pot with drainage holes.

Dracaena will thrive in temperatures between 15 to 21 degrees Celsius during the day and about 10 degrees cooler at night, though it’s able to withstand warmer or cooler temperatures if necessary. Don’t let it get too cold.

Feed with a good fertilizer every two weeks in the spring and summer, but only once a month in the fall. Do not fertilize in winter.

Dracaena removes xylene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from your air supply, and is a good plant for any room, especially one freshly painted or refurbished.

Caution: This plant has compounds called saponins, which can cause vomiting, excessive drooling, and other symptoms in pets.

Ficus or Weeping Fig

Ficus or Weeping Fig

11. Ficus (Weeping Fig)

Ficus trees are common houseplants because they look more like a typical tree, with one trunk and leafy branches. Some have braided trunks. Native to Southeast Asia, they can grow from two to ten feet tall.

Ficus prefers bright indirect or filtered sunlight and weekly watering, with the soil allowed to dry out between waterings. Variegated varieties can tolerate medium sunlight, but bright direct light can lead to leaf scald and leaf loss.

They cannot tolerate cold temperatures. Keep them at a temperature over 21 degrees Celsius.

Place the tree in an area that protects it from drafts. Regular misting will keep it healthy, or you can place the pot on a pebble-lined tray full of water. Let the soil dry out between watering.

Ficus is a rapid-growing plant, so fertilize it once a month in the spring and summer, and once every two months in the fall and winter.

Any change will cause a leaf drop. If your tree is losing leaves, check if you are over- or under-watering it, then check for low humidity or low sunlight.

Ficus trees remove formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air, so they will purify any room, even a freshly painted or a refurbished room.

Snake Plant

Snake Plant

12. Snake Plant

Snake plants need low maintenance. Hardy succulents with striking dark green striped leaves, they are a popular houseplant and can grow to six feet tall.

This plant should have dark green leaves. Pale leaves mean the plant is not healthy.

Choose a pot that has a porous texture and a well-draining potting mix as they are prone to rot. They thrive when you almost forget about them. Let the potting mix dry out between waterings and do not over-water in winter when they’re dormant. Keep from wetting the leaves when you water them.

They like bright indirect light for a couple of hours a day, though they’ll tolerate practically anything. Fertilize them with an all-purpose plant food during the growing season and leave them alone in cooler months.

Snake plants can remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene from the air, so they’re good anywhere in the house, and in freshly painted or refurbished rooms or offices.

Caution: They are toxic to pets and can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. .


Choose the right container, and consider what water retention your plant prefers. A porous, clay pot is best for plants that don’t like having their roots wet, while a plastic or ceramic pot is best for a water-loving plant.

Match your plant with the right light conditions. Some plants like the bright light near a south-facing window, while others prefer the soft morning light of an east-facing window.

The seasons and distance from a window will affect the quality of light. All houseplants do best with some natural light, but some need less than others. If your plant isn’t getting enough light, it may become tall and thin.

Use high-quality potting soil or mix. Good soil encourages healthy roots by giving the right balance of proper ventilation, nutrition, and water retention.

Your houseplants won’t be exposed to natural rainfall, so water them appropriately. Wet the entire root ball and let the excess water run out the bottom of the pot.

Never leave standing water in the collecting tray for more than a day as it causes root disease. Most plants prefer that you let the soil dry out between waterings. To check soil moisture, put your finger in the top two inches of soil. If it feels dry, it’s probably time to water.

The frequent watering required by most houseplants percolates nutrients from the soil, so you must replace these with regular fertilization. Good all-purpose plant food will work, though you may find one specific for the type of plant you’ve chosen.


Here are links to some resources that could be useful to you:

Additional Air-Purifying Indoor Houseplants:


The Truth Behind Air-Purifying Plants:


The Best Air-Purifying Bedroom Plants:


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Lola

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