Plants are the lungs of the planet. Deprived of oxygen we would die in minutes. Most of our oxygen is produced by the fastest growing plants, such as sea algae or grasses. The oxygen levels when visiting the ocean or lakes, is noticeably rejuvenating! Breath is life -- and life is breath! The lungs are designed to do a majority of the body’s detoxing -- and disciplines such as yoga or Tai Chi (great energy) increase deep breathing.

Certain plants are considered auspicious in Feng Shui tradition because of the good energy they bring. Besides keeping us healthy, plants can also lift the spirits through beauty or inspire our imagination.
The following plants are favorites in Feng Shui practice:


JADE plant is drought resistant and considered lucky because of the water it holds. It helps to retain moisture levels around your property. Its leaves are said to be little money-bags and it is often called the friendship plant, inviting wealth and good fortune.

BAMBOO is a fast growing tropical grass and a great oxygen producer. It is renewable, strong and durable. Avoid the kinds that reproduce through root runners, as they are very invasive. Opt instead for a clumping variety--easier to care for and control.

LUCKY BAMBOO is not a true bamboo, but a dracaena, and is popular as a Feng Shui remedy indoors. It is attractive, hardy and can tolerate low light. An easy “wood” remedy for placement.

SILVER CROWN is a succulent considered to be lucky because of its frosty silver color and wavy edges, suggesting a crown of royalty. At night its color is reflective and the plant can be used to edge paths.

MONEY TREE (pachira aquatica) is associated with good financial fortune and is commonly seen indoors in businesses. Often having braided trunks, the plant needs indirect light and does not like over-watering.

PINE trees are honored in many cultures because of their evergreen qualities. They are symbols of longevity and considered to bring prosperity through the winter months. Pine trees have a unique ability to create negative ions -- very beneficial to our health. Indoors, a smaller variety such as asparagus fern (also evergreen) can work too.

PEACH, PEAR & PLUM BLOSSOM are fruit flowers associated with abundance. These blossoms are delicate and short-lived, often used as a stimulant for romance in warmer months. Flowers displayed in the spring signify optimism and growth. Romantic luck is often referred to as “peach-blossom,” promoting fun, joy and happiness.

LOTUS & PEONY the peony is the queen of flowers in Asia, similar to what the rose is to Westerners. The Peony represents love and harmony. The lotus is considered not only one of the most beautiful blooms, but also a spiritual symbol -- since it rises from a swamp to bloom in the light. This is interpreted as a form of alchemy.

CHRYSANTHEMUM & MAGNOLIA are popular flowers in the East representing happiness, laughter and a pleasant life. Mums are great at removing air toxins and magnolias represent beauty and purity--often used in religious ceremonies.

ORANGE citrus trees are believed to increase abundance and good fortune and are a popular gift on Chinese New Year. Orange, lemon and lime trees also guard health as they boost the immune system.


Indoor pollutants are common these days, often worse than outdoor pollution. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) concentrations can be ten times higher indoors, aggravating all kinds of health problems. Dr. B.Wolverton, a former NASA scientist, did much research on plants to benefit astronauts in an artificial space environment. He wanted to find the plants that produced plentiful oxygen, as well as being the best indoor air filters.

Cities commonly have a high rate of pollution, lowering the oxygen content, compromising our health. Oxygen is needed as fuel for every cell in the body, and in general is decreasing in the atmosphere. When oxygen is low, brain function decreases, as well as health. Cancer also grows more rapidly in an environment low in oxygen. The following popular plants are used to improve air quality for stagnant homes or workspaces. (*indicate my top ten)...

Important note: Wide-leafed plants generally do best indoors as the leaf surface allows it to collect light better in dim conditions. It is the plant’s root growth along with the filtering effects of the micro-organisms in the soil that do most of the filtering work. Do not allow the plants to cover the entire soil surface, as studies have shown that much of the air cleansing takes place between the soil and air surface. Taking off the lower leaves can also help the air filtering to be more effective.

ARECA PALM* (chrysalidocarpus lutescens) This palm is great at removing all types of indoor toxins and a good air humidifier. Areca can remove salt from soil and will transfer it to its branches that will then brown and die-- just remove them.

BAMBOO PALM* (chamaedorea seifritzii) An easy plant that is good at removing air toxins, especially benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde -- also a good humidifier.

Warneck (warneckii) Removes benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene, and tolerates low light and dry air.
Cornstalk (fragans massangeana) is a pretty plant but toxic, likes dim light and removes formaldehyde
Janet Craig (deremensis) A hardy plant, very effective at removing trichloroethylene—emitted by photocopiers.

Ficus Alii (ficus macleilandi) A hardy plant that likes humidity, and dislikes drafts
Weeping Fig (ficus benjamina) Doesn’t like to be moved, is fast growing, and removes formaldehyde.
Rubber Plant (ficus robusta or elastica) Is hardy, likes low light, and is great for removing formaldehyde

GOLDEN POTHOS* (scindapsus aures or epipremnum) Is a very easy plant with a pretty leafy vine.

NORFOLK ISLAND PINE* (araucaria heterophylla) Is a hardy plant great at producing healthful negative ions.

PEACE LILY* (spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’) A beautiful plant that removes benzene, formaldehyde (particle board), acetone, alcohols and trichloroethylene, but it is toxic to cats and children. It also has a high transpiration rate (water movement).

Elephant Ear (domesticum) large tropical leaves need support.
Heartleaf (oxycardium, cordatum or scandens) toxic to children or pets if eaten, can tolerate low light, but needs support.
Lacy Tree (selloum) tolerates low light and dry air, but needs light, warmth and moisture-- toxic if eaten.
Red Emerald (erubescens) Beautiful hybrid plant, great at removing air toxins, likes warmth and humidity. Stake with water absorbent poles.

SNAKE PLANT* or Mother in Law’s Tongue (sansevieria trifasciata, laurentii) This hardy plant removes formaldehyde (a carcinogen) commonly used as furniture glue -- and is unique since it converts CO2 to oxygen at night -- making it a good plant in the bedroom. Snip off any sharp tips if used indoors.

SPIDER PLANT* (chlorophytum comosum) does not like dry air, or too many baby plants. May not like chlorine.

Other great indoor plants to use include:

Arrowhead Vine (syngonium podophylum) loves humidity
Boston Fern
(nephrolepis exaltata bostoniensis’) removes formaldehyde and needs misting.
Chinese Evergreen (aglaonema modestum) a pretty plant that tolerates low light.
Chrysanthemum or Florist Mums (chrysantheium morifolium) is effective at removing air toxins.
(exotica, compacta or camilla) an ornamental plant that needs filtered light and moist soil.
English Ivy
(hedera helix) an aggressive grower, best to keep in pots-- removes formaldehyde.
Flamingo Lily (anthurium) a pretty flowering plant.
Japanese Royal Fern
(osmunda japonica) likes shade and has bright green leaves.
Kimberly Queen Fern (nephrolepsis obliterata) likes misting and is good at removing formaldehydes and alcohols.
Lilyturf (liriope spicata) is a flowering groundcover that removes ammonia.
Mondo (Monkey) Grass (ophiopogon japonicus) tolerates dryness, is a flowering evergreen grass and a Chinese herb.
Parlor Palm
(chamaedorea elegans) hardy and tolerant of dry air and low light.
Prayer Plant (maranta leuconeura) closes its leaves to conserve moisture, but do not allow soil to dry out.
Sprouts, homegrown-- many kinds are yummy.
Umbrella Tree
(brassaia actinophylla) Schefflera arboricola is the smaller version and is easy to grow.

Usually plants will give off CO2 at night and often need to be removed in bedrooms. Traditionally, plants are not recommended for bedrooms partly for this reason. However, there are a few varieties that do release oxygen at night, and they are often drought resistant. Best oxygen providers at night include:

Aloe Vera-- a medicinal plant (has sharp points -- so the plant is best kept outdoors--Feng Shui wise).
--there are many to choose from
Christmas or Easter cactus
(cactus should be used outdoors)
Gerbera Daisy
(gerbera jamesonii) Good at removing benzene (vehicle exhaust) fumes from paints, art supplies, glues and solvents (associated with leukemia). It has a high transpiration rate (water movement through leaves).
Orchids (phalaenopsis and dendrobium) dendrobiums are fairly good at removing airborne toxins--but finicky.
Snake Plant (see description above)