Best Indoor Plants For Your Home

Bringing potted plants into a living space to liven it up is a trick that’s been used by interior designers for years, but did you know that our leafy friends are also powerful filters that purify the air around us ? In fact, several studies have been conducted showing that certain plants can rid a room of up to 89% of harmful VOCs like formaldehyde and xylene.

If you think about the prices of some of those fancy air filtration systems out there, it’s a bit surprising that more of us don’t just purchase some plants instead. If you or anyone in your family has allergies, smokes or just wants to breathe fresher, cleaner air in their homes, read on for 10 indoor plants that purify the air around you as well as which specific pollutant each one targets and removes.

Growing houseplants is a wonderful way to add attractive foliage and flowers to indoor spaces. There’s a houseplant for every living space, from small-scale terrariums to miniature trees. Every type of houseplant has particular growing requirements as well as preferences for sun and moisture. Our dictionary of houseplants allows you to search by common or scientific name, as well as learn about care tips and ideal growing conditions for each plant.

1. Dendrobium and Phaeleonopsis Orchids

Orchids have a bad reputation as being finicky and difficult to grow, but really, the opposite is true. Orchids actually love to be neglected and most people end up killing their orchids with kindness (too much water and sunlight). Aside from being easy to take care of, orchids rid the air of xylene—a pollutant found in many glues and paints—so they make wonderful housewarming gifts for anyone who recently moved into or renovated a new space. Unlike some other plants, orchids also respire and give off oxygen at night, so they’re great for the bedroom.

Orchid, Dendrobium Plant Features

Dendrobium orchid is one of the easiest orchid varieties to grow. It makes for a beautiful flowering houseplant to decorate a desk, tabletop, or window sill. Most varieties have a tall, upright shape, making them a fun contrast for the more common moth orchid. Dendrobium orchids add a stylish note to any space.

Dendrobium orchids typically have a long bloom period, so make the most of it by planting them in a container that accents or contrasts the flowers. A deep purple dendrobium, for example, looks fantastic in a pot that matches its color. Or if you like a bolder look, put your deep purple orchid in a lime-green pot.

Orchid, Dendrobium Growing Instructions

Grow dendrobium orchid in a bright spot for best flowering. Like many orchids, these plants can take some direct sun on their leaves, especially in the North. If it doesn’t get enough light, it won’t bloom.

Water dendrobium orchids when the moss or bark starts to dry out. Some types can store water in their stems, making them drought tolerant. If you’re not able to water your dendrobium orchid for a long period and it loses its leaves, don’t give up hope; with good care, it may resprout once it gets regular moisture again. One easy way to water it is to soak the moss in water for about 10 minutes. Then leave the orchid be until the moss begins to dry out and soak it again.

These orchids appreciate average to high humidity, so if your home’s air is especially dry, boost the amount of moisture to keep your dendrobium at its best.

Repot your orchid when the bark or moss it’s growing in starts to break down. This is often every couple of years or so, but can vary depending on a number of factors. If the bark or moss breaks down too much, your orchid roots won’t get as much air as they like and the plant will start to suffer.

Fertilize dendrobium orchids in spring and summer with an orchid fertilizer for best blooms. Not sure how much fertilizer to use ? Be sure to follow the directions on the product’s packaging.

Note : Dendrobium orchids are beautiful to look at, but are not intended for human or animal consumption.

2. Palms

The palm family of plants, also known as Arecaceae or Palmae, is extremely popular and it’s easy to see why. These hardy houseplants are easy to grow and perfect for lifting people’s spirits and distracting from otherwise drab surroundings, and they’re also known to be natural air purifiers. Palms specifically target and remove formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide (which is especially helpful if someone in your household smokes cigarettes).

Palm, Houseplant Plant Features

Houseplant palms are perfect for adding a bold, tropical touch to your home. There’s a variety of beautiful palm trees that thrive as houseplants in bright rooms. It’s easy to decorate with these plants. Use palms to break up a section of blank wall, to fill an empty corner, to soften the edges of windows or furniture, or act as a living sculpture at the end of a side table. A row of houseplant palms can make for a lovely living screen or room divider, too..!

An easy way to dress up any palm is to grow it in an attractive container. Look for pots that match your decor style or color scheme. Tall, narrow pots are especially fun for houseplant palms because they accent the trees’ elegant, upright shapes.

Palm, Houseplant Growing Instructions

While there’s a wide range of houseplant palms available, most have similar growing needs, a bright spot (the brightest spot you can give them in most cases) and a watering when the top inch or two of the potting soil starts to dry out.

As with any indoor plants, grow houseplant palms in containers that have drainage holes so excess water can escape. Most palms don’t like wet feet and can suffer from root rot if too much water builds up at the bottom of the pot.

One relatively common problem palms can have is brown leaf tips. This browning may occur from a number of factors, including…!
Dry Air : Remedy brown leaf tips by supplying your houseplant palm with more humidity.
Too much Fertilizer : Giving your palm too much fertilizer at one time or over the course of time can make the leaf tips go brown.
Being kept too Dry : If palms suffer from dry soil too long, they’ll start to lose the tips of their leaves.

Note : Houseplant palms are not intended to be eaten by humans or animals.

3. Peace Lilies

The peace lily, a.k.a. spathiphyllum, is an ideal plant to have in your home if you love flowers but don’t want to buy bouquets that die after a few days. Spathiphyllum thrives in the shade in temperatures below 55 degrees F, and removes harmful toxins like acetone, ammonia, benzene, ethyl acetate, formaldehyde, methyl alcohol, trichloroethylene, and xylene.

Peace Lily Plant Features

Peace lily is a common houseplant that bears broad, dark green leaves and charming, white calla-like flowers on tall stems above the foliage. When in bloom, the plant looks best when grouped in clusters of three or more. Peace lily fits in well in just about every style of interior design, particular country and causal looks.

Large specimens look great on the floor, smaller peace lily plants are perfect for tabletops or plant stands. Because peace lily is one of the most efficient houseplants at filtering indoor pollutants from the air, it’s a great pick for bedrooms.

Peace Lily Growing Instructions

Peace lily blooms best in high-light situations. It will tolerate low-light conditions, but won’t bloom much, if at all. Being a tropical plant, peace lily prefers high levels of humidity. If the leaf edges turn brown, supply more humidity by grouping it with more houseplants (which release moisture into the air as they breathe) or set it on tray of gravel and water so the pot sits on top of the gravel, above the water.

Note : Peace lily is not intended for human or animal consumption.

4. Ferns

Ferns have a reputation for being a bit mundane but most people don’t realize that they’re actually fascinating plants that have survived since Prehistoric times..! They’re favored for their soft, feathery leaves, and it’s those same large fronds that help rid the air of pollutants like toulene and xylene, which are found in many paints, nail polishes, and glues.

Fern, Houseplant Plant Features

Ferns are among the most beautiful houseplants. With lacy fronds and a classic texture, they work well in just about any interior design scheme, from country casual to formal. There’s a wider variety of ferns available than most folks realize, so there’s abundant opportunity to decorate with these houseplants.

Ferns look beautiful mixed together, but they’re also a wonderful choice to combine with other houseplants, especially larger-leafed varieties so you can enjoy the dramatic contrast in leaf texture. Pay attention to color, too certain ferns pair better with other houseplants because of coloring, overall plant, shape and other factors. The good news, though, is that you can’t go wrong with ferns.

Fern, Houseplant Growing Instructions

Most ferns grow best in medium to bright light, but shielded from direct sun, especially during the hottest part of the day. If ferns get too much light, the leaves can suffer from sunburn and have a bleached look.

Water most ferns enough to keep the soil moist, but not wet or soggy. Like most houseplants, ferns will rot if they’re kept too wet for too long.

Keep ferns healthy and beautiful by providing them with average to above-average relative humidity levels. Their love of moist air makes ferns perfect houseplants for bright bathrooms or kitchens. If ferns don’t get enough humidity, their fronds may turn brown and dry prematurely. Because they like humidity, most ferns are ideal plants for terrariums.

Note : Houseplant ferns are not intended for human or animal consumption.

5. Schefflera

Schefflera are easily recognizable because they have glossy, sturdy-looking oval leaves that almost look unreal because of their waxy shine. They’re really hardy and long-lasting so they make great investment plants as long as you keep the leaves dust-free and wipe them down once in a while. In addition to looking great, they’re also known to soak up nasty toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene so, like palms, they’re good for households where there’s a smoker.

Schefflera Plant Features

Schefflera (also called umbrella plant or arbicola) is a popular houseplant because it’s easy to grow (it tolerates a range of growing conditions) and adds fun texture with its divided hand-like leaves.

Because it’s so tolerant, schefflera makes a good choice for living, dining, family, and bedrooms. Many people are especially fond of growing it in well-lit bedrooms because at night the houseplant is efficient at filtering indoor air pollution from the room.

The schefflera variety ‘Gold Capella’ is particularly nice; it shows off dark green hand-shaped leaves variegated with streaks of golden yellow. It really brightens a room…!

Schefflera Growing Instructions

Schefflera is an easy-to-grow houseplant that does best in high light but will usually grow fine in medium light. It can tolerate direct sun on its leaves indoors, even in hot-summer climates.

Water schefflera when the potting mix dries out. It’s tolerance of dry soil is one of the factors that has made it a popular indoor plant for so long.

You don’t need to fertilize schefflera, but if you’d like it to grow faster, you can fertilize it in spring and summer with a general-purpose houseplant fertilizer.

If your schefflera gets too big in time, you can prune it back at any time. Doing so will help it grow fuller and bushier.

Note : This plant is not intended for human or animal consumption.

6. Anthuriums

Anthuriums make lovely gifts because of their exotic-looking blooms, but they ain’t just a pretty face..! Their large, dark leaves suck up ammonia, formaldehyde, toluene and xylene, so they’re a thoughtful present for a workplace (especially around copiers, printers, or adhesives).

Anthurium Plant Features

Anthuriums are cheery, exotic flowering houseplants that offer glossy, green heart-shaped leaves topped by heart-shaped pink, red, or white long-lasting blooms. Happily, anthuriums bloom almost all year long if they get enough light, fertilizer, and moisture.

The brightly colored flowers make anthuriums perfect plants for centerpieces and tabletops. They grow well on their own or mix them with other bold tropicals such as red aglaonema for a knock-out look. Accent their colorful flowers with bold pots; for example, red-flowering anthuriums are stunning in red, white, or black ceramic pots for a classic look.

Anthurium is a natural air purifier…! It’s been scientifically proven to scrub harmful chemicals and indoor air pollution from homes and offices.

Anthurium Growing Instructions

Grow anthuriums in a medium or bright window or under artificial lights to encourage the most blooms. Anthuriums are great foliage plants for low light, but they won’t produce flowers.

Water anthuriums enough to keep the soil moist, but not wet, and fertilize regularly in spring and summer with a general-purpose houseplant fertilizer. (Follow the directions on the fertilizer packaging to know how much fertilizer to use and how often to apply it.)

Anthuriums also appreciate warm temperatures; protect them from cold, drafty air. Like many tropical flowering houseplants, they need above-average humidity to do their best, making anthuriums excellent choices for bright kitchens or bathrooms.

Special Care

Outdoors, anthurium is a fun shade perennial in frost-free climates. Grow it in shade with moist, well drained soil and it will flower throughout spring and summer.

Note : Anthurium is not intended for human or animal consumption.

7. Song of India

As versatile as its name is poetic, Dracaena reflexa or “Song of India” is easy to identify because of its telltale green, lime, and yellow leaves. These plants are easy to grow in both high and low light and absorb undesirables like formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene.

Dracaena reflexa, commonly called pleomele or song of India, is a species of Dracaena which is a tropical tree native to Madagascar, Mauritius, and other nearby islands of the Indian Ocean. It is widely grown as an ornamental plant and houseplant, valued for its richly coloured, evergreen leaves, and thick, irregular stems.

While it may reach a height of 4–5 m, rarely 6 m in ideal, protected locations, Dracaena reflexa is usually much smaller, especially when grown as a houseplant. It is slow-growing and upright in habit, tending to an oval shape with an open crown. The lanceolate leaves are simple, spirally arranged, 5–20 cm long and 1.5–5 cm broad at the base, with a parallel venation and entire margin; they grow in tight whorls and are a uniform dark green.

The flowers are small, clustered, and usually white, appearing in mid winter. Neither the flowers nor the fruit are especially showy.

Note : This plant is not intended for human or animal consumption.

8. Pothos

Pothos is characterized by its golden, heart-shaped leaves and is extremely popular in North America. It’s a hardy plant that can survive in lower light and colder temps and is great for offices and homes since it rids the air of carbon monoxide and formaldehyde.

Pothos Plant Features

A perfect houseplant for beginners, pothos is one of the easiest you can grow — and one of the most popular. This hardy indoor plant features dark green leaves splashed and marbled in shades of yellow, cream, or white. Pothos is wonderfully versatile in the home, you can grow it in hanging baskets to trail down, let it climb a totem or trellis, or grow horizontally along a tabletop or mantle.

Pothos Growing Instructions

Pothos requires no special care indoors; it tolerates low light (but grows well in medium and high light spots, as well), low humidity, and the occasional missed watering. That said, pothos prefers moist (but not wet or saturated) soil.

Pothos also functions as a living air purifier making it ideal for home and office settings. It’s one of the best houseplants for any room of your home.

Note : This easy care houseplant is not intended for human or animal consumption.

9. Massangeana Cane

The Massangeana plant may be hard to pronounce but it’s easy to love. Native to Africa, it has a wild look that makes it ideal for decorating your home, and it also sucks formaldehyde from the air.

Place your massangeana cane in indirect, bright sunlight for optimum growth. Mass canes will tolerate low light, but they will grow very slowly. In hot weather or low humidity, mist the plant daily. Dust the leaves with water and a soft cloth as needed. Water with distilled water. Fluoride, salts and chlorine in tap water can damage the plant’s leaves and roots. Water no more than once a week since over-watering can cause the plant’s roots to rot. Cut back new growth occasionally to allow the massangeana cane to grow a new top. Feed your mass cane with a commercial plant food about once a month in warm weather.

Check your massangeana cane periodically for spider mites, mealy bugs or scale. Treat any infestation with an insecticide spray. For mealy bugs and scale, you can also clean the plant with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab.

Watch for these other problem signs, brown edges on leaves (over-watering), scorched spots (too much sun), grayish-brown spots (fungus caused by too much moisture) and droopy leaves or stalks (over- or under-watering).

Note : This plant is not intended for human or animal consumption.

10. Philodendrons

Philodendrons are easy-care houseplants that need very little attention. Their unique coloring makes them an attractive addition to your home and they’re known to ride the air of xylene.

Philodendron Plant Features

Philodendron is a classic, and practically no-fail houseplant because it’s so easy to grow. Happily, this makes it a pretty common indoor plant to find at your local garden center. The philodendron family is a pretty big one, too so you can find a variety of plants that grow in a range of shapes, sizes, and colors.

Many of the traditional philodendron varieties are vines perfect for growing on a totem, up a trellis, or in a hanging basket and some offer pleasing variegated foliage. These are counted as some of the most easy to grow houseplants of all time. Upright-growing philodendrons are just as easy, but typically have larger leaves.

Philodendron Growing Instructions

Grow philodendrons just about anywhere. As houseplants they’re that easy to keep..! The plants grow best in medium or bright-light spots, but tolerate low light exceedingly well.

Water philodendrons enough when the soil surface dries. They’re tough enough plants they don’t mind if you forget to water them now and again. Just take care not to overwater your philodendrons. They will rot if they’re kept too wet.

You typically don’t need to fertilize philodendrons much, if at all, but they appreciate a feeding once or twice a year in spring and summer. Use any houseplant fertilizer (available from your local garden center) and follow the packaging directions carefully.

Vining philodendrons are relatively slow growers, but can be cut back at any time to keep them compact and bushy.

Special Care

Outdoors in warm-weather climates, some philodendrons are grown as tropical perennials. These varieties typically do best in partial shade or shade and in moist, well-drained soil.

Note : This plant is not intended for human or animal consumption.