Adding plants to any home creates an element of visual beauty, but an interior green thumb’s benefits go beyond aesthetics, beneath the surface. A recent study1 conducted by NASA has shown that indoor plants offer seniors a variety of important health and wellness benefits. Through recycling carbon dioxide into fresh air, plants work as natural air purifiers. Both plant leaves and roots help remove up to 87 percent2 of common air toxins and indoor pollutants. This includes airborne dust and low-level vapours such as carbon monoxide, benzene, and nitrogen dioxide.

In addition to improving the air quality, plants release most of the water they absorb, making them natural humidifiers1. Grouping several plants together can increase a room’s humidity, benefiting those who suffer from asthmas and other respiratory issues1.

Indoor plants bring elements of nature and joy into the home and have proven to be great mood boosters3. Watering and tending to plants is a soothing hobby that can create a sense of calm, while the scent of flowers can help reduce depression, tension, and anxiety.

Bringing flowers to a loved one who is unwell or has recently returned home from the hospital, does more than warm their heart. Evidence4 has suggested that those with plants in their room experience a shorter recovery time and other health benefits such as lower blood pressure, lower ratings of pain, and fatigue than those who recovered without plants in their rooms.

According to Lottie Dalziel5 of Better Homes and Gardens here are five of the top twenty plants suitable for any home:

The snake plant, like other plants, absorbs a high level of carbon dioxide. But beyond that, the snake plant is one of the best at absorbing toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, making it one of the best natural air purifiers. They are also known for being low maintenance, hardy plants and can survive in dry environments, both indoors and out. Partial sun and minimal watering works best for snake plants.

Peace Lilies are among the top three plants for removing common household toxins, including formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia. One of the easiest plants to care for, the Peace Lily droops when it needs water letting you know right away it’s thirsty. It also produces beautiful white flowers when placed in direct sunlight.

This plant is incredibly low-maintenance and hailed as almost indestructible. The Zanzibar Gem aka the ZZ plant thrives in drought and can survive for long periods without water. This plant need only be watered once a month and is perfect for bathrooms or a space out of direct sunlight. But beyond its tough exterior, the Zanzibar Gem helps remove xylene, toluene, and carbon dioxide from the home.

Bamboo Palm is one of the best natural humidifiers being one of the highest moisture producers among plants. They are also known for their ability to absorb chemical vapours; formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, xylene, chloroform, to name a few. Bamboo enjoys moist soil and space where the air circulates regularly. They are a safe plant to have around pets and children.

For those whose green thumb skills need some work, the Spider plant is one of the easiest plants to care for. They are known for growing very quickly with little care, and they are particularly good at absorbing carbon monoxide. This plant is entirely harmless to pets, meaning it can decorate the house high or low.

Whether you’re looking for a humidifier, mood booster, or a little green beauty to decorate your home, the five plants listed above can accommodate the health benefit or aesthetic you’re after.