The Best 4 Purifying Plants: Health and Home

Did you know that plants have to purify and absorb properties? Yes, there is a great variety of plants that help neutralize surplus substances in the body that we absorb from common materials we regularly have contact with, such as paints, solvents, air fresheners, etc.

These elements may be pollutants whose dangerousness can vary according to the products’ harmfulness, the exposure time, and the response of the persons who come in contact with them.  

In this blog, I’ll talk about the characteristics of purifying plants, their benefits, and importance, as well as some of the pollutants surrounding wherever you are and 5 species of purifying plants that you can have in your home.

What you need to know about purifying plants 

Benefits of purifying plants 

As it’s known, plants provide us with an endless number of properties whose benefits should be maximized to 100%. One of these is the purifying plants, as it provides us with the following benefits:

  • They purify and keep the air clean in enclosed places where we are.
  • These plants eliminate Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) present in the home.
  • They are able to absorb noise.
  • They help to eliminate static electricity in the environment.
  • They help reduce breathing difficulties by humidifying the environment.
  • They contribute to the creation of visually pleasing environments.
  • They provide hygrometric regulation, which is responsible for stabilizing the environmental humidity.

Characteristics of purifying plants 

Now that we’re familiar with the benefits of purifying plants, we should learn how they work to achieve this goal. By doing so, it will be much easier to understand the process and appreciate the wonder of nature.

Living organism 

Plants, as living organisms, must carry out determined processes in order to satisfy their vital functions. Within these processes, we find respiration, photosynthesis, and transpiration.

Through respiration, the plant absorbs the oxygen present in the air to transform it into carbon dioxide and water vapor, which it expels to the exterior. This process is done at night and can be considered the opposite of photosynthesis. Plants breathe through their flowers, leaves, stems, and roots.

Photosynthesis, in turn, nourishes the plants. These produce carbonate matter and glucose from the water, mineral salts, and carbon dioxide gas in the air. They use sunlight as energy to carry out this process.

Once this is done, they release oxygen resulting in a lowered carbon dioxide production during respiration. Photosynthesis takes place during the day; however, the plant breathes permanently.

The lungs of the planet 

Although, in this blog, we focus on the plants inside the home or office and in urban spaces, it’s not superfluous to remind that they are a fundamental part of ecosystems.

The main world oxygen generators are algae and phytoplankton, followed by extensive forests such as the Amazon rainforest.

These organisms provide the necessary oxygen into the atmosphere while absorbing CO2, which they then transform into carbohydrates that will be used by other living organisms.   

Plants that purify the air 

As I mentioned in the benefits, these plants have the capacity to purify the air and keep it clean, done through the exchange of gases (O2 and CO2).

The leaves are responsible for absorbing pollutants from the air, and the rest of the plant releases water vapor through transpiration. This helps to improve the humidity and oxygen present in an enclosed space.

In the roots, plants have microorganisms that help them transform pollutants into organic products, which are used to supply nutrients to the whole plant to allow it to develop properly.

The larger the plants, the larger the leaves’ surface, and thus the greater the gas exchange effects. Besides, it’s essential to place the plants in spots where you intend to use their purifying properties.  

Don’t forget that you can use several species of plants to amplify the results. Later I’ll tell you about some of them and their corresponding characteristics.

Plants that absorb magnetic waves 

In places such as our office, we’re exposed to a high degree of electromagnetic pollution. This is caused by the magnetic and electric fields of computers, printers, photocopiers, cordless telephones, and other devices.

These objects can affect people’s health when placed very close. Some people spend a lot of time in their offices, so they could be more affected.

Some people may suffer from headaches and eye discomfort when near their computers. However, plants such as cacti work wonders to reduce these annoyances. Just place them next to the monitor.

Plants that absorb sounds 

Trees and shrubs are used in some places, like blocks of flats, houses, or buildings, to reduce the outside sound, especially from automobiles. However, smaller plants can also be used inside your home to minimize sound waves.

Some species that fit well into this purpose are Ficus Benjamina, Dracaena, Spathiphyllum (also called Moses-in-the-cradle), and Philodendron. Green walls work perfectly to isolate sound.

Pollutants depending on the space 

Nowadays, a lot of time is spent in enclosed or semi-enclosed places such as homes, offices, schools, leisure centers, and stores, among other areas. And now, because of the pandemic, we have to spend even more time at home and at work, which can cause us some discomfort.

For this reason, I’m going to share below those polluting elements that are found in the most frequented places at home and office.


  • Electromagnetic waves: emitted by computers, printers, photocopiers, among other objects.
  • Xylene: present in highlighters, inks, markers, paints and cigarette smoke.
  • Formaldehyde: present in printer paper that has already been used in printing, chipboard furniture and waxes.
  • Toluene: found in paints, solvents and insulating foams.
  • Benzene: present in ink and plastic.

Living room 

  • Trichloroethylene: a chemical used to dry clean textiles such as sofa covers and curtains.
  • Benzene: a substance that is mixed with other elements and can be used to make cleaning products, air fresheners and paints.
  • Toluene: found in insulating foams and solvents.
  • Formaldehyde: present in chipboard furniture, waxes, varnishes and construction materials.
  • Carbon monoxide: found in fireplaces and heating devices.
  • Ammonia: found in cleaning products.
  • Electromagnetic waves: emitted by televisions, computers and other gadgets.


Some people believe that having plants in the bedroom is bad; however, in our blog about 11 plants for the bedroom, we refute this myth and recommend a couple of plants that you can have in this space.

  • Trichloroethylene: present in products for dry cleaning cushions, furniture, curtains, etc.
  • Benzene: found in cleaning products, air fresheners and paints.
  • Toluene: found in solvents and insulating foams.
  • Xylene: present in resins, paints and cigarette smoke.
  • Formaldehyde: present in chipboard furniture, waxes and varnishes.
  • Ammonia: found in cleaning products.
  • Electromagnetic waves: emitted by televisions or monitors in the bedroom.


  • Ammonia: found in cleaning products.
  • Formaldehyde: present in cardboard packaging, plastic, paper, chipboard furniture, waxes and varnishes.
  • Carbon monoxide: present in gas ovens, burned food and heating devices.
  • Benzene: present in cleaning products, paints and air fresheners.


  • Toluene: present in deodorants, perfumes and insulating foams.
  • Carbon monoxide: found in heaters and heating devices.
  • Ammonia: found in cleaning products, bleaches, detergents and fabric softeners.
  • Benzene: found in paints and air fresheners.
  • Formaldehyde: found in chipboard furniture. 

4 purifying plants

Now that you know the benefits of having this type of plant inside the home and how they absorb polluting elements, I’m about to show you some of the most common ones for enclosed spaces.

Before talking in detail about each species so you can immediately enjoy the purifying benefits of these plants, I advise you to go to the closest nurseries and buy the variety you like the most.

The plant will be well developed and mature enough. Just keep in mind the necessary care that I’ll mention for each plant. This way, they’ll live for a long time, decorate your home, and help you to purify the environment.


Outdoors, palms adapt very well to temperate climates, for they are not very demanding. They can easily find the nutrients they need in the soil, and you only have to take care of watering, fertilizing, and pruning, if necessary.

For interiors, you can use species native to warm and humid climates, such as the Areca, because they don’t have many demands in terms of care. You should place your palm tree in a place with good humidity to avoid dehydration.

Taken from Pinterest – Palmera Areca

Care of palms

Light: Most indoor palm species don’t have very demanding light needs. However, some palms need direct sunlight for a few hours, so they’re ideal for the outside.

If palms that require plenty of sunlight are indoors, they may not survive. Keep this in mind for choosing the species you will buy at the nursery.

Temperature: Indoor species are usually native to tropical areas with temperatures of about 18°C (64°F). Therefore, make sure that the temperature in your home doesn’t drop below 10°C.

Otherwise, the plant may experience reduced growth and tissue damage. This means that you should also protect them from sudden temperature changes.

Humidity: As I mentioned before, palms require a slightly humid environment. You can make use of some kind of humidifier in order to achieve a higher water level in the environment.

Watering: It’s advisable to keep the substrate moist but without flooding the plant, as this could suffocate the roots and kill the palm tree. You can water abundantly and at regular intervals, avoiding wetting the leaves so that fungal diseases don’t appear.

If the leaves are a little dusty you can wipe them gently with a damp cloth, this way you can give them a better appearance and pests such as spider mites won’t appear.

Substrate: The right substrate for indoor palms should be light, able to retain the necessary humidity and have proper drainage. You can use sand to promote drainage and avoid waterlogging. In our blog about substrates, you’ll find all the benefits that the right substrate provides for plants and the types of substrates that exist to meet those needs and requirements.

Fertilizer: Indoor palms require a fertilizer consisting mostly of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. You have the option of using slow-release fertilizers, which are available in granules or tablets, like the ones used for bonsai and are applied once or twice a year.

It’s imperative not to exceed the amount of fertilizer as it could salinize the substrate. The best time to apply the fertilizer is during the vegetative development according to the palm species. For example, the areca palm can be fertilized in spring. If you apply it at any other time the plant won’t be able to take proper advantage of all the nutrients.

Crassula plants and cacti 

In terms of genus and species, these plants are very diverse. Crassulas, also called succulents, store water in their fleshy leaves, and other species can store water in their stems or roots as well.

Thanks to this, these plants can withstand droughts and adapt to extreme climates. They have even adapted to protect themselves from the sun through tiny white hairs on their leaves.

In our blog about succulents, we talk about other great benefits these plants can give us, and mention 5 spectacular species to have inside your home.

Care of Succulents 

Light: Most succulents enjoy a location with intense sunlight during long periods of the day; however, some species like shaded or semi-shaded areas.

You can place them near a window, in a well-lit bathroom or in the bedroom. Only make sure that that place has excellent aeration.

Temperature: These plants are prepared to withstand different temperatures in the wild. But inside the house, you must ensure that there is no excessive humidity or sudden temperature changes.

If you live in a house with heating, make sure that the temperature is about 12 °C, this way they can maintain their resting period. On very cold days or in winter avoid placing your crassulas or cacti too close to windows as the temperature can get very low in that area.       

Humidity: These plant species require sufficient airflow to prevent the spread of parasites and diseases. Therefore, air flowing over the plant and in the substrate is vital. In this case, for species originating from humid forests, it’s advisable to maintain a very humid environment. You can use terrariums to guarantee these conditions.

For species from arid areas, a drier environment is convenient for their correct growth. Try to maintain a moderate humidity level for these marvelous plants.

Watering: In spring and summer cacti and crassulas need periodic watering, but in winter watering should be almost none. Periodic watering can be weekly or every 15 days, it depends on the species.

You can do the finger test in case you are not sure if your plant needs watering or not. You only have to introduce your finger in the substrate 2 or 4 cm deep, if it comes out dry you’ll have to water it; if not, you can wait a few more days.

Substrate: The ideal substrate for these plants should be permeable, light and mineral-rich. In nurseries or specialized stores, you can find the right prepared substrate for your cacti and crassulas.

Fertilizer: The aim of fertilizing these plants is to provide vegetative strength so that it can produce flowers. You can use a fertilizer rich mainly in nitrogen (15%), phosphorus (30%) and potassium (15%).

Climbing plants 

These plants tend to grow vigorously, so it’s advisable to perform maintenance pruning and use a tutor or trellis. Then, they can be intertwined and continue to thrive properly. This group comprises Ficus, Philodendron scandens, Philodendron selloum, and ivy.

Taken from Pinterest

Care of climbing plants 

Light: These plants grow nicely when kept indoors. They can be placed near well-lit windows or in shaded and semi-shaded spaces. Everything will depend on the species you wish.

Watering: Climbing plants don’t like wet soils, but you can’t let their roots dry out completely either. In summer, when the sun has gone down, that’s to say, outside the hottest hours of the day, you can water regularly and abundantly without puddling.

Substrate: This species is not very demanding in terms of soil, you can use a universal substrate that is sold in nurseries or specialized stores.

Fertilizer: You can use a substrate rich in humus and mulch with compost once or twice a year; this way it won’t be necessary to fertilize. If you want to stimulate the growth of annual species, apply fertilizer when the plants reach a height of 30 cm (12 in.) and then at flowering.

Use a balanced fertilizer with nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potassium in equal parts.


These plants are distinguished by the complexity of their flowers and for being the most extensive family of plants with more than 25,000 identified species. They can vary in size, color, and texture; however, the basic structure of their flowers consists of 3 sepals (false petals that surround the true ones) and 3 petals.

They have been able to establish themselves in various areas due to the adaptations they have gone through. In their natural habitat, they grow on tree barks, but as they are more adaptive, they can be grown in pots or water.

Taken from Pinterest – Orquídea Vanda

Care of orchids 

Light: It’s a fundamental factor for these plants’ flowers to open; however, some hybrids can be in low light conditions. You can also meet this need by using artificial lighting.

The fluorescent tubes of cold and warm light will be your best allies. Place them over the orchids at a height of 40 cm for 12 to 14 hours a day.

Temperature: This parameter, in warm regions, should vary from 18 to 30 °C (64 to 86 °F) during the day and from 16 to 25 °C (64 to 77 °F) at night. In temperate climates, it should go from 18 to 25 °C (64 to 77 °F) during the day and 13 to 16 °C (57 to 59 °F) at night. Finally, for cold climates, 15 to 20 °C (59 to 68 °F) during the day will be good and 8 to 14 °C (46 to 59 °F) at night.

Humidity: The minimum humidity required for orchids is 50% and even a little more. You can recreate these conditions by spraying lightly on the back of the leaves and on the substrate or by leaving the plant in a pot of water.

Keep in mind that spraying should be done very carefully and gently so as not to damage the plant.

Watering: Water for irrigation should be extremely pure, and you can use rain, filtered, bottled, or osmosis water. You can also have your orchids in a container which creates a sort of semi-hydroponic pot. This method consists of having a part of the inorganic substrate, in which the roots of the plant will develop, and a container with some of the water, which contains the fertilizer that will be absorbed by the roots.

It’ll work if you live in warm areas. You need a taller container with holes for drainage and a smaller one to collect the water. Fill the containers with pumice, expanded clay, or arlite, and add at least 2 or 3 fingers of water. You should add liquid fertilizer to the plant every 15 days, and change the water at this time as well.

Substrate: In case you have your orchids in pots, or in markets, you can get a specific substrate for these plants. However, keep in mind that, depending on the species, you may or may not need it.

Some orchid varieties are epiphytes, which means that they grow and live above other plants, such as trees. Therefore, there’s no need to use any substrate because they have adapted to survive in these conditions, although it is possible to have them in pots.  

So the first thing you should do is get to know the species of orchid you’re planting, epiphyte, terrestrial or semi-terrestrial. For those epiphytes, use a substrate that contains 3 parts of pine bark, 3 of cork, 1 of white peat, and 1 of seramis (granulated clay).

For terrestrial and semi-terrestrial, orchids use a substrate with 5 parts of pine bark, 1 of white peat, 1 of charcoal, and 1 of vermiculite.

Compost: Compost can help compensate for poor substrate and water in pots. You should use the 3 main components: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, plus add other minerals such as magnesium, sulfur, and trace elements.


Unfortunately, we’ve reached the end of this fascinating blog about those purifying plants that will be our best allies at home or in the office. We encourage you to have some of these species and take advantage of their prominent properties – Let’s get to work!