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The five best plants  for the office or home

In the list underneath you find 5 plants which are tested for their ecological benefits. These plants have been researched and graded with a total of 50 plants according to ease of growth and maintenance, resistance to pests, efficiency at removing chemical vapours, and transpiration rates. Each plant has been given an overall rating, based on its score in each category. Those plants with the highest rating are listed first.

Areca Palm


Also known as yellow palm or butterfly palm, the areca palm is one of the most popular and graceful palms. It is tolerant of the indoor environment, releases copious amounts of moisture into the air, removes chemical toxins, and is also beautiful to look at. The areca is consistently rated among the best indoor plants for removing all indoor air toxins tested. This plant can be kept best in semi-sun.


Lady Palm

This large palm has fans 6 – 12 inch wide that consist of between four and ten thick, shiny leaves. Lady Palm is one of the easiest indoor plants to care for and is highly resistant to attack by most plant insects. It is also one of the best plants for improving indoor air quality. It grows slowly and is easy to maintain. This plant can be kept best in semi-sun.


Bamboo Palm                                                

Most members of the palm family are easy to care for and continue to be popular indoor plants. The bamboo palm is no exception and is a long-standing favourite in homes and commercial establishments. In terms of its atmospheric benefits, the bamboo palm has an excellent overall rating and one of the highest transpiration ratings. It pumps much needed moisture into the indoor atmosphere, especially during winter months when heating systems dry the air. This palm is also one of the top-rated plants tested for the removal of benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. This plant can be kept best in semi-sun.


Rubber Plant

Bred for toughness, it will survive in less light than most plants of its size. It will tolerate dim light and cool temperatures. This plant is easy to grow and is especially effective at removing formaldehyde. It receives high marks in all categories and is an excellent overall indoor plant. Of the ficus plants tested to date, the rubber plant is the best for removing chemical toxins from the indoor environment. This plant can be kept best in semi-sun and semi-shade.


Dracaena Janet Craig

The dark-green leaves of dracaena “Janet Graig” make it a most attractive plant. It is one of the best plants for removing trichloroethylene. These plants can tolerate neglect and dimly lit environments. This plant can be kept best in semi-shade and will tolerate dimly lit areas, but growth will be slow.

Source: How to grow fresh air: 50 indoor plants that purify your home or office. B.C. Wolverton. Penguin Books, 1996.