1. Potted chrysanthemums
"Mums are one of a few flowering plants that purify the air," says Shelley Elgar, seasonal plant product manager at Sheridan Nurseries. "They are the bestselling plants that flower year-round and provide a brilliant display of colour in your home or office." According to NASA, out of 12 different plants studied, potted mums removed the greatest variety of chemicals from the air. Removes: Ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, trichloroethylene, xylene Care instructions: Full sun. Water well-drained soil thoroughly, allowing it to dry between each watering.
2. Peace lily
"Peace lilies are another great option if you're looking for a flowering air purifier," says Elgar. "Their blooming period comes and goes, but they have great foliage and the flowers can get quite big." While the peace lily is a seasonal, easy-to-maintain bloomer, pet owners should avoid this particular plant, which is poisonous to cats and dogs. Removes: Ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, trichloroethylene, xylene Care instructions: Low sunlight. Water when the surface of the soil is dry.
3. Snake plant
Also known as mother in law's tongue (draw your own conclusions), the snake plant is especially effective in removing formaldehyde from the air, according to NASA research. Elgar describes the hardy, low-maintenance snake plant as the perfect choice for a novice. "Snake plants tolerate very low light conditions and don't need a lot of watering, making them popular household and office plants," she says. What's more, unlike most vegetation, snake plants don't require sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. That means they continue to clean the air all through the night! Removes: Benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, trichloroethylene, xylene Care instructions: Low to moderate sunlight. Water when the surface of the soil is dry.