by Leslie Cox; Saturday; September 23, 2017

If you are a plantaholic like me, then you are already familiar with the many benefits in surrounding yourself in greenery…both outdoors and in.

But if you are not much of a gardener, you need to know there is a positive in placing at least three or four tropical-type plants throughout your home. Bottom line…air purification.

Depending on the furniture you own and the cleaning products you use, there could quite possibly be some not-so-very-nice toxins floating on the air currents inside the house. Certain plastics, for instance, emit a toxin called xylene into the air. The same toxin is found in some solvents.

Placing one 12-inch (30 cm) sized potted plant from the following list for every 100 square feet (9 sq m) of space in key rooms…living room, dining room, den, rumpus room…will go a long way to making your most used living spaces a healthier environment for you and your family.


  1. Aglaonema spp. – Chinese evergreens
  • removes benzene, formaldehyde, and other toxins
  • oxygen content in emissions is high
  • does well in low light levels, but variegated cultivars need more sunlight
  • needs good drainage


  1. Chamaedorea seifrizii – bamboo palm; reed palm
  • removes formaldehyde
  • natural humidifier
  • prefers bright, indirect light
  • needs regular water


  1. Dracaena fragrans ‘Compacta’ – compact cornstalk dracaena
  • general air purifier
  • removes formaldehyde
  • tolerates low light levels well
  • reasonably drought tolerant


  1. Dypsis lutescens – areca palm; bamboo palm; golden cane palm
  • one of the best overall air purifiers
  • prefers partial sun and well-draining soil
  • reasonably drought tolerant


  1. Ficus elastic – rubber tree; rubber plant
  • removes formaldahyde and other toxins from the air
  • oxygen content in emissions is high
  • prefers filtered light and rich soil
  • quite drought tolerant


  1. Ficus maclellandii – banana-leaf fig
  • general air purifier
  • prefers indirect sunlight
  • do not overwater


  1. Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’ – Boston fern
  • removes formaldehyde
  • natural air humidifier
  • prefers bright light but will tolerate lower light levels
  • prefers regular water


  1. Phoenix roebelenii– pygmy date palm; miniature date palm
  • removes formaldehyde and xylene (chemical found in plastics and solvents)
  • prefers sun but will tolerate partial sunlight
  • regular water