They brighten up our homes and cheer up our offices. But house plants also clean up the air that we breathe.
Research has shown that popular pot plants also absorb dangerous chemicals, leaving the air cleaner for us to breathe.
One of the best ‘natural air fresheners’ is Guzmania lingulata, or the scarlet star, a colourful and tropical type of bromeliad which blooms for months indoors.
Others include the corn plant (Dracaena fragrans) which boasts long, variegated leaves that are particularly good at mopping up acetone, the pungent chemical in nail varnish remover.
The work comes amid mounting concern about the damage done by indoor air pollution, including toxins called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which released by everything from paint and printers to cleaning chemicals and dry-cleaned clothes.