Great “Toxic Avenger” Plants


In this blog, I mention the importance of plants in our environments. One of the most important reasons is for physical health. Plants absorb the many chemicals in our indoor environments that can lead to headaches, migraines, allergies, and severe upper respiratory illness.

So, as I promised, here are some plants that are some of the best toxic avengers in dealing with formaldehyde and other air toxins:

Areca Palm – Consistently rated as one of the best “toxic avenger” plants. it’s also very popular because of the graceful branches. Keep in semi-sun. (image to the right)

Spider Plant – Everyone knows the spider plant in hanging baskets with shoots coming out and it gracefully drapes down. NASA found the spider plant to be most efficient in removing formaldehyde from air. Moderate light and watering.

Peace Lily – The peace lily is great at removing a multitude of toxins including ammonia, acetone, ethyl and methyl alcohol, benzine, formaldehyde, and others. It’s fine in moderate or low light. It requires a bit more water than the others.

Boston Fern – The Boston fern is great for removing formaldehyde and adding moisture back into the air. It needs frequent watering and misting and does well indirect sunlight.

Bamboo Palm – Excellent overall rating for removing toxins. Pumps moisture into the atmosphere to increase humidity levels in the dry winter months. Also, fairly easy to care for, along with most palms.

Easy-to-Care for Plants

Snake Plant (aka Mothers-in-Law Tongue) – Particularly good for removing formaldehyde and nitrogen oxide. And a bonus! It’s great for those that say they can’t have REAL plants in their homes. The snake plant is very forgiving. Water every 7-10 days in the warmer months and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. In the winter months, water only once a month. And, it can withstand irregular watering, so if you forget, not a problem. It prefers moderate to bright light, but can be in full sun or low light. Another bonus: like bromeliads, snake plants are great for the bedroom, as they emit oxygen at night and take in carbon dioxide (the opposite of most other plants). But it’s poisonous, so be careful in homes with small children and pets. (Image to the right).

Golden Pothos – Very popular house plant with heart-shaped leaves in hanging baskets. Extremely easy to grow and can withstand neglect.

Rubber Plant – Also very common house plant especially efficient at removing formaldehyde.

Dumb Cane (aka Dieffenbachia) – It’s also poisonous, so be careful in homes with small children and pets.


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