Houseplants are a fun and easy way to green up the indoors, but did you know that they can also help clean and remove toxins from the air? Out of all of the common houseplants, 35 of the best indoor plants excel at this task. I’ve created a comprehensive list based on a study NASA performed several years ago that tested the efficiency of different plants and their toxin-removing powers. If you don’t have at least one or two in your home, you should consider adding them.
As a bonus, many of these best indoor plants are considered great for beginners because they’re very forgiving, easy to grow, and easy to maintain. You’ll get a short overview of the plant, how to care for them, and any additional features they have below.
The best indoor plants will thrive inside while simultaneously cleaning the air and making your home’s interior safer. They add pops of color to the environment, and many of them are very forgiving.
1. Aloe Vera
This is an attractive, easy succulent to grow that does well by itself or as a companion plant. You can use the juice from this best indoor plant’s leaves to relieve any pain you may have from burns and scrapes when you topically apply it. It’s either very short-stemmed or stemless, and it has very thick, green fleshy leaves that have small teeth. It does best in well-draining potting soil mix, and you want the bottom leaves of the plant to sit on the soil to provide support. You should water it sparingly to prevent rot, and you can remove the offsets to start a new plant when you see them.
2. Areca Palm
The Areca Palm can grow up to six or seven feet tall when they’re fully matured, and they grow at a rate of six to 10 inches every year with the correct growing conditions. This best indoor plant will live for 10 years, and they come as a small clustered tabletop plant. You have to water them enough to keep their soil moist at all times, and they do best with higher humidity and light levels since they’re from a tropical region. You’ll repot them every two or three years, and you get deep green leaves with thin stalks and narrow edges that come to a point.
3. Bamboo Plant
Bamboo is an ornamental plant that you can easily shape and get it to grow wrapped around pieces of wood to create a pleasing look. This best indoor plant likes bright, filtered sunlight, and they grow very well in a vase filled with small stones for support and an inch of water. It can also grow in rich potting soil in temperatures above 50°F. You can cut trimmings from the stalk to create new plants, and the best time to shape them is when they’re new shoots because they’re flexible. With proper care, these bamboo plants can live for years and grow at a slow rate.
4. Banana Plant
Both outdoor and indoor banana plants need a very humus-like and rich growing medium that drains very well. They also require plenty of indirect sunlight, and many varieties need at least 12 hours every day. You get purple buds with white flowers and broad leaves in a deep green hue with this best indoor plant. You fertilize it every month during the warmer months, and it’ll need a very big pot for the roots. It also requires a lot of water, and this is a very slow-growing species that can take years to mature with minimal maintenance.
5. Boston Fern
Boston Ferns like indirect light with high humidity and cooler temperatures to thrive, and they do very well as hanging plants. Once you get this best indoor plant set up in the proper environment, they don’t require a lot of hands-on care, and this makes them great for beginners. The soil should stay damp as much as possible, and they grow long leaves with dozens of smaller offshoots in a bright green coloring. It’s easy to propagate new ferns from a larger plant, and you can consider putting them in a peat moss pot for the best growing results. They can live for several years with proper care.
6. Broadleaf Lady Palm
This best indoor plant never existed in the wild, and it originally came from Chinese cultivars. Broadleaf Lady Palms do wonderfully in shady environments, and they actually get much darker and more lush in this growing environment. They can grow between eight and twelve inches every year, and they can reach 14-feet high. You’ll need a well-draining soil that is slightly acidic, and it takes around seven years before your plant is ready to propagate. You should apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer twice a year while being very careful not to over fertilize or water it because it can hurt the plant.
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7. Chinese Evergreen
Chinese Evergreens are a favorite best indoor plant for novice gardeners because they’re very easy to care for. They like moderate watering, and you can add a blood meal fertilizer once or twice a year to encourage steady growth. They grow well in temperatures above 60°F, and you can choose from a broad range of colors. The leaves come mottled with light greens, deep green, red, purple, or lime green, and they can produce flowers as they get older that look like Peace Lilies. You should wipe the plant’s leaves down with a dry cloth to help get rid of any dust the collects on them.
The Chrysanthemum is over six centuries old, and they have gorgeous coloring ranging from deep bronze to whites, pinks, yellows, reds, and more all offset by deep green foliage. This is a very hardy best indoor plant that does well in a broad range of growing conditions, including colder temperatures. They like well-draining soil and up to six hours of sun per day. You should plant them one to a container in loose-packed soil to give the roots time to spread out and establish themselves, and you should plan to repot and divide them every two or three years to keep them healthy and thriving.
9. Dendrobium Orchid
Many people think that orchids are extremely hard to care for, but the Dendrobium Orchid is widely considered to be one of the easiest best indoor plants to grow. These orchids like very tall but narrow pots, and you should water them twice a week in the morning hours. They require lots of indirect sunlight, and they like temperatures to range in the upper 60s to mid 70s. You should use an orchid-specific fertilizer on them a few times a year, and you may need to stake the plant to support it when it blooms. Adding a shallow tray with pebbles and water under the plant will increase the humidity levels.
10. Devil’s Ivy
Indoors under the right conditions, this fast-growing vine can sprawl out an impressive eight to ten feet with four-inch leaves. Thsi best indoor plant does very well in a range of soil conditions as long as they’re dry, and you’ll need either indirect light or bright artificial light to help the plant keep its coloring. If it’s too far in the shade, it’ll turn a duller green. This plant tolerates drought very well, so if you forget to water it, it will bounce back relatively quickly. You can train it to climb around your home, or it’ll trail along the floor.
11. Dracaena Janet Craig
Dracaena is another beginner-friendly houseplant that likes medium indirect sunlight, and it does well in low lighting. You should water this best indoor plant deeply, but only water it when 75% of the topsoil is dry. They don’t do well if the temperature falls below 55°F, but they need very little fertilizer to grow. They have very large, upright leaves in a lush green coloring, and this plant is toxic to both people and animals so you want to keep it away from any pets or kids when you have it indoors. It’s also very sensitive to the chlorine and fluoride in tap water, so it should get distilled water only.
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12. Dragon Tree
This is a very slow-growing best indoor plant that can get up to six feet tall indoors. They can take over five years to grow to their mature height, and the leaves come in three colors ranging from dark red to yellow stripes. You have to train the stem of this tree to grow upwards, and the stems have a grey-brown bark that can sprout smaller trees from it. You do have to prune them regularly to keep them growing in a single direction. It likes bright light with slightly moist soil, slightly lower humidity levels, and temperatures from the mid-60s to low 70s. If you forget to water it for months, it’ll bounce back.
13. Dumb Cane
This is a poisonous house plant that has leaves coated with calcium oxalate crystals that will cause your mouth to get swollen if you eat them. They have a nice balance of yellow and green on the leaves, and they have very broad leaves that grow up and fan out. This best indoor plant prefers light shade with indirect light, and deep watering before being allowed to dry out. You should fertilize them monthly during the warmer months, and you want to keep the humidity levels high. Avoid cold drafts with this plant, and try to keep the temperature between 60 and 80°F.
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14. Dwarf Date Palm
The Dwarf Date Palm is a single-trunk best indoor plant that grows very slowly up to seven feet tall. It can take up to seven years to reach the mature height, and this plant gives you graceful arching fronds that can grow up to three feet long. They have featherly and slim leaves in bright green coloring. They need indirect but bright sunlight, and they like to dry out between watering sessions. Your soil should be a well-draining mix, and you want to lightly fertilize it a few times a year. Don’t let the temperatures fall below 50°F because this can stunt the plant’s growth or lead to damage.
15. Elephant Ear
Elephant ear plants are a bold and tropical species that grows very large leaves on thin stalks, and they can have red, yellow, or purple hues against a deep green coloring. You could start them in a smaller self-watering pot before repotting them in a larger one as they grow. You can grow them in full sun, but they prefer partial shade. You can water this best indoor sparingly when you notice the top layers going dry, and applying a slow-release fertilizer once or twice a year is a good idea. They can’t survive in colder conditions outside, and they go dormant in the colder weather before coming up again in the spring.
16. English Ivy
English Ivy is an evergreen perennial plant, and they can climb up 80 feet due to having aerial rootlets, and they can spread out horizontally and reach eight inches high. This best indoor plant produces green-tinged flowers with pretty green leaves. They need partial to full shade, and this makes them great houseplants. They bloom in the fall, and they like moist and fertile soil that is neutral or slightly alkaline. The soil should stay slightly on the dry side, and they can grow in a temperature range starting at 45°F and going up to 80°F. They grow well in hanging baskets, and you should repot them every year.
The Ficus is technically a weeping fig, and they’re one of the more finicky best indoor plants on the list. They give you a tree-like shape that grows well in bright but indirect or filtered sunlight. They require temperatures to stay above 60°F, and a cold draft can kill them. You’ll need a tray with pebbles and water under the plant to keep the humidity levels up, and they like moist soil that drains well and has a rich makeup. You should fertilize them once a month to support their rapid growth rates, and you get a stem with a bark-like appearance with smaller green leaves that have a sheen to them that makes the plant look fake.
The fittonia made the best indoor plant list due to their deep green foliage with delicate veins that create a striking look. They can grow between three to six inches high, but they develop a trailing spread of 12 to 18 inches. This is a temperamental plant that requires partial shade or indirect sun, moist and well-draining soil, and slightly acidic soil. They rarely bloom indoors, but the traditional bloom time is in the early autumn months. The temperatures should range from 60 to 80°F to help ensure healthy and consistent growth.
19. Flamingo Lily
This best indoor plant has waxy leaves in a bold red hue, and they can easily bloom all year-round to add a splash of color to your home. They require bright but indirect sunlight to grow, and they like their soil moist. You can use rainwater to keep them happy, and they like soil that drains really well to prevent root rot. It has a preference for high humidity levels, so you may have to set it in pebbles with water to boost the immediate humidity levels in the air. The temperature can’t drop below 58°F at night or it’ll damage the plant, but the bright flowers offset beautifully with the deep green foliage.
20. Gerbera Daisy
You can grow this best indoor plant from seeds, division, or seedlings. They need a lot of sunlight to do well, but they provide you with bright pops of colors ranging from pink and orange to bright yellow and red. You want to water them lightly in the morning hours and allow the leaves to dry out during the day to prevent fungal infections, and you can enhance how they grow by using a liquid fertilizer with fish emulsion.
21. Kimberly Queen Fern
This best indoor plant has very straight and thin appearances with deep green fronds. You can grow it by itself in a large pot, or you can companion plant it with other shade-loving plants. This plant does very well with high humidity levels and medium light. You should fertilize it once or twice a year at the most, and it does best in moist but well-draining soil. This plant is also very easy to grow and propagate, and this makes it popular with novice growers.
22. King of Hearts
The King of Hearts is one of the best indoor plants because it’s sun and heat-tolerant, and it will forgive you if you don’t have your growing conditions 100% correct. It’ll grow eight to ten inches tall and up to twelve inches wide, and it features blue-green feathery leaves with pops of bright pink flowers. It loves partial shade with humus-rich soil, and you should apply a thin layer of compost each spring to keep it healthy.
23. Lemon Button Fern
This is one of the best indoor plants with a beautiful lemon coloring, and it will give you a lemon scent during the active growing months while being safe for your pets. They like loose soil with peat moss mixed in to help retain water, and they can thrive in bright light to low light conditions without a problem. This plant likes very damp environments, so it’s difficult to over water it if you have loose soil.
This is a showy but durable best indoor plant has spiky, deep green foliage with small purple flowers. It needs partial sun to grow, and it’ll gradually spread out from the pot if you don’t keep a close eye on it. It reaches between 10 to 16 inches tall and it can spread wider. It likes loamy or clay-like soil, and you want to water it a lot until it establishes a root system. Once it does, it’ll tolerate drought, and you want to cut it back in the fall to encourage new growth in the spring.
25. Money Plant
The Money Plant or Money Tree is very popular for adding a splash of the tropics to your home. It requires bright but indirect light to grow, and this best indoor plant does well under bright fluorescent lighting. It likes very deep by infrequent watering, and it likes a relatively high amount of humidity. You should feed it once a month during the active season, but this plant likes to stay in the same place. Moving it around a lot can cause it to wilt or even die if it gets stressed enough. It’s also safe for pets.
26. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
This best indoor plant wins the prize for one of the most tolerant species out there, and this makes it perfect for beginners. They can survive low light, drought, and general neglect for weeks at a time. You should place them in an area of indirect light and water them once every week or two. They need a general-purpose fertilizer, and they can grow from eight inches to twelve feet high. They’re slow-growing, and they have deep green with light green highlights on their leaves.
27. Moth Orchid
This type of orchid grows best in a free-draining mix of bark and soil, and this means that you have to really water them often to keep it from drying out. You can set the orchid in a tray of pebbles with water to increase the humidity during the winter, and they need bright indirect sunlight. Feed them a water-soluble fertilizer for orchids, and the temperature should drop between 10 to 15 degrees at night for the best growing conditions.
Moth orchids are one of the easiest species to grow, and you can get them to bloom multiple times with little effort.
28. Parlor Palm
This pet-friendly best indoor plant thrives in indirect, medium sunlight but can tolerate low indirect sunlight. You should water it once every one to two weeks and let it dry out between watering, and it can grow between two and six feet tall and two to three feet wide. It needs a slightly acidic soil, and it can bloom with yellow flowers in the spring. It needs a peaty, well-drained potting mix in a slightly larger pot.
29. Peace Lily
This best indoor plant has lush dark green leaves with white flowers, and it can grow to be quite large. They need medium to low lighting, and it’s better to underwater them than it is to over water them, so you’ll only need a small watering can to complete the job. You can fertilize once or twice a year, and it’s a good idea to divide them when you repot them every two or three years.
This beste indoor plant is very good at telling you exactly what it needs to thrive. They require bright but indirect sunlight, and you should let the top inch of soil dry out between watering. Feed them a liquid fertilizer every month, and repot them when you notice them getting too big for their current pot. They have large leaves with long stems.
31. Pineapple Plant
You may find it surprising that the pineapple plant makes the list for the best indoor plants to clean the air. This plant wants as much light as you can give it, just like a cacti. The soil should stay evenly moist at all times to mimic a tropic environment, and it likes high humidity levels. Plant it in a cactus or succulent soil to ensure it drains well.
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This best indoor plant likes bright sunlight, and it does well in a south, west, or east window. Keep the soil moist, and keep the plant in a temperature-stable area. Fertilize your plant with an all-purpose mix, and transplant it in a bigger container in the early summer months.
Popular around Christmas time, Poinsettias have a very festive look and feel with deep red flowers and waxy leaves. You can get them dyed blue and purple too.
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33. Rubber Plant
Rubber plants require well-draining soil, but they can grow to very large sizes with the correct growing conditions in raised planter boxes. This best indoor plant likes a lot of bright, indirect light. You should keep it moist in the summer and wipe the leaves off with a damp cloth to get rid of the dust. Fertilize it during the growing season once a month, and prune away any dead leaves.
34. Spider Plant
This tough best indoor plant tolerates a lot of abuse without a problem, and it’ll start developing flowers each spring that you can use to propagate new plants. They require indirect but bright light, well-draining soil, and a semi-potbound environment.
35. Warneck Dracaena
The final entry on the best indoor plant list is Warneck Dracena. This is a slow-growing plant that does very well if you neglect it, and it likes low lighting with light watering. The soil should dry out between watering sessions, and you should fertilize it once or twice a year.
These 35 best indoor plants that clean the air and remove toxins can make an attractive addition to your home or office. Pick one or pick a few to grow. They’re mostly low-maintenance, easy to grow, and perfect for beginners. As a bonus, you’ll get cleaner air that’s safer to breathe.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.