Aloe (Aloe vera)
THIS easy-to-grow, sun-loving succulent plant helps clear formaldehyde and benzene, the nasty byproducts of chemical-based cleaners/paints. Aloe is a smart choice for a kitchen window. Besides its air-clearing abilities, the gel inside an aloe plant is known to heal cuts and burns..
EVEN if you tend to neglect houseplants, you will find it almost impossible to kill this resilient plant. With lots of rich foliage and tiny white flowers, the spider plant battles benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries.
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
A ficus in your living room can help filter out pollutants that typically accompany furniture and carpets – formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. Caring for a ficus can be tricky, but once you get the watering and light conditions right, they will last a long time.
EASILY recognisable by its glossy, sturdy-looking oval leaves with a waxy shine, schefflera is hardy and long-lasting. But you might need to wipe them down once in a while. In addition to looking great, they are also known to soak up nasty toxins like benzene, formaldehyde and toluene. So, like palms, they're good for households with smokers.
have survived since prehistoric times. They are favoured for their soft, feathery leaves and it is those same large fronds that help rid the air of pollutants like toulene and xylene, which are found in many paints, nail polishes and glues. Note, however, that they may shed leaves till there are none left!
Here are some plants that might look nice in the nursery, but can do you more harm than good inside the house...
QUITE possibly one of the most popular house plants, the lovely philodendron is easy to grow and is usually the perfect compliment to any room. However, it contains calcium oxalate crystals, which are toxic to humans and animals, particularly cats.
ALSO called the 'dumb cane', this plant is related to the Philodendron, and contains the same oxalate crystals. Though quite popular as an indoor plant, it can cause extreme pain in the mouth, salivation, burning sensation, swelling and numbing of the throat.
CHARACTERISED by its golden heart-shaped leaves, Pothos is often seen as an indoor plant that can survive in lower light and colder climes. But it can produce uncomfortable and sometimes serious side effects such as breathing difficulties in animals and skin irritation and diarrhoea in people.
Mother-in-Law's Tongue ANOTHER
great floor plant, the Mother-in-Law's tongue, or snake plant, has leathery, sword-like leaves that earned the plant its name. But it can also elicit unpleasant reactions in animals, such as excessive salivation, pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
oleander, or Kaner in Hindi, looks delicate and innocuous, but is so toxic that even ingesting honey made from its nectar can induce painful symptoms. Even deaths have been reported in adult humans with as little as one leaf eaten, though they mostly occur if very large amounts are ingested. Children are more susceptible though!