10 of the best air-purifying plants

Air-purifying plants are great for keeping your home safe from unwanted chemicals and toxins. Find our 10 best air plants, as well as how they work with this guide.
Snake Plant | Prickle Plants

Indoor plants do more than just soak up direct sunlight and give that jungle look to your home. Many plants are known to have air-purifying properties too. Like natural air fresheners, they can clean the air for the benefit of your health.

In this guide, we're going to explore 10 of our favourite Prickle Plants that purify the air by removing toxins and chemicals, and are ideal for your home in the UK. There's a plant here for all room sizes, light conditions, and plant parent skill level.

What are the best air purifying plants?

Our air purifying plant collection is a breath of fresh air. Typically, the leafier the plant is, the better it is at purifying. They use the carbon dioxide in the air, along with sunlight, for photosynthesis, and cannot grow without it. However, some scientific studies (including a study conducted by NASA) found that some plants contribute to indoor air pollution abatement.

Put simply, this means that some plants also absorb chemicals and toxins, making your air cleaner to breath. These air purifiers can also reduce carbon monoxide levels in your home.

Sweetheart Plant | Prickle Plants

Some of the toxins that air purifying plants can remove include:

  • Carbon dioxide,

  • Carbon monoxide,

  • Benzene,

  • Formaldehyde,

  • Trichloroethylene.

These chemicals can arise from new furniture, including carpet, curtains and varnished wood items, as well as wall paints and detergents, as well as outside sources if you live in a busy city.

Opening the window is the most effective way to air out a room and reduce the VOCs in the air, but when it's a little too chilly for open windows it's good to know that your plant friends are air purifying as well.

Our top air purifying plants may also reduce bacteria and mould in the air, however many houseplants (especially exotic ones) enjoy humidity. Warm moist soil can actually be a magnet for pests like fungus gnats, so make sure you use our plant guides to create the perfect conditions for your pricks to survive pest-free.

Bird of Paradise | Prickle Plants

Why we love air purifying plants

Purifying plants are really versatile indoor plants, ranging from climbers like English Ivy to indoor trees and exotic flowering plants. Whether they like frequent watering or hate moist soil, they are suitable for a wide range of home environments. You can find plants for sunny kitchens, damp bathrooms, and airy bedrooms in our list below.

The benefits of reducing toxins from the air are wide-reaching. Respiratory benefits may be felt instantly, while other benefits for your digestive system and even mental health can be long-term.

Don't forget that you can find out if a plant loves sunlight, needs misting, or is pet safe by clicking on the prick that caught your eye at Prickle - all the info you need is on the product page or in our blog plant guides.

10 awesome plants

These air purifying plants are firm favourites among the Prickle team. They're wonderful for bringing in some clean air, removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and adding excitement to any room.

1. Snake Plant

One of the most popular plants in the UK, Sansevieria Laurentii is great for removing toxic chemicals in your home. Better known as Mother in Law's Tongue or simply the Snake Plant, it will quietly battle toxins all day long.

The low maintenance Snake Plant enjoys a bright and dry environment and is moderately shade tolerant. The long flat spear-like leaves are dark dappled green with bright yellow edges will make it eye catching, and our extra large one is the perfect statement plant.

These plants can reach heights of 1.2 metres and rarely need watering. Slow growing, they take little care, making great gifts for beginners on their plant parenthood journey.

Snake Plant | Prickle Plants

2. Kentia Palm

Howea Forsteriana, better known as the Kentia Palm, will remove toxins from indoor spaces as one of the best air purifying plants at Prickle. It's also one of our popular non-toxic palms that is suitable for homes with pets, and slowly grows to a maximum height of 3 metres - as tall as a large indoor tree.

Kentia Palms enjoy well drained soil, frequent watering, and plenty of humidity. If your home isn't overly humid, you can mist the palm regularly to maintain that sweet spot.

Along with the Bamboo Palm and Broad Lady Palm, the Kentia Palm is one of the best air purifiers from the Palm plant collection. We love its feather-like foliage and tall elegant stems. It's green from tip to toe.

Kentia Palm | Prickle Plants

3. ZZ Plant

Besides having one of the best plant names, Zamioculcas Zamiifolia can absorb harmful toxins while purifying the air. Also called the ZZ Plant, this variety is low maintenance with no bright light or artificial light necessary - it will sit quite happily in a shaded corner next to your shade-loving Chinese Money Plant.

With tall, glossy leaves and sturdy stems, the foliage will remove toxins from the air. Unfortunately, the leaves are not non-toxic so make sure pets and small children don't take a curious bite or two.

Like the Boston Fern, the ZZ Plant is most comfortable in temperatures of 15°C to 24°C. Mature plants (over 5 years old) may produce an oblong shaped flower. If you are keen to bring a flowering air purifying plant into your home, check out the Peace Lily below.

ZZ Plant | Prickle Plants

4. Curly Spider Plant

Chlorophytum Bonnie, one of our favourite Spider Plants, is a low maintenance variety that will improve air quality in the kitchen or living room. The Curly Spider Plant as it is better known, enjoys a spot with bright filtered light (but not directly in a sunbeam) and consistent watering with the occasional misting.

With gorgeous long curly leaves that are mid-green with a single cream stripe at the centre. They drape down and look wonderful in tall pots or hanging baskets. It's okay if your home gets a little cold in winter or you forget to water it over the weekend - this small plant variety is one of the hardier air purifying indoor plants. Your air quality will improve with little effort required!

Along with the Snake Plant, our Spider Plant is considered one of the best for beginners.

Curly Spider Plant

5. Ficus Robusta

At Prickle, all our Rubber Plants are air filtering, whether you opt for the classic Ficus Robusta, known as the Robusta Rubber Plant, or the remarkably retro Ficus Abidjan, known as the Abidjan Rubber Plant.

With dark green leaves, each tropical plant absorbs toxins while purifying the air. Used as interior landscape plants since the 1970s, we love their smart, upright style and sturdy stems. They're low maintenance too, preferring shade and a little indirect sunlight over direct sunlight.

These Rubber Plants grow at a slow to average pace and can reach heights from 2 metres to 3 metres when mature. Water them consistently, on a regular schedule, to stop the soil becoming too dry and voila: you'll have a happy and healthy air purifying rubber plant.

Ficus Robusta | Prickle Plants

6. Peace Lily

Spathiphyllum is an incredibly beautiful flowering plant that will thrive in your home while it removes harmful chemicals from the air. You've likely heard of this plant before under its common name - the Peace Lily.

Peace Lilies are fast growing, tall indoor plants - a great alternative to the Bamboo Palm if you want both height and flowers. Their white flowers are iconic with a mellow, mild and calming aroma, and their green leaves are large and lush.

A Peace Lily prefers indirect light and regular misting. You can also trim away any dead flowers to promote new growth - it may take a few years for the plant to mature enough to flower regularly. Otherwise, it's pretty low maintenance.

You should place this plant in hard to reach spot with indirect sunlight. The Spathiphyllum Wallisii is poisonous to humans and pets, so keep it away from babies and furry friends.

Peace Lily

7. Sweetheart Plant

One of our best air purifying houseplants is the Philodendron Scandens, aptly named the Sweetheart Plant. This is a climber that can grow upwards along a moss pole or drape down from a hanging planter with long vines and shapely foliage.

The heart shaped leaves are much larger than the similarly shaped leaves of ivy variants, like Devil's Ivy. The lush glossy foliage of the Sweetheart Plant is air purifying too and prefers indirect sunlight, to mimic the naturally bright conditions of its native environment in South America.

To keep the vines healthy and bright, regular misting is important. However, this is not an overly thirsty plant so keep the watering consistent but only when necessary - check to see if the top 5 centemetres of soil are dry before whipping out the watering can.

Sweetheart Plant | Prickle Plants

8. Lil' Chinese Evergreen

Aglaonema commutatum, better known as Chinese Evergreen Plants, are one of quite a few plants from our Lil' Pricks collection. The Lil' Chinese Evergreen Plant is a baby plant, supplied in a 6cm pot. It's a slow grower too, so you can enjoy the cuteness for even longer.

This plant is is recognisable by its gorgeous pink white colours on its leaves, tipped with green edges. The more light the plant gets, the more the colours fade to white - so, keep it in a shady spot in your home.

Not to be confused with the Chinese Money Plant, which is a less shade tolerant air purifying succulent, the Chinese Evergreen is a bit of a diva. It enjoys consistent watering, the occasional misting, and a lovely warm temperature. If your home gets a bit chilly, this is not the plant for you.

Lil' Chinese Evergreen | Prickle Plants

9. Aloe Vera

Aloe Barbadensis Miller is everyone's favourite healing Aloe Plant. But did you know that Aloe Vera is also an air purifying plant? Enjoying lots of direct light, this slow growing plant is pretty low maintenance too.

With spiky foliage that can rival even Pineapple Plants, Aloe Vera is a core plant here at Prickle. Aloe Vera is a succulent that's native to North Africa. It's evergreen and enjoys dry, arid conditions - indirect sunlight isn't enough, so place this plant right up against the window!

Although Aloe Vera is known for being revitalising, cooling and healing, it's actually poisonous when ingested so keep it away from pets and small children.

Aloe Vera | Prickle Plants

10. Weeping Fig

Ficus benjamina danielle is a great air purifying plant for your living room. Weeping Fig are fairly fussy plants, enjoying everything in moderation. So, keep the soil moist with regular watering while ensuring that the pot drains well, and place this pretty prick in a bright spot with indirect light.

This plant is also quite fussy about location. Keep it in a warm yet moderately shady spot. If you continue to move this plant around your home, it may start to drop some leaves in protest.

Although it's the last air purifier on our list, it's one of the largest and one of the best. Along with our other plant choices, it is a great way to freshen the air of your home and keep nasty chemicals down to a minimum.

Weeping Fig | Prickle Plants

Prickle about with air purification

From the Mother in Law's Tongue to Devil's Ivy, there are plenty of unusual plants to enjoy. The most effective indoor air purifiers are varied too, from succulents that enjoy direct sunlight to shade-craving trailing plants that long to hide away from bright sunlight in your bathroom.

If you need help finding the right air purifying plant for your home, reach out! We love to chat about our plant friends. DM us on social at @prickplantsuk where you can discover new plants, collections, and helpful tips on nurturing our best air purifying plants.

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