Our Guide to Filling Your House With Air Filtering Plants

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The air quality right now in Boise and the rest of the Pacific Northwest is pretty terrible. Excess smoke in the air has caused heightened respiratory problems and forced many Idaho kids to stay indoors this summer. Well, the air indoors isn’t much better. With wildfires raging and hardly a drop of rain since June 17th, we are in need of some relief from this smoky air. We’re going to explore four common houseplants that you can buy at your friendly neighborhood garden supply store that will help clear your home’s air of dangerous toxins.


Spider Plant (AKA Chlorophytum Comosum 'Vittatum')

Spider Plant


This is not only a powerhouse in filtering toxins from your home’s air, but it is also very easy to take care of! Spider Plants originated from Africa, but have been flourishing around the globe as houseplants for many years. They typically like to hang in baskets and like cooler indoor temperatures between 65*F and 90*F. They only require watering once or twice a month and thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. Perfect for a kitchen or living room. 


Snake Plant (AKA Sansevieria Trifasciata)

Snake Plant Boise Idaho

By Mokkie - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32807562


Snakes and spiders, oh my! While the names for these top two plants are unpleasant, their effects on your household’s air quality is anything but. Fill your bedrooms with this sneaky snake plant (also known as “Mother-in-Law’s tongue,” but you didn’t hear that from US!) because they can survive in low light levels and occasional watering. During winter months, they can go up to two months between watering sessions. Beware, though. They are susceptible to rot if overwatered. These are also great to have in a bedroom because they release their clean oxygen at night time as opposed to during the day. Keep your friends close and your snake plants even closer!


Aloe Vera  (AKA Aloe Vera)

Aloe Boise Idaho

By Collage by en:User:MidgleyDJ, original images from Wikimedia commons (Image:Aloe_vera_offsets.jpg and Image:Aloe_vera_C.jpg) - See author., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5084561


Aloe vera is already a well regarded plant due to its use as a topical medicinal agent for thousands of years, but did you know it also is a top air purifying plant as well? Aloe is good for you both inside and out. It is considered a succulent and survives with little rainfall in its natural environment, which makes it a very hardy houseplant. They don’t like standing water, though, so make sure they have good drainage when potting them. They are great at clearing formaldehyde from the air, which is a common air pollutant in modern American homes. 


Bamboo Palm (AKA Chamaedorea Seifritzii)

Bamboo Boise Idaho

By Taken byfir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.auCanon 5D II + Canon 400mm f/5.6 L - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17996261


Bamboo is a very pleasant and fairly uncommon houseplant, at least here in the PNW. This is a great addition to the home arsonal for fighting indoor air pollution because it is easy to maintain and filters out three known harmful pollutants: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene. Bamboo is also pet friendly, in case one of your dogs or cats likes to chew on houseplants. It likes bright light or even full sun. They can grow to be quite tall, so plan accordingly!

While the smoke in the air may not be getting better outside, you can make a difference inside by adding these four plant purifiers to your home.