Skip to main content

Which plants absorb the most carbon dioxide? Here are 4 air-cleaning plants to add to your home

Easy-care houseplants that will cleanse the air in your home

It doesn’t matter if you live in the city or out on a homestead; clean air in our homes is something we all want. While using air filters and opening up windows are great ways to keep your air fresh and clean, sometimes they just aren’t options. To get you started on cleaning up the air in your home, we’ll be talking about the plants you can use to improve the quality of your air and the aesthetics of your space. Keep reading to learn which plants absorb the most carbon dioxide.

Air pollution in a city

Why find carbon dioxide-absorbing plants?

There isn’t anything you have to do to encourage a plant to absorb carbon dioxide and expel oxygen. It’s what it does naturally! That goes for all plants, from a giant rubber tree to a modest cactus. Any plant that uses photosynthesis to create its energy will improve your air quality. You can also find plants that absorb other toxic things from the air. For example, a bamboo palm will reduce levels of formaldehyde from the air as well. So if you’re looking for a forest of air-cleaning plants, you’re sure to find it.

Array of houseplants on bamboo stand

How to know if a plant absorbs carbon dioxide

Every plant that uses photosynthesis to create its energy will absorb carbon dioxide. There are very few plants that don’t use this method, and they aren’t the types of plants you’re going to find at a garden center or plant shop. So while some plants do this work more efficiently than others, you can rest assured knowing that any plant you pick up to decorate your home with will improve the air quality, even if it’s just a tiny amount.

Rubber plant in a hallway

The best plants that absorb carbon dioxide

However, if you’re looking to get the best air quality, we recommend going with bigger plants such as trees. The bigger and more established a tree is, the more carbon dioxide it can store. So maybe consider a large rubber tree or palm tree that can grow indoors to optimize the amount of carbon dioxide-absorbing power. Below are some of the best plants you can buy for cleaner air, according to NASA.

Dracaena “Janet Craig”

The dracaena plant is ideal for keeping your air clean. Not only did it score high in NASA’s test for its carbon dioxide absorbing abilities, but it also scored high for cleaning out trichloroethylene, which is another harmful toxin for us humans. This plant can grow up to 15 feet in ideal conditions, is easy to care for, and suits almost any decor style. It can survive on a small amount of light, doesn’t mind drying out between waterings, and doesn’t have any special humidity needs.

Rubber plant

A rubber plant is pretty popular for plant collectors, and it comes in three color varieties, which makes it easy to mix and match for aesthetic purposes. It’s also easy to care for and only needs bright indirect light. It can grow or be purchased in larger sizes, which, as we mentioned above, is ideal for absorbing maximum amounts of carbon dioxide.

Areca palm

Surprisingly, this plant was once almost extinct; now you can find it nearly all year round in any corner of a grocery store, garden center, or plant shop. Luckily for us, it cleans the air and also emits water vapor, so it’s an excellent choice for dry air as well. In addition to its good looks, it’s also easy to care for. Give it bright indirect light and a heavy watering after it dries out a bit, and this luxurious-looking plant will clean your air and bring a lovely aesthetic to your home.

Bamboo palm

Add a layer of elegant greenery to your home while also reducing carbon dioxide with the bamboo palm. This majestic tree is excellent at cleaning the air, and it also reduces levels of formaldehyde. It prefers partial sunlight during the day and loves heavy waterings once it dries out. Find a sunny corner for this plant in your home and you won’t be disappointed by its natural beauty or its air-cleaning effects.

Any plant you find irresistibly beautiful will work to keep your air clean, but these are some of the best-known carbon dioxide-absorbing plants we think you’ll love. Remember that the bigger the plant, the better it will be at cleaning your air.

Editors' Recommendations