Boston Ferns remove more formaldehyde than any other plant. They’re also highly efficient at removing other indoor air pollutants, such as benzene and xylene—components of gasoline exhaust that can migrate indoors if you have an attached garage. The downside to these plants is that they can be finicky. You need to feed them weekly in seasons when they’re growing, monthly during the winter, and they like to be watered regularly. Depending on the humidity and moisture levels in your home, you may need to water them or mist their leaves daily.
Palm trees seem particularly good at removing indoor air pollutants, specifically formaldehyde, and they’re relatively easy to care for. The best at formaldehyde removal is the Dwarf Date Palm, which is closest in appearance to the palm trees that remind you of warmer climates, but you’ll also get clean air with a Bamboo Palm, Areca Palm, Lady Palm, or Parlor Palm. Palm trees like cooler temperatures, preferably in the 60 to 75°F range…
Rubber Plants and Janet Craigs
If you’ve got a dim office that’s just screaming for cleaner air and a little touch of nature, try a rubber plant or Janet Craig. Both will tolerate very little sun—although they may grow more slowly—and are at the top of the list for formaldehyde removers, which is particularly important in offices where most furniture is made from particleboard held together by formaldehyde-based glues. Janet Craigs will tolerate more abuse and neglect than rubber trees, but rubber trees are a little more aesthetically pleasing.
Grown outdoors, English Ivy is an invasive species that can damage your home’s exterior and tear off your gutters, but bring it inside, and it becomes an effective formaldehyde remover. Thanks to its ability to climb structures, it’s easy to grow as topiary and use as a decorative element in your living spaces. English Ivy likes part sun and part shade, so it’s a good plant to try indoors and isn’t as temperamental as Boston Ferns. Occasional watering and misting during the winter will keep it healthy.