20 of the Best Indoor Air Purifying Plants in 2021

Looking air purifying plants for fresher air in the confines of our urban homes? Learn about the best natural air purifying indoor plants for every modern household and transform the air you breathe.
Darren T'ngSat May 29 2021

20 Best Indoor Air Purifying Plants

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Looking for fresher air in the confines of our urban homes? Learn about the best natural air purifying plants for every modern household and transform the air you breathe. Here are our picks for the best indoor plants for clean air.

20 Best Indoor Air Purifying Plants

1. Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa)

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Image Credits: @arum_ocean

Also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant for holes in its leaves, this fast growing indoor plant is not only aesthetic but also particularly effective in humidifying air conditioned interiors. It is easy to care for as well and can grow in medium to bright indirect light conditions - typically in a spot slightly removed from a sunlight facing window. In addition, Monsteras prefer soil that is lightly moist so be careful of overwatering and remember to dust the leaves often so the plant can photosynthesize efficiently.

Pay attention if you have pets or children though. The Monstera deliciosa contains insoluble calcium oxalates, making them mildly toxic to humans and toxic to both dogs and cats. Despite this, the Monstera deliciosa remains as one of the most popular indoor plants till today - you can find more information on how to care for and propagate the Monstera deliciosa in our Ultimate Monstera Deliciosa Care Guide in 2021.

2. Philodendron Birkin

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Image Credits: @mariahgrows

Known for the striking white stripes that contrasts beautifully with its green leaves, the Philodendron Birkin is the perfect plant for beginners and health enthusiasts who are looking to add a touch of sophistication to their indoor aesthetic. The best part? It purifies the air by removing formaldehyde amongst other air pollutants too! To add, the Philodendron Birkin is similar to the Swiss Cheese Plant in terms of care guide and is easy to care for.

That said, the Philodendron Birkin may potentially be toxic to humans and pets upon ingestion - so remember to keep them away from your pets and young children. Or at least, keep them away from their mouths!

3. Golden Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)

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Image Credits: @thatplantylife

Also known as the Devil’s Ivy because it has been deemed by most as “impossible to kill”, the golden pothos has become one of the most popular air purifying plants especially for plant parents who just are not gifted with green thumbs. This easy-to-grow, vine-like plant with heart shaped leaves reduces formaldehyde, benzene and toluene amongst others. Due to its ease of care and its air purification capabilities, it is common to find golden pothos in recently painted or furnished rooms or even in bedrooms to get rid of air pollutants and provide you with better air quality.

Similar to both the Monstera deliciosa and the Philodendron Birkin, pay attention if you have pets or children - ingesting the Golden Pothos can cause vomiting amongst other symptoms.

4. Chinese Evergreen (Algaonema Hybrid)

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Image Credits: @chicagogardener

The Algaonema Hybrid, also known as the Chinese Evergreen, reduces pollutants mostly found in cosmetics and detergents such as formaldehyde and xylene as well as other common household pollutants such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and benzene. Known for being easy to care for, this gem of a plant (and air purifier), has become one of the most popular indoor plants.

That said, similar to both the Monstera deliciosa and the English Ivy, pay attention if you have pets or children - ingesting the Chinese Evergreen can cause vomiting amongst other symptoms.

5. Weeping Fig (Ficus Benjamina)

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Image Credits: @einschweizergarten

Known as the Weeping Fig, the Ficus Benjamina is one of the most popular air-purifying indoor plants. With the potential to grow up to more than 3 meters tall indoors, the Ficus Benjamina may provide an interesting contrast to the rest of your indoor plants. That said, the Ficus Benjamina does not like to be moved and requires a lot of indirect light with weekly watering schedules so pick a spot amongst your indoor jungle wisely.

Apart from being a great addition to your collection, the Ficus Benjamina helps to purify the air of common household pollutants such as toluene, xylene, benzene and formaldehyde.

6. Aloe Vera (A. Barbadensis)

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Image Credits: @isabelvanhoutte

In addition to being used as a beauty of health ingredient, aloe vera also has air purification capabilities and is most effective with pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene. Also, aloe vera absorbs carbon dioxide better at night during photosynthesis - making it the perfect bedroom plant. For the aloe vera to be healthy, it needs to be placed where it can get a lot of natural light.

Unfortunately, with all the benefits that the plant provides, aloe vera can be toxic to pets upon ingestion.

7. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)

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Image Credits: @pflanzentanken

The Spider Plant is a very adaptable indoor plant with the ability to purify the air of common pollutants as well as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide - perfect for households by main roads or areas of heavy traffic. That said, the Spider Plant requires partial sunlight and is best kept beside a sunlight facing window, only requiring water when the soil of the plants is dry.

Apart from being a versatile and adaptable plant, the Spider Plant is also known to be friendly to pets and children.

7. Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens)

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Image Credits: @potitplantas

Commonly described as one of the easiest palm trees to grow indoors, the Areca Palm was rated the best in a study of air purifying plants by NASA. While caring for the Areca palm isn’t difficult, the plant will not tolerate neglect so remember to water them often enough to keep the soil lightly moist especially in Singapore’s climate. As a plant that requires partial sun the plant is best suited in sunlight window-facing corners or empty walls.

To make things better, the Areca Palm is also commonly known to be friendly to pets and children.

9. Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix Roebelenii)

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Image Credits: @emmasadiethomson

Also known as the Pygmy Date Palm, the Dwarf Date Palm is a slow growing palm that comes from the genus ‘Phoenix’. This plant has become very popular due to it being a shorter species of the genus and can be seen in many areas throughout the world - both indoors and out. The Dwarf Date Palm is easy to grow in both bright sunlight and in partial shade without much requirements for watering. In addition to that, the Dwarf Date Palm removes formaldehyde and xylene from your air and works great as a background plant that complements the rest of your plant rack or plant collection!

To make things better, the Dwarf Date Palm is also commonly known to be friendly to pets and children.

10. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

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Image Credits: @woodside_lavenham

Also known as closet plants, the Peace Lily has become a popular choice as an indoor plant - for both the office and home. The rise in its popularity has been due to its beautiful dark green leaves and contrasting white flowers that really brightens up your living or working space. Beyond that, the Peace Lily also purifies your air by removing carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, benzene and xylene amongst others. In addition to its benefits and aesthetics, the Peace Lilies are far more tolerant of plant negligence and require similar care requirements as the Monstera Deliciosa or the Philodendron Birkin. That said, more sunlight typically enables your peace lily to bloom more often and radiantly.

That said, even with all the benefits that the plant provides, the peace lily can be toxic and in some cases deadly to pets and even humans upon ingestion. So be sure to keep them out of reach from pets or young children!

11. Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum Morifolium)

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Image Credits: @greengalaxy_

Typically known as one of the most popular and beautiful plants, the Chrysanthemums are not only a great air purifier that removes ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and xylene amongst others, but also a great addition to your plant or floral arrangement indoors! That said, the Chrysanthemum ranks amongst the top as one of the more difficult natural air purifiers to care for, especially in seasonal weather, and requires bright indirect sunlight. Fortunately for people in Singapore, who are living in tropical weather perpetually all year round, chrysanthemums tend to do better in our climate.

That said, all parts of the chrysanthemum are potentially toxic especially if ingested and contains a natural insecticide called pyrethrin - so be sure to keep them out of reach from pets or young children!

12. Rubber Plants (Ficus Elastica)

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Image Credits: @noseventyeight78

This hardy plant has been an indoor plant favourite for a very long time! We would even go out on a limb to say that many of us have shared the same space with a rubber plant at some point in time in our homes or office. Beyond being easy to care for, the rubber plant has glossy and richly coloured leaves with strong and upright stems, creating a very robust and sturdy aesthetic. As a plant that requires bright indirect light, the plant is best suited in a somewhat shaded space and similar to the other plants in the list, the rubber plant removes xylene, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, amongst other air pollutants.

That said, the rubber plant can be toxic and in some cases deadly to pets and even humans upon ingestion due to the existence of caoutchouc in its sap. So be sure to keep them out of reach from pets or young children!

13. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata v. Bostoniesis)

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Image Credits: @umjardimparacuidar

A charming looking fern that has delicate foliage, the Boston fern thrives in tropical environments under bright indirect light and is a great addition in a bathroom or even on your work from home station. The Boston fern has grown in its popularity as an indoor plant especially due to its flexible aesthetic and also acts as a natural air purifier by removing xylene and formaldehyde from your air!

To make things better, the Boston Fern is also commonly known to be friendly to pets and children.

14. Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Seifrizii)

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Image Credits: @torontoparadiseplants

Similar to the Dwarf Date Palm, the Bamboo Palm has also been described as one of the easiest palm trees to grow indoors and can grow to a pretty significant size, making them extremely effective in removing formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene from your air. That said, while caring for the Bamboo Palm isn’t difficult, the plant will not tolerate neglect so remember to water them when the top of the soil feels dry and have them in an area with bright, indirect light.

To make things better, the Bamboo Palm is also commonly known to be friendly to pets and children.

15. Flamingo Lily (Anthurium Andraeanum)

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Image Credits: @plantonic.my

Also known as the Painted Tongue, the Flamingo Lily is the perfect plant to add a dash of colour in any setting or collection. When properly cared for, the flamingo lilies can bloom all year round with each bloom lasting between 2 to 3 months. To ensure that you get the full bloom, the flamingo lily will require lots of indirect sunlight, sufficient humidity and water every time the top of the soil dries out. In addition to being a beautiful addition, the flamingo lily removes formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene and toluene from your air.

That said, the flower can be toxic to pets and even humans upon ingestion due to the existence of insoluble calcium oxalates. So be sure to keep them out of reach from pets or young children!

16. Lady Palm

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Image Credits: @cfadesigngroup

Similar to the Dwarf Date Palm, the Lady Palm is a relatively small palm species and is extremely tolerant of plant neglect with a fairly slow growth rate. That said, the plant does well under any type of light requirements but typically thrives under full and indirect sunlight. The lady palm has been becoming more popular as an indoor plant and removes formaldehyde, ammonia and xylene amongst other air pollutants.

To make things better, the lady palm is known to be pet and human friendly!

17. Dracaena (Dracaena Deremensis)

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Image Credits: @fidanburadacom

As one of the plants with high growth potential, Dracaenas grow up to 4 metres in height, enabling them to fill up empty corners and spaces. That said, the plant does well under indirect light and needs to be refrained from direct sunlight exposure. Dracaenas also remove formaldehyde, xylene and trichloroethylene from your air.

Similar to the Monstera Deliciosa, pay attention if you have pets or children - ingesting the Dracaena can cause vomiting amongst other symptoms.

18. Kimberly Queen Ferns (Nephrolepis Obliterata)

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Image Credits: @saltairsoapco

The Ivy is an easy-to-grow perennial vine that reduces carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and benzene amongst others. Beyond reducing pollutants, English Ivies have also been found to reduce mould particles, making it one of the most effective natural air purifiers you can own. As a plant that only requires bright indirect light or low-light conditions, the English Ivy is easy to care for as well and can be placed in a pot with a stake or in hanging baskets in the bathroom to eliminate smells and mould-causing moisture.

Similar to the Monstera deliciosa, pay attention if you have pets or children - ingesting the English Ivy can cause vomiting amongst other symptoms.

19. English Ivy (Hedera Helix)

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Image Credits: @plantsandari

The Ivy is an easy-to-grow perennial vine that reduces carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and benzene amongst others. Beyond reducing pollutants, English Ivies have also been found to reduce mould particles, making it one of the most effective natural air purifiers you can own. As a plant that only requires bright indirect light or low-light conditions, the English Ivy is easy to care for as well and can be placed in a pot with a stake or in hanging baskets in the bathroom to eliminate smells and mould-causing moisture.

Similar to the Monstera deliciosa, pay attention if you have pets or children - ingesting the English Ivy can cause vomiting amongst other symptoms.

20. Pineapple Plant (Ananas Comosus)

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Image Credits: @plnts_com

Previously speculated to be a plant that produces oxygen and improves air quality at night, the pineapple plant was thought to be able to result in improved sleep quality and even cut out snoring! That said, the pineapple plant has not been found to remove any toxins but are extremely hardy and can survive quite a hefty amount of neglect!

Note: the plant technically does not purify the air in its traditional sense but definitely improves air quality at night, which is useful for some.

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Darren T'ngDarren is the Founder of Porchbuds, a technology-enabled plants and gardening marketplace aiming to make the world a greener place.See More Articles By Darren T'ng