Previously we discussed the benefits of having plants in the office environment.  Now, we will take a look at the ideal plants to use and why they are so beneficial in the work place.

Sick Building Syndrome is used to describe the occurrence of poor health associated with working in a badly ventilated office environment.  Chemicals and pollutants build up in the air and often occupants experience health issues such as bad headaches and respiratory system problems as a result.  There are many sources of the pollutants including vehicle emissions from outside, fumes from chemicals used in production, your office equipment could even be letting off contaminants.

What exactly are these pollutants and contaminants, what are they doing to us and, which plants can help remove them?


Ammonia is a substance that comes from either decaying organic material or from sources such as rubbish dumps and fertilisers used for plants. It is known to cause eye, throat and nose problems. Plants such as the Chrysanthemum Morifolium, the Peace Lily, Flamingo Lily and the Lady Palm are all effective at eliminating Ammonia from the air.   Lady Palm in
Allsorted Cylinder Planter

Formaldehyde is a chemical in the form of a gas. It can also be in liquid form (known as Formalin). It is used in the manufacturing industry but is also present in beauty products, food and medicines. Effects from nose, eye and throat irritation to stomach and mouth ulcers and even cancer can be related to this chemical. The Spider plant, Ficus, The Dwarf Date Palm, DracaenaPeace Lily, Chinese Evergreen, along with a number of other plants, can all be used as an effective way to rid the air and surrounding environment of Formaldehyde.

Trichloroethylene is a chemical available in liquid form. It is easily evaporated and once this happens, can be breathed in by occupants of the building. This usually only occurs in work places where the chemical is produced or used for degreasing metal but it is possible for leakages to occur from other sources. In order to reduce the chances of breathing in such chemicals, plants such as the Ficus, Boston fern, Mother-in-Law’s tongue, Aloe Vera, English Ivy and even Bamboo can be placed within the office.


Xylene is a chemical that is present in fuel, paint thinners, cleaning products and is even used for production of plastic bottles and some clothing. When inhaled, this substance is known to be quite dangerous. It has been linked with depression, nausea, nose irritation and, more seriously kidney, liver and respiratory problems. The Boston fern, Red-Edged Dracaena, Barberton Daisy, Devil’s Ivy and Weeping Fig can be used to clear the air of xylene.


Benzene is a liquid chemical that can easily evaporate. It is used in the production of medication, pesticides and dyes and can be emitted through cigarette smoke and car exhaust fumes. Inhaling Benzene can cause dizziness, irregular and fast heartbeat and headaches. To filter the air of this chemical it is suggested that the Chinese Evergreen, Cornstalk Dracaena, Peace Lily, Red-Edged Dracaena and the Chrysanthemum Morifolium are placed around the work place.
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