5 House Plants You Can Easily Buy in Nairobi To Purify Your Indoor Air

Whether we like it or not, we spend a majority of our time indoors, 87% to be exact. However indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air and cleaning products contribute to the majority of this pollution. If you haven’t made the switch to eco-friendly cleaning products then you can benefit from these 5 household plants that clean even when you’re asleep. 

1. The Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

This is a common plant in Kenya and is one of the most recommended plant for improving indoor air quality. It can convert CO2 into oxygen at night so it’s best to keep it in the bedroom. It’s ability to absorb toxins and release oxygen makes it an ideal plant for those with allergies. Furthermore, it can also filter formaldehyde, xylene, benzene and more from the air, which means workspaces such as printing offices or homes with thick carpeting can make great use of it.

  • Plant care: copes well with direct sun and prefers moderate sun and shade; water when needed (every 2-3 weeks)
  • Toxicity: Can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in cats and dogs
  • Eliminates: carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, and nitrogen oxides
  • Price: KES 1000 in a pot | KES 150 in a bag

2. Spider Plant: (Chlorophytum Comosum) 

If you’re new to indoor plant care, then the spider plant is a great start. It doesn’t require daily care and can thrive even if it just gets fertilized once a month. It’s been known to remove: 

Fun fact: a study conducted by NASA demonstrated that spider plants removed 95% of toxic substances from a sealed chamber in 24 hours.

  1. Formaldehyde – a colorless and flammable chemical found in disinfectants, fungicides, and germicides. 
  2. Xylene – has been used as a cleaning agent
  • Plant care: Water moderately keeping soil moist, fertilize once or twice a month, transplant if it outgrows container.
  • Benefits: reduces carbon dioxide, benzene, nitrogen dioxide levels; increases humidity, reduces airborne dust levels.
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to cats and other pets
  • Price: KES 500 in a pot (Plants Galore)

3. Rubber Plant: (Ficus Elastica) 

An easy to care for plant that can grow up to 15 M tall. Don’t let that number scare you because you can get a baby rubber and it can adapt to being an indoor plant. Studies conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) proves that a rubber plant’s leaves absorb airborne contaminants and break them down, rendering them harmless. The rubber plant has also been known to reduce mold and bacteria in a room by as much as 50-60%.

  • Plant Care: Water moderately and keep the soil moist
  • Toxicity: Toxic to cats and dogs
  • Eliminates: carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and more
  • Price: 1000 KES with a pot | KES 150 in a bag (plantsgalore.co.ke)

3. Peace Lily: (Spathiphyllum) 

These are among the most common house or office plants you can find in Kenya because of their extraordinary air purifying abilities. Not only that but they also bloom during warm months and contribute a floral scent into the air. However, if anyone in your home is allergic to pollen you may not want to have too many of these around. They are great for contaminant removal such as ammonia and formaldehyde. Therefore, they are best used in bathrooms as they keep shower tiles and curtains free from mildew.

  • Plant care: Keep soil slightly moist and moderate lighting so flowers can bloom
  • Toxicity: Toxic to animals and children; can cause skin irritations to adults
  • Eliminates: formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, ammonia, and more
  • Price: KES 1000 in a pot | KES 250 in a bag

5. Aloe Vera

It shouldn’t come as a surprise why Aloe Vera is an excellent house plant; its gel has numerous medicinal and healing benefits e.g. treatment of sun burns and cuts. Aloe Vera is a succulent type plant therefore it’s not demanding.

  • Plant care: Thrives on bright light conditions not direct sunlight. Maintain moist soil.
  • Toxicity: Toxic to dogs
  • Eliminates: Formaldehyde and Benzene (by-products of chemical based cleaners and paints)
  • Price: KES 1000 in a pot | KES 250 in a bag


Globe Eucalyptus (E. Globulus)

You may have to go on a treasure hunt to find this houseplant but the search will be worth it. Though eucalyptus can grow into trees of towering heights, it can also be grown as a potted shrub or plant. The Eucalyptus plant has been used for all types of ailments for centuries so it’s only natural that it’s on this list. Its leaves are rich in tannins, which can raise healthy fluids in the body’s air passages. Just breathing in the scent of this plant can help lower congestion problems and ward off colds.

  • Plant care: Requires full sun; pay close attention to basic lighting and watering needs
  • Toxicity: Toxic to cats and dogs
  • Eliminates: acts as a decongestant and eliminates some toxic metals
  • Bonus: it’s leaves can be extracted to create tea infusions and oils that can boost immunity and reduce anxiety & stress.

Safety precautions when purchasing house plants:

  • Beware of the plant’s toxicity levels as they may be poisonous to children and pets
  • Don’t hesitate to ask the staff or the seller about plant care and potential hazards.
  • Just because these plants purify air doesn’t mean you should overflow your house or office with them. Excess plants can promote humidity and mold growth.
  • Make sure you take care of your plants to prevent insects infestations and mold growth.
  • You can also keep your home clean by  vacuuming and mopping as well as increasing ventilation.

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