If you’re wondering “do succulents clean the air?”, you might be surprised the answer is not as straightforward as some might believe.

The question of whether succulents effectively clean the air is a topic of interest among plant enthusiasts and those seeking to improve indoor air quality.

Succulents, with their unique characteristics and low-maintenance reputation, have garnered attention as potential natural air purifiers.

In this blog post, you will learn more about a succulents ability to clean the air, as well as understand which houseplants are the best purifiers.

Do Succulents Clean the Air

Succulents, like all plants, do participate in the process of photosynthesis as they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.

However, their capacity to remove other airborne toxins is limited compared to certain other species of indoor plants.

Research, including studies conducted by Michael Waring at Drexel University, suggests that while plants can indeed remove certain toxins from the air, the rate at which they do so may not be significant enough to substantially impact indoor air quality.

For example, NASA’s study on air-purifying plants identified species such as snake plants and spider plants as effective in removing toxins like formaldehyde and benzene from the air.

However, succulents were not prominently featured in this study.

While some succulents may have air-purifying properties to a certain extent, they may not be as efficient as other types of plants specifically studied for their air-cleansing abilities.

The Best Indoor Succulents to Clean the Air

When selecting succulents for their potential air-purifying qualities, it’s essential to consider species that add beauty to your space and contribute positively to indoor air quality.

While succulents may not be as efficient at purifying the air as some other types of plants, certain species have been identified for their ability to remove toxins and enhance indoor environments.

Here are some of the best indoor succulents known for their potential air-purifying properties:

1. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Snake plants, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, are renowned for their air-purifying abilities.

They are particularly effective at removing toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air.

Snake plants are also low-maintenance and can thrive in low light conditions, making them perfect for indoor spaces with minimal sunlight.

2. Aloe Vera (Aloe vera)

Aloe vera plants not only have medicinal properties but also contribute to cleaner indoor air.

They are known for their ability to remove formaldehyde and benzene from the air, making them beneficial additions to indoor environments.

Aloe vera plants require bright, indirect light and well-draining soil to thrive indoors.


3. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera spp.)

Christmas cacti are not only beautiful flowering succulents but also have air-purifying qualities.

While they may not be as effective at removing toxins as some other species, they still contribute to improving indoor air quality.

Christmas cacti prefer bright, indirect light and well-draining soil.

4. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

Jade plants are popular succulents known for their resilience and beauty.

While they may not be top performers in air purification, they still have some ability to remove toxins from indoor air.

Jade plants prefer bright, indirect light and well-draining soil, making them suitable for various indoor environments.

5. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

Ponytail palms are unique succulents with a striking appearance and potential air-purifying qualities.

These succulents prefer bright, indirect light and well-draining soil.

These succulents may not be the most potent air purifiers compared to certain other types of indoor plants, they still offer benefits beyond their air-cleansing abilities.

By incorporating these succulents into your indoor environment, you can enjoy their beauty while potentially enhancing the quality of the air you breathe.

More Popular Houseplants for Clean Indoor Air

Several household plants have been shown to help clean the air, reducing indoor air pollution and potentially alleviating issues like sore throats and other respiratory discomfort. 

While these are not all succulents, they are popular options for in the house:

1. Spider Plant

This plant is known for its ability to remove harmful chemicals like formaldehyde from the air.

It’s low-maintenance, making it perfect for those who don’t have much time to devote to plant care.

2. Peace Lily

Peace lilies are excellent at removing airborne toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide.

They thrive in low light and can help increase humidity, which may be beneficial for sore throats caused by dry indoor air.

3. Boston Fern

Boston ferns are great for improving indoor air quality by removing pollutants like formaldehyde and xylene.

They prefer moist soil and indirect sunlight, making them ideal for bathrooms or other humid areas of the home.

4. Dracaena Marginata

Also known as the dragon tree, this plant is effective at removing toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the air. It’s easy to care for and can tolerate low light conditions.

5. Corn Plant

Corn plants are excellent at filtering out pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene. They’re relatively low-maintenance and can tolerate low light conditions.

6. English Ivy

English ivy is known for its ability to remove mold spores from the air, making it beneficial for those with allergies or respiratory issues. It prefers a sunny spot with moist soil.

7. Bamboo Palm

Bamboo palms are effective at filtering out toxins like formaldehyde and benzene. They thrive in indirect sunlight and can help increase humidity levels in the home.

These plants can contribute to better indoor air quality, providing fresh oxygen and reducing levels of harmful chemicals and particulate matter.

While they won’t replace the need for proper ventilation or an air purifier, they can be a natural and aesthetically pleasing addition to your home environment.

Benefits of Using Succulents as Natural Air Purifiers

Using succulents as natural air purifiers comes with several benefits, although they may not be as efficient as some other types of indoor plants.

Here are some advantages of incorporating succulents into your indoor environment for air purification:

Low Maintenance

Succulents are known for their resilience and ability to thrive with minimal care.

They require infrequent watering and can tolerate a variety of lighting conditions, making them ideal for busy individuals or those with limited gardening experience.

Aesthetic Appeal

Succulents come in a wide array of shapes, sizes, and colors, adding visual interest and beauty to indoor spaces.

Their unique forms, from rosettes to trailing vines, can enhance the ambiance of any room and create a calming, natural atmosphere.

Improved Indoor Air Quality

While succulents may not be the most powerful air purifiers, they still contribute to the overall air quality of indoor spaces.

Like all plants, succulents absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and release oxygen, helping to replenish and refresh the air.

Reduced Toxins

While studies have shown that certain types of indoor plants, such as snake plants and spider plants, are more effective at removing specific toxins like formaldehyde and benzene from the air, succulents may still play a role in reducing overall toxin levels in indoor environments.

Mental Health Benefits

Caring for indoor plants, including succulents, has been linked to various mental health benefits, including reduced stress and improved mood.

The act of nurturing and tending to plants can provide a sense of purpose and connection to nature, promoting overall well-being.


Succulents can thrive in a variety of indoor settings, from sunny windowsills to dimly lit corners.

Their adaptability to different lighting conditions makes them suitable for virtually any room in the house. This allows you to enjoy the benefits of greenery throughout your home.

By incorporating succulents into your indoor environment, you can enjoy the beauty of nature while reaping the benefits of cleaner, fresher air.

Conclusion: Do Succulents Clean the Air

As we navigate the complexities of indoor air quality, succulent plants emerge as an excellent choice for indoor environments.

They are not the most efficient air purifiers for volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde or benzene. However, they still play a valuable role in promoting cleaner indoor air.

Their ability to thrive with little water and in various lighting conditions makes them low-maintenance options .

Succulents are perfect for households seeking to improve air quality without constant attention.

Furthermore, as we become increasingly aware of the harmful effects of indoor pollutants like cigarette smoke and toxic chemicals, integrating air-purifying succulents into our indoor gardens becomes a good idea.

Their glossy green leaves add aesthetic appeal and serve as natural air purifiers. Clearly, this helps create a healthier indoor environment for occupants.

Are you looking to abate indoor air pollution, reduce harmful toxins, or enhance the air quality of your home? Then, we suggest adding air-purifying succulents and plants to your space.

With their hardy nature, low-maintenance requirements, and contributions to cleaner indoor air, succulents are valuable additions to any indoor space.

Overall, they provide benefits that extend far beyond mere decoration.

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Do Succulents Clean the Air