Did you know that plants will purify the air in your home or office?
NASA tested the ability of various houseplants to absorb chemicals in the late 1980’s as a response to the need for astronauts to be in an enclosed space for a length of time. More recent tests suggest that if air is passed through the roots of the plant, the results are more effective. But having a selection of healthy plants indoors will be quite beneficial to any environment.
Many plants will absorb formadehyde, benzene and trichloroethylenes from furniture and finishes in the room, and keep on producing oxygen. A side benefit of the presence of plants in the room is that ill or depressed people are more calm, and may even heal faster.
Here are some of the best:
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis)
(Areca Palm is also good)
Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica)
English Ivy (Hedera)
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
Golden Pothos (Epipremnum)
Update: Here is an article from August, 2010 describing further research on plants that clean the air
Watch this TED Talk to see how Areca Palms, Sansevieria and Pothos changed an ordinary office building into the healthiest building in New Delhi.
A helpful list of air-filtering plants on Wikipedia
Houseplants for Health, an article in GardenCenter Magazine.