Topping our list is the peace lily or Spathiphyllum, and here’s why. According to NASA’s Clean Air Study (1989), this plant (a member of the Araceae family) effectively absorbs harsh chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and ammonia from the air. Besides the lance-shaped leaves, the plant’s most defining feature is undoubtedly its flower. This easy-to-maintain plant thrives best in moist soil—don’t overwater it—and in well-lit areas with partial sunlight.
Tip: Place it on a centre table for maximum benefit and where it’s visible for all to see and admire.
Known by a number of names—most common of which is mother-in-law’s tongue—the snake plant is credited with removing about four to five toxins from the air. Easy to distinguish—look out for its long narrow and spiky leaves—it comes in a number of varieties. While it isn’t the most visually appealing of the lot, it is the hardiest, and is best suited to a space that receives filtered or partial light. The plant is easy to propagate in soil or water—cut the leaf into two-inch pieces and immerse some of them in a glass filled with water and the others in soil. Within 30 days, they will have grown healthy roots indicating that they are ready to be replanted.
Tip: Owing to the height of the leaves, place the plant on the floor in your living room or even bedroom.
The humble money plant a.k.a. pothos and devil’s ivy is possibly the most underrated plant of all. By far the easiest to grow—you can grow it in water or soil—this vine is the most forgiving of all and adapts itself to any kind of environment. Simply put, you could grow it anywhere—a sunny corner or a spot that receives little light—however, the amount of sun exposure is known to affect the variegations on its leaves. This plant is also known to absorb benzene, xylene, formaldehyde and touline. It’s also easy to propagate; a new shoot or cutting can be grown in water or soil.
Tip: Commonly seen on office desks, you can even place it at a height (on a cupboard, book shelf or hang it in your balcony) and watch it cascade down beautifully.