For the less green fingered of you out there, who still need convincing that houseplants are a good idea and a valuable addition to your home – please read on:

A large NASA study in conjunction with Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) found that certain common indoor plants may provide a natural way to help remove harmful pollutants, such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene and carbon dioxide from the environment; thereby helping to neutralise the effects of Sick Building Syndrome.

http://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2007/ps_3.html

With most homes and offices so well insulated nowadays, and especially with the use of air conditioning systems as standard, which cause polluted air to become trapped inside our living and working environments. The addition of a few, well chosen plants is a really sensible way to help ensure that the air you breathe is of the best possible quality – not only that, they look good too.

The stunning weeping fig is among the best specimens for improving air quality and it will make a bold statement in your home.  The elephant ear philodendron is also a gorgeous plant and providing that you look after it; good drainage and regular pruning, its lush heart-shaped leaves will flourish.  Best to avoid this one if you have young children or pets, as it is poisonous if eaten - the same goes for English ivy.  The lovely airy fronds of the bamboo palm will fit in with most decorative schemes, or, a long-living and slow-growing plant you could try a Chinese evergreen.  If you prefer vibrant flowers to foliage, then opt for a pretty gerbera daisy.  The showy blooms will last for about a month when they are potted up indoors.

Top 10 fresh air plants, which are fairly easy to maintain:

- Kentia Palm

- Swiss Chees Plant

- Zamioculcas Zamifolia (hard to pronounce we think!)

- Philodendron

- Miniature Date Palm

- Peace Lily

- Dracaena Fragrans

- Boston Fern

- Ficus Alii

- Rubber Plant

 www.houseofplants.co.uk/freshairindoorplants.htm