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10 Best Air Purifying House Plants UK 2023 | Interior Designer Reviewed

As plants photosynthesise, they absorb carbon dioxide and release fresh oxygen into the air, but air-purifying plants go one step further. They can actually absorb harmful chemicals often found in the home, making the air that we breathe inside much cleaner. Whether you're looking for full-foliage plants for your bedroom or succulents that thrive in low-lit bathrooms, there are heaps of options to choose from. 


In this guide, we'll discuss the main points to consider whilst shopping, including checking whether the plant is safe for cats, dogs and babies. We'll also share our top ten air-purifying plants to buy in the UK. Moreover, we have partnered with interior designer Belen Dakak for reviewing and fact-checking the article to deliver you the best information.

Last updated 29/01/2023
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Fact-Checked & Approved by Interior Designer Belen Dakak

Fact-Checked & Approved by Interior Designer Belen Dakak

Belen is an interior designer (residential and retail design), having worked for top retail brands including Estee Lauder, Seasalt and John Lewis, as well as working with private clients on residential projects and RoomLab, an online interior design platform.


Belen is also a landscape garden designer with an RHS Level 2 in Principles and Practical Horticulture.

How to Choose an Air-Purifying Plant in the UK

Key Points to Consider
  1. Verify That It Can Absorb Common Household Toxins Such As Xylene and Benzene
  2. Select a Plant That Is Adaptable to the Conditions That You Can Provide
  3. If You Have Pets, Choose Leafy Greens That Are Safe for Them, Such As Spider Plants, Areca and Bamboo Palms.
1

Check if It Absorbs Common Household Toxins Such as Xylene and Benzene

Check if It Absorbs Common Household Toxins Such as Xylene and Benzene

First on the list, check which toxins each specific plant species absorbs. Many will be able to fight off common household toxins such as xylene (often found in paint or cigarette smoke), benzene (found in furniture wax, paints, varnish and carpeting), formaldehyde (often seen in glues, paints detergents, floor lacquers and certain moulded plastics), trichloroethylene (commonly used in cleaning products) and toulene (paints).


If you have any wood-burning stoves, tumble dryers or gas stoves, it might also be worth looking at plants that remove toxins in carbon monoxide. Other plants protect the air from toxins found in ammonia – which can enter the atmosphere if you have cat litter boxes or use glass or window cleaning products. 


Alongside your new green leafy purifier, why not consider an actual air purifier for even cleaner air?

2

Choose a Plant That Suits the Conditions You Can Provide

Choose a Plant That Suits the Conditions You Can Provide

Choose Subtropical Air-Purifying Plants if You Want Them to Thrive in Low-Lit Environments

One of the first things to think about when it comes to conditions a plant needs is light. If you have a sunshine-flooded, south-facing flat that receives streams of direct sunlight, you shouldn't have too much of a problem. 


For people living in small apartments that only get sun in a couple of rooms, you need to choose your plants a little more carefully. If in doubt, always choose plants that can thrive in low-lit environments. A good rule of thumb is to go for plants that originate from subtropical climates. These have learnt to cope in conditions sheltered from the sun by taller trees and canopies, so will do well indoors without much direct sun.

If You're Time-Starved, Pick a Plant That Requires Minimal Maintenance

Some air-purifying plants, such as the Elephant Ear, require extremely precise conditions to flourish. They need a decent amount of light, the perfect amount of humidity and need to be misted regularly – but only a little – the leaves cannot be wet! You also need to ensure that they have protection from pests and wipe their leaves regularly.


If you can't provide this type of heavy maintenance, stick to an easier plant such as Pothos. Nicknamed Devil's Ivy, this plant has earned its name through its hardy ability to withstand almost any conditions. Overwatering, underwatering, near pitch-black lighting conditions – and it still manages to thrive! Pothos is a perfect choice for people who don't have much spare time.


The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) also recommends the following easy care houseplants, though no plants will tolerate a site of complete darkness like a windowless room, as they need daylight to produce food for themselves: Sanseviera (will tolerate some drought, hapin the sunsun or part shade, grow in low humidity and need well-drained compost).


Spathiphyllum (tolerates bright light through to full shade, happy in average room temperatures, and tolerant of lower relative humidity) and Philodendron (Tolerant of lower relative humidity grows well in shade or brighter light, happy on average room temperatures and tolerant if under-watered occasionally).

If You Plan to Place the Plant in a Kitchen or Bathroom, Select a Specie That Can Withstand Humid Environments Such as Calathea, Air Plants and Monsteras

Plants look wonderful in bathrooms and kitchens. They brighten up the room by adding a bit of colour to a generally white-based theme. That said, if you plan on placing your plant here, you need to make sure it can withstand humid environments.


Species such as Calathea, Air Plants and Monsteras are perfect for steamy bathrooms, as do Boston Fern, as they love humid conditions and are one of the best for absorbing moisture. Snake Plants are also a good choice as they are exceptionally hardy and can thrive in any level of humidity. Due to the regular steam in the bathroom, you shouldn't need to mist them either! 


Calm your senses and get a dose of aromatherapy without going to the spa with our best essential oil diffusers!

3

If You Own Pets, Go for Leafy Greens That Are Safe Like Spider Plants, Areca Palms and Bamboo Palms

If You Own Pets, Go for Leafy Greens That Are Safe Like Spider Plants, Areca Palms and Bamboo Palms

One essential point to remember is that not all plants are safe for animals. Cats, in particular, seem to enjoy pawing at the soil or trying to climb plants with large leaves. So if you have any pets, make sure the plant you are buying is non-toxic and safe for them to investigate.


That, unfortunately, rules out many of the uber-exotic looking greens like Alocasia or Fig Leaf, but there is still a huge range of leafy greens to choose from that are 100% safe. Some species that are pet-friendly are Spider Plants, Areca Palms, Bamboo Palms and Boston Ferns.


Check out these non-toxic candles to get your space smelling good and looking cosy.

Was the Buying Guide helpful?

10 Best Air-Purifying Plants in the UK

This ranking has been compiled by the writing team at mybest UK via careful evaluation of the points made in the buying guide and thorough research of each product and comparing multiple verified customer reviews across the EC sites used.
Popularity
Products
Image
Click to purchase
Key features
1

Bryncir Garden Centre

Devil's IvyScindapsus aureus

Bryncir Garden Centre Devil's Ivy 1枚目

More Difficult to Kill Than to Keep Alive

2

The GardenersDream Store

Aloe VeraAloe barbadensis miller

The GardenersDream Store Aloe Vera 1枚目

The Medicinal Plant That Also Removes Toxins

3

Garden Market Place

Madagascar Dragon TreeDracaena marginata

Garden Market Place Madagascar Dragon Tree 1枚目

A Flash of Red to Clear the Air in a Big, Open Space

4

The Bakker Store

Ivy Climbing PlantHedera Helix Wonder

The Bakker Store Ivy Climbing Plant 1枚目

Climbing English Ivy to Combat Toxins and Purify the Bathroom

5

botanicly

Mother in Laws TongueSansevaria

botanicly Mother in Laws Tongue 1枚目

The Hardy Snake Plant for the Bedroom

6

The GardenersDream Store

Areca PalmLutescens

The GardenersDream Store Areca Palm 1枚目

Big, Bushy Air-Purifying Plant for Large Spaces

7

The GardenersDream Store

Peace LilySpathiphyllum

The GardenersDream Store Peace Lily 1枚目

A Popular Plant for Those With Little Experience

8

The GardenersDream Store

Chinese EvergreenAglaonema Maria Christina

The GardenersDream Store Chinese Evergreen 1枚目

A Not-So-Fussy Air-Purifier for Hanging Baskets

9

The GardenersDream Store

Rubber PlantFicus Robusta

The GardenersDream Store Rubber Plant 1枚目

A Striking Plant for a Well-Lit Apartment

10

The Bakker Store

Weeping FigFicus Danielle

The Bakker Store Weeping Fig 1枚目

A Tall Indoor Plant That Requires Extra Maintenance

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

Bryncir Garden CentreDevil's IvyScindapsus aureus

Devil's Ivy Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£19.99
Reference price
£19.99

More Difficult to Kill Than to Keep Alive

Known as both Devil's Ivy and Golden Pothos this sizeable waxy-leafed plant is a great one for beginners. It thrives under even the most unsuitable conditions, such as extremely low light and over-watered or underwatered soil. They do like moisture, so they do especially well in a bathroom.


Pothos reduces most common household toxins such as xylene, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. This is also a great choice if you want a bright climbing plant that will weave its way across beams or along high shelves. Apparently, it's harder to actually kill this plant than it is to keep it alive. Bonus: this one comes in a hanging pot!

Was this Ranking helpful?
No.2

The GardenersDream StoreAloe VeraAloe barbadensis miller

Aloe Vera Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£12.99
Reference price
£12.99

The Medicinal Plant That Also Removes Toxins

Aloe Vera is one of those wonder-plants that we think should have a place in every home. As well as protecting the air quality by reducing toxins, Aloe Vera is also medicinal. Cut open the leaves, and you'll find a cooling gel with anti-inflammatory properties that can be applied topically to cool sunburn and heal wounds.


These plants work to purify the air of formaldehyde and benzene, which is commonly found in detergents and varnishes. They prefer a warm, well-lit spot too, making them an overall top choice for brightening up your kitchen windowsill. 

No.3

Garden Market PlaceMadagascar Dragon TreeDracaena marginata

Madagascar Dragon Tree Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£17.29
Reference price
£17.29

A Flash of Red to Clear the Air in a Big, Open Space

Dracaenas are another one that can grow to incredible heights. Repotted and provided with its optimum growing conditions, a Dracaena can reach up to 15 feet tall! This makes them a must-have if you're decorating a big, open space. 


Preferring indirect sunlight, this plant is suitable for most homes, and it has a nice red finish to its leaves which adds an unusual flash of colour. It works well at filtering the three main household toxins, xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, and it doesn't require much water at all – just a little misting.

No.4

The Bakker StoreIvy Climbing PlantHedera Helix Wonder

Reference price
£13.49
Reference price
£13.49

Climbing English Ivy to Combat Toxins and Purify the Bathroom

English Ivy has long been touted as one of the best houseplants for air purifying. It's often found crawling outside walls, but they also grow exceptionally well indoors. They prefer a more cramped existence, so you don't need to re-pot them at all and they can be left growing in a small container for years.


As well as combatting toxins, English Ivy has been shown to help reduce mould levels and airborne faecal particles in the air, making them a great addition to the bathroom. English Ivy is a thirsty plant, though, and requires a good amount of watering and sunlight.

No.5

botaniclyMother in Laws TongueSansevaria

Mother in Laws Tongue Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£12.99
Reference price
£12.99

The Hardy Snake Plant for the Bedroom

There's a reason why Mother-in-Laws Tongues (also known as Snake Plants) can be seen in almost every Instagrammer's posts – they're one of the hardiest houseplants around. They can thrive in virtually any lighting conditions and they even release oxygen at night, making this a great plant to place in the bedroom for a good night's sleep.


This is an excellent choice for forgetful plant parents, as they do well in dry conditions – just make sure not to overwater them. They are brilliant at reducing toxins like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, and xylene. 

No.6

The GardenersDream StoreAreca PalmLutescens

Areca Palm Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£12.99
Reference price
£12.99

Big, Bushy Air-Purifying Plant for Large Spaces

If you're looking for something a bit more substantial, bushy and dramatic, try an Areca Palm. These are excellent for big, open, white spaces and they're also fairly easy to look after, requiring just a couple of watering sessions each week during summer and a bit less during winter.


One of the Areca Plants' best qualities is that they are completely safe for cats, dogs, and babies, so you don't need to worry about protecting them against prying fingers or paws. They are also one of the best plants for removing toxins in the air.

No.7

The GardenersDream StorePeace LilySpathiphyllum

Peace Lily Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£8.99
Reference price
£8.99

A Popular Plant for Those With Little Experience

Peace Lilies are also an excellent choice if you haven't yet grown your green thumbs! They are really easy to look after, just needing the occasional water and a bit of fertiliser to bring in those lovely white flowers. 


Peace Lilies are very popular for their beautiful appearance, as well as the fact they help to remove the usual household toxins, including carbon monoxide, which can contaminate the air when using wood burners, gas stoves and dryers. They are, however, harmful to animals, so make sure to keep them well out of reach.

No.8

The GardenersDream StoreChinese EvergreenAglaonema Maria Christina

Chinese Evergreen Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£14.99
Reference price
£14.99

A Not-So-Fussy Air-Purifier for Hanging Baskets

Chinese Evergreens are one of the easiest house plants to keep alive, making them great for newbie plant parents! They can live in most conditions, whether dry, moist, sunny or shaded, but they really thrive in humid conditions. They do, however, require decent well-draining soil. 


This makes them an ideal option for placing in hanging baskets in the kitchen or bathroom. When it comes to toxins, Chinese Evergreens do well to eliminate formaldehyde, xylene and benzene in the air, which is commonly found in cosmetics and detergents.

No.9

The GardenersDream StoreRubber PlantFicus Robusta

Rubber Plant Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£12.99
Reference price
£12.99

A Striking Plant for a Well-Lit Apartment

Originating from India, Rubber Plants thrive in bright light, so they're best kept in areas that receive a decent amount of sunlight. Apart from the regular watering, they don't require much maintenance, so they are easy to keep alive. 


This plant has a striking look and keeps its healthy appearance with minimal effort; it's also meant to be one of the best for cleansing the air of toxins. It is, however, poisonous to animals, so we wouldn't suggest this one if you have pets at home. 

No.10

The Bakker StoreWeeping FigFicus Danielle

Reference price
£31.99
Reference price
£31.99

A Tall Indoor Plant That Requires Extra Maintenance

The Weeping Fig plant is beautiful, but it does require a bit of extra maintenance, including the need for the soil to be thoroughly dried out in between its weekly waterings. It can reach highs of 10 feet tall, so make sure you have enough room for it to grow. They also don't like change, so try not to move it about too much.


This plant thrives best when in direct sunlight, so you will need to ensure that you can provide these consistent conditions if you want the plant to reach its full potential. Like many other air-purifying plants, this one reduces formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene toxins in the air.

What Are Air-Purifying Plants, and Do They Actually Work?

What Are Air-Purifying Plants, and Do They Actually Work?

We all know that plants are good for us. As our science lessons taught us, they keep our air clean by recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen. That's why we often have a higher sense of wellbeing, clarity and focus when we're around plants – our oxygen levels have been topped up. But air-purifying plants do one better.


NASA did a study in 1989, which proved that certain plants are able to reduce toxins in the air like formaldehyde and benzene. This is especially important in this day and age when we dress our houses in chemical-laden paints and treated vinyl floors, as well as cleaning with highly toxic products.


By placing even just a few air-purifying plants in each room, you can detoxify the space and improve the air quality. This benefits our mental health, concentration levels, productivity, quality of sleep and can even help you recover from illnesses quicker. Why wouldn't you take in a couple of our green-leafed friends?!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Plants Does It Take to Purify the Air in a Room?

While it is difficult to quantify the exact number of plants required to purify indoor air, we recommend at least two healthy plants for every 100 square feet (9.3 square metres) of space. The larger and leafier the plant, the better it is at purifying more air. 

Do Indoor Plants Increase Oxygen?

Yes. Through photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. But the amount of oxygen it can release depends heavily on environmental factors, mainly the amount of light it receives. When plants do not enough light to photosynthesise, they start absorbing oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide instead.


Written and researched by Roxy Pratley

Top 5 Air Purifying House Plants

No. 1: Bryncir Garden CentreDevil's IvyScindapsus aureus

No. 2: The GardenersDream StoreAloe VeraAloe barbadensis miller

No. 3: Garden Market PlaceMadagascar Dragon TreeDracaena marginata

No. 4: The Bakker StoreIvy Climbing PlantHedera Helix Wonder

No. 5: botaniclyMother in Laws TongueSansevaria

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The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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