Take a look over the old Instagram feed—no matter what you like or who you follow, it seems that every third or fifth picture is of a cute little interior gardenscape these days. Whether these friends and influencers have gigantic homes or 900-square foot apartments, it seems like everyone is going all in on wall-to-wall greenery. But aside from being a social media trend, there are some genuine benefits to bringing a little bit of the outdoors in.
Certain indoor plants have the power to remove interior pollutants like cigarette smoke, organic solvents, formaldehyde, and other compounds from the air, meaning a home is quite a bit healthier by their presence. Here are a few plants that NASA has demonstrated will make your home life a little greener, brighter, and cleaner.
1. English Ivy
For anyone looking to focus better at work, English Ivy may actually be able to help with that. Many office supplies emit trace amounts of benzene, but this plant filters that chemical out of the air and can make your home office a fresher, more inviting space. Ivy also helps reduce the amount of airborne fecal matter, which… yeah, that’s gross, but it also means it’s perfect for parents of newborns and pet lovers. (Plus, visually, it lends a certain New England vibe).
2. Peace Lily
Aside from being utterly gorgeous—and symbolizing tranquility—the Peace Lily helps reduce the levels of mold spores in a home by absorbing them through its leaves and moving them to the roots for food. While this plant adds value to any room it’s in, it’s an especially great plant to keep in the bathroom, as it cuts down on shower liner mold and mildew.
3. Bamboo Palm
Looking for a low-maintenance, high-payoff plant? The bamboo palm can grow in low light conditions and only needs to be watered when the surface of the soil feels dry. This plant can filter formaldehyde—which sounds like a scary chemical that you’d only find in a funeral home, but is actually a compound present in many standard household cleaners— and it’s non-toxic to pets, which is great if your cat tends to view any plant in your home as a salad.
4. Green Spider Plant
Durable and simple, this spindly plant is very easy to grow and maintain. Given they require only a little amount of work, you get back a lot back in return—this plant can evidently remove 90% of toxins in the air, including allergens and mold. They’re also fun to grow, as they propagate by sprouting off tiny spiderettes (yup, that’s the real term for spider plant babies). You can then root them in their own pots and add more greenery to your home or give them as gifts to friends and family.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a great addition to any kitchen because of this plant’s famous ability to soothe and heal burns. But even when you’re not slicing off a stalk to use this plant for its interior goop, it can also improve indoor air quality by removing benzene, which is often found in paint and chemical cleaners, from the air.
6. Boston Fern
A classic from the 1970s has gotten super cool again: we’ve been seeing these ferns all over our Instagram feeds, which makes sense because they have a neutral style and are vibrant and easy to maintain. However, a lesser-known fact is that they are also one of the top air-purifying plants out there: Boston Ferns remove formaldehyde better than any other plant, and also rid indoor air of xylene, toluene, benzene and more.
7. Weeping Fig
Weeping Figs are aesthetically just delightful, and they have so much variation, there’s an iteration of this plant perfect for any decorating scheme. Some of them have plain, glossy green leaves, but others are marked with pink patterns, burgundy, creamy yellow, or silver-white. The trunk of this plant is frequently braided to create a long, elegant, topiary-like line, as well. They do some great work in your house, too: just consign them to one spot—seriously, they do not like to be moved—and let them quietly removes formaldehyde from your home.
8. Barberton Daisy
Better known as the Gerbera Daisy, this cute plant is more than shiny eye candy—although you’d be forgiven for thinking that, given how colorful its flowers are. The sunny, sweet flower als represents purity and cheerfulness, and it positively thrives indoors, so it’s a relatively easy flower to grow. Even better, it’s effective at removing chemical vapors, in particular benzene, from the air.
Getting a little green indoors is so much more than an act of simply purifying the space. Plants are known to boost your mood, creativity, and reduce stress and fatigue. So whether you’re trying to clean your air, feel better about the world around you, or simply want a stress-free new hobby, consider adding one of these plants to your windowsill.