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Air-purifying house plants



Perhaps you’ve never thought about it, but even the air at home may be polluted: the paint covering the walls, the adhesives contained in furniture, remains of cleaning products, bacteria nesting in carpets or rugs – all of them leave irritant substances or, in some cases, toxic substances in the air.


One solution would be to have house plants in every room. Besides being beautiful and decorative, plants may be our best allies against pollution in the home.


According to a study carried out by NASA, in fact, some types of plants are able to neutralise substances that are harmful to the body, such as formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene, to name but a few.


Here is a brief description of plants with purifying properties which are most suitable for growing indoors.


Sansevieria trifasciata laurentii, or ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’ is the antipollution plant par excellence. Sansevieria belongs to the family of succulents and has long upright variegated leaves; it’s a low-maintenance plant, as it needs little water and is rarely attacked by parasites. During the night, it filters the toxic substances present in the air and converts carbon dioxide into oxygen.



Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’, a plant of elegant bearing with dark green lanceolate leaves, which besides purifying the air of formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene gives off a delicate scent during the flowering period.


Epipremnum Aureum or Pothos is a very hardy luxuriant climbing evergreen. It’s very decorative, especially if placed in hanging pots. It is particularly effective for neutralising benzene and carbon monoxide.


Boston Fern or rustic fern has the property which enables it to get rid of formaldehyde. It’s a plant of elegant bearing which prefers dark moist environments, and so it’s perfect for the bathroom, particularly if placed in hanging pots.


Philodendron is a family of evergreen climbing plants, of tropical origin. Among the many varieties are Scadens Oxycardium, Philidendrum Domesticus and Philodendrum Selloum, which have the wonderful capacity to get rid of formaldehyde in the air within just 24 hours.



Ficus Benjamina is a plant with a woody stem, slender branches and an abundance of bright green oval-shaped leaves. It can grow very large and is extremely useful to get rid of harmful substances given off by furniture and carpets.


Dracaena or ‘lucky bamboo’ plants are originally tropical, and have woody stems from which sprigs of slender green lanceolate leaves grow. They are especially useful for neutralising trichloroethylene, but make sure you choose the right variety from among the numerous ones on the market; suitable varieties are Janet Craig, Deremensis Warneckei and Dracaena marginata.


These are some of the plants which are suitable for purifying the air at home; the list is certainly not comprehensive, but now, when you decide to buy a house plant, as well as learning the tips to keep it healthy and flourishing, check that it’s also useful to keep the air you breathe at home pure and fresh.