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Best House Plants that will Purify the Air in your NYC Apartment


While house plants in NYC are great additions to your apartment. They can add to your aesthetic, give the room a natural feel, or simply provide something to take care of (other than yourself and that growing pile of laundry.)

But did you know plants can also purify the air you breathe?

As all urbanites unfortunately know, clean air can be a luxury. Here’s how to use your apartment as a vacation from the subway station, with the help of a few handy house plants in NYC.

The Chinese Evergreen


How Does a Chinese Evergreen Purify The Air?

The Chinese evergreen is known for its cancer fighting properties. It absorbs carbon dioxide and other toxins, including formaldehyde and benzene. According to Smart Home and Garden, organic pollutants run in levels two to five times higher indoors than they do outside.

Benzene, in particular, is linked to Leukemia and other blood-based cancers. It is a flammable, odorless liquid that is emitted from many dyes, detergents, and pesticides. (For a better list of benzene sources in your home, click here.) Most people are exposed to the chemical through work or in their own living rooms. It is especially connected to plastic, which already has its own list of other harmful side effects on yourself and the planet.

A Chinese evergreen is a great choice for purifying the air you breathe daily. In fact, the houseplant is listed as an air purifier by none other than NASA!


How to Care for Your Chinese Evergreen

The Chinese evergreen is actually relatively easy to care for. The main component is light conditions, which should be adjusted depending on the shade of the plant itself. Have some leaves that are lighter in color? Ensure they receive brighter light. (Still ensure it is never in direct sunlight, as that can have harmful results.)

Water your plant well, when needed, and do so again when the soil has gone dry. It is necessary in the Spring, Summer, and Fall– and should be done about once a week.

Use a humidifier to replicate a greenhouse-type environment for your Chinese evergreen. Mist it here and there when possible.

Be warned– your Chinese evergreen is toxic for dogs and cats.

The Baby Rubber Plant

Peperomia Obtusifolia

How Does a Baby Rubber Plant Purify The Air?

Any plant in the ‘rubber family’ will do an excellent job purifying the air in your apartment. It absorbs most toxic chemicals with ease, and its small size allows you to have multiple of its kind placed comfortably in any room.

It’s known to combat most chemicals released from various household cleaners– stuff we breathe in daily, unintentionally and often without even knowing they’re there.

How To Take Care of Your Baby Rubber Plant

Baby rubber plants are perfect for those with average experience in houseplant care.

Soil enriched with orchid bark and perlite are optimal for Baby Rubber Plants.

Water your baby rubber plant once to twice a week, and make sure it’s placed under filtered/indirect sunlight.

The Spider Plant

Chlorophytum comosum

How Does a Spider Plant Purify The Air?

The spider plant is easily a top pick for air purification. Your living space deserves better than to be ridden with chemicals and toxins.

Spider plants attack formaldehyde, a dangerous gas that’s sourced from cigarette smoke, recently dry-cleaned clothes, synthetic carpet, and even fingernail polish. These spindly friends absorb these toxins into their leaves, effectively cleaning the air you breathe on a daily basis.

They are also known to eradicate the carbon monoxide from your gas stove or fireplace. Not only are they cool to look at, they’re improving your quality of life!

How To Take Care of a Spider Plant

Spider plants are often used as hanging plants, due to their unique appearance and long, slender leaves. Whether it’s grown on a table top or swinging from your ceiling, spider plants have a few basic needs to stay healthy.

They need to be watered relatively regularly; once to twice a week on average. While they only require indirect sunlight, too little sunlight can cause the plants to droop, and too much can make them fade. They don’t need to be fertilized, however fertilizing them properly can cause small white flowers to bloom.

The Snake Plant

Dracaena Trifasciata

How Does a Snake Plant Purify The Air?

Snake plants work similarly to the Chinese evergreen; purging your air of harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene. It absorbs the toxins into its leaves, without any damage done to the plant itself.

Just like the Chinese evergreen, the snake plant was also listed as a certified “air purifier” by Nasa. Snake plants work through “reverse photosynthesis”, meaning they release oxygen overnight as opposed to carbon dioxide. You’ll wake up breathing (and feeling) a whole lot better.

How to Take Care of A Snake Plant

As far as house plants in NYC go, the snake plant couldn’t be any more low maintenance for busy New Yorkers with little time for coddling their greenery. Snake plants are also perfect for those just beginning to nurture their green thumb. They require little to no care (although we don’t recommend neglect.)

Leave the plant in indirect sunlight, watering once a month in the winter and as needed in the warmer months.

Use a classic potting mix, available at all stores where plants are sold, and fertilize during the spring and summer. Make sure to prune the plant, removing any dead growth to keep the vegetation healthy.

The Peace Lily


How Does a Peace Lily Purify The Air?

Peace lilies are positively gorgeous; blooming in the spring with tall, striking flowers. However, it’s not only their looks that are appealing to apartment dwellers. In addition to their aesthetic appeal, Peace lilies excel at cleaning the air around you.

They can be placed next to your various tech–such as computers, televisions, and microwaves to absorb any radiation. So they’re perfect for those with ‘smart homes’ that need a bit of healthy breathing room!

How To Take Care of a Peace Lily

In the summer months, peace lilies can be grown indoors or outdoors and require an average level of plant raising skill.

Keep their soil moderately moist, and the temperature relatively consistent to ensure healthy growth.

Ensure your peace lily has access to indirect or filtered sunlight–and water your plant less than you might think you need to. With peace lilies, less is more. As such, only water them when they’re bone-dry, making sure the liquid doesn’t reach over an inch beneath the soil’s surface.

Devil’s Ivy

Epipremnum aureum

How Does Devil’s Ivy Purify The Air?

Devil’s ivy is a durable plant, able to survive practically anywhere in your apartment. It’s a super absorber, known to tackle a plethora of toxins with incredible strength. It combats the classics, such as formaldehyde and benzene, as well as toluene and xylene to boot.

Toluene and Xylene are strong chemical compounds, used in household cleaners, paint, rubber, and wood stains. Therefore you’ve got all the more reason to stock your apartment with air purifying devil’s ivy and minimize the risk of toxic inhalation.

How To Take Care of Devil’s Ivy

Not exactly an experienced plant parent? No-sweat devil’s ivy is a perfect purchase for beginners. (But be warned–these plants can grow upwards of forty feet in length!)

Ensure your plant is not in total shade or direct sunlight, as either of these can be harmful for its survival. Water as often as your plant needs in the summer and spring, and fertilize only during the growing season.

English Ivy

Hedera helix

Does English Ivy Purify the Air?

English ivy is a fantastic option for cleaning your air, and looks beautiful doing so. The plant is an evergreen, in the perennial family, and grows quickly–purifying a larger space.

English ivies are known for absorbing ‘V.O.C.s’, which stands for volatile organic compounds. Volatile organic compounds are likely more present in your home than you realize. They are used in the composition of paints, certain pharmaceuticals, cleaning supplies, and more. This plant is ideal for homes where any one of those objects are present. Start the journey towards better air quality with a simple, leafy home addition.

How To Take Care of an English Ivy

While English ivy is typically grown outdoors, they can absolutely be kept in the home.

To take care of your new plant pal, keep them in full or partial shade. If grown indoors, the summertime is the only time for indirect sunlight (and a good amount of it.)

Make sure the evergreen is grown in well-drained soil, choose a looser potting mix for apartment style living.

English ivy enjoys warmer temperatures, ranging from seventy to ninety degrees when possible. (Don’t worry–your ivy won’t die under a little AC.)

Why is It Important to Purify Air in Your Home?

While you can’t control the quality of air outside your apartment door. However, you can take active steps in your home. Here’s an article on the value of breathing clean air for your health and happiness.

Clean air can help fight against symptoms of asthma and allergies, improve your digestion, and even fight against symptoms of depression. (Yes, it’s true! The enzymes responsible for producing serotonin are heavily dependent on oxygen intake. The cleaner your intake, the better you’ll feel.)

Purchasing the proper plant is all it takes to start down the journey toward purer air. Start the journey toward finding the perfect sill to put them by contacting a real estate expert at NewDevRev.

Where to Purchase House Plants in NYC

While you’re at it, find the perfect NYC apartment to go with your perfect NYC house plants today!