We all know houseplants are a simple and natural way to decorate your home, but did you realize they can also benefit your health? Thanks to a NASA research study, we know that having one or more medium sized houseplants per 100 square feet in an indoor space will help freshen the air. All plants filter the air and release fresh oxygen, and certain houseplants are especially good for purifying the air in your home. Justin W. Hancock, a horticulturist at Costa Farms, the largest houseplant grower in North America, told CareDash about his five favorite air-purifying plants.

1. Peace Lily

peace lily

The peace lily is a gorgeous houseplant with lustrous leaves and elegant white flowers throughout the year if it gets enough light. It’s so easy that you can grow it in low, medium, or bright spots in your home or office—in fact, it doesn’t even need natural light (the fluorescent lights in offices are just fine for this beauty). It likes regular watering (when the top inch or so of the potting mix dries to the touch). If it gets too dry, it wilts dramatically, but that’s just for show. Add water, and it perks back up just as fast. The peace lily removes a number of harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds)  from the air, including formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene — which are chemicals that get released into the air by cleaning products, compressed wood, etc.

2. Philodendron


Like the peace lily, you can grow Philodendron practically anywhere. And even more so, because this versatile beauty is a vine — so it can climb a trellis, trail from a hanging basket, or run horizontally along a mantle or tabletop. It grows best when the top inch or so of the potting mix dries to the touch. It’s more tolerant of missed waterings than most, so if it stays dry a few extra days, it can do so without harm. You’ll love how its heart-shaped leaves pull VOCs and other pollutants (including mold spores) from the air.

3. Pothos


Another easy-care vine, pothos features heart-shaped leaves that are often liberally splashed or streaked with yellow, cream, or white, depending on variety. Tolerant of low, medium, or bright light (including fluorescent lamps), it’s an ideal companion for your desk at work. In addition to its ability to make oxygen and filter VOCs (including benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene) from the air, scientific studies show houseplants like pothos can help us feel calmer and more relaxed, potentially reducing stress levels and blood pressure. Water when the top inch or so of the potting mix dries to the touch.

4. Snake Plant

snake plant

Perhaps the most indestructible houseplant of all time, Snake plant features thick, sword-like leaves (that give rise to another of its common names: Mother-in-law’s tongue) that look right at home in any décor style, including ultra-modern and contemporary. It thrives in low, medium, or bright light (as little as just enough light for you to read a book or magazine by without having to turn on supplemental lighting) and appreciates watering when the top inch or two of the potting mix dries. But, happily, it survives a couple of weeks without water, as well. It pulls a wide range of VOCs from the air, produces oxygen, and scientific studies show it, like other houseplants, can potentially help improve your performance at work by improving attention span, memory, and problem-solving skills.

5. Spider Plant

spider plant

A classic houseplant loved for generations, it’s still popular—so you know it has to be easy to grow! Spider plant shows off grassy leaves (some types are variegated with white or yellow stripes) and makes baby plants at the ends of gracefully arching stems. It’s delightfully tolerant of missed waterings (but, like most houseplants, prefers to be watered when the top inch or so of the potting mix dries) and can thrive in low, medium, or bright light. It pulls VOCs such as xylene and toluene from the air and gives your home or office a more homey vibe, as well.