You can spend a lot of time searching for the best plants for your bedroom space. But it’s worth the time investment: Indoor plants are an all-natural way to remove toxic agents such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from your air. In addition to looking great and promoting health benefits like better sleep (forget the essential oil, opt for some greenery), the best plants for purifying the air in your bedroom tend to be easy to care for. “Air-purifying plants can help absorb and trap toxins while releasing oxygen to generate cleaner air, making for a more healthy and fresh sleeping environment throughout the bedroom,” says Andres Montoya, an indoor and outdoor landscaping expert who works on hospitality projects. “Most indoor plants are relatively easy to take care of and are adaptable to common indoor elements like low light and indoor temperatures.”
It’s easy to get lost in the world of popular houseplants when reevaluating your interior design: ficus, hedera helix (like English ivy), areca palm, Chinese evergreen, rubber plant, philodendron and its heart-shaped leaves, aloe vera plant, parlor palm, the list goes on. And don’t even get us started on flowering plants (who doesn’t love a room sprinkled with daisies or gardenia). But before we jump into the plant recommendations, let’s break down some care tips. We spoke with one of our favorite houseplant experts and author of You Grow, Gurl! Christopher Griffin (a.k.a. Plant Kween) for some plant care guidance on how to keep your greenery thriving.
What’s the most important thing to consider when choosing bedroom plants?
“It’s all about placing,” Christopher says. “I have about 30 plants of various sizes in my bedroom and they are strategically placed so that they get the sunlight they need to thrive, but [they’re] also not bunched together, so I can enjoy the empty spaces in my bedroom.” Make sure you understand how the light changes in your bedroom throughout the day as well. Just waking up from an afternoon nap? Take note of which corners get that good pre-golden hour sunlight. Up with the sunrise? Same thing—make sure you know which parts of your room never see strong sunlight.
What’s the biggest mistake new plant parents make?
“Overwatering causes a plant to experience root rot, which destroys the plant’s root system and is not what we want, dahling,” Christopher says. “Mistakes provide an opportunity to learn and do better next time, and so I learned my lesson.” One thing to keep in mind: A plant has a much better chance of surviving if it’s underwatered instead of overwatered. “This kween has had to learn to pay closer attention to the needs of her green gurls, allowing them to tell me what they need…and, hunty, they are a vocal bunch!” Christopher shares that most houseplants need to be watered every 7–10 days during the warmer months, and every 14 days in colder seasons. But keep in mind that each one can vary based on a few things. “Watering schedules for each green gurl can vary based on the type of green gurl she is, the kind of pot you have her in, the soil mixture recipe, even the weather that week (the amount of sunshine she got that week, the humidity levels, etc.),” Christopher says. “And while Sunday is this kween’s official watering day, I’ve found that sometimes my green gurls are on different schedules.”
How do you check if a plant needs to be watered?
Like Christopher mentioned, pick a day every week to check in with your plants. “I try to give each of my green gurls the individual attention they deserve,” Christopher says. “I do this by simply placing my finger two inches into the soil—a common mistake that I used to make was only checking the top layer of soil and this led to many plant fails, hunty! Once I place my finger two inches into the soil, if the soil is damp, then I leave that kween be—she’s good.” But if the soil is dry? “She’s thirsty, and I give that kween a drink. For larger pots, I either have a moisture meter or check the drainage hole to ensure that I’m looking into what’s going on with the roots.”
Whether you have bright natural light in your bedroom or you sleep in a shadier corner, the following are the best easy-care bedroom plants with varying condition requirements.
The ZZ plant
“Native to eastern Africa—from southern Kenya to northeastern South Africa—this now popular indoor tropical kween was probably not known to anyone outside the continent of Africa before 1996,” Christopher says. “These hearty kweens’ leaves are jam-packed with chlorophyll, which makes them very light flexible, thriving in brighter light conditions but also tolerant of lower light conditions.” The overall construction of the plant is fascinating: “ZZ plants grow from large, thick rhizomes that resemble potatoes,” Christopher adds. “Rhizomes are subterranean plant stems that are often thickened by deposits of reserve food material. In short, these rhizomes store water, which is why this green gurl does well during droughts and in the houses of plant parents on the go, who occasionally forget to water their green gurl.”
If you need houseplants for your bedroom, look no further than the flamingo plant—a.k.a. an anthurium—which helps to eliminate carbon dioxide and provides copious oxygen with its greenery. And what better location to display these green-and-pink treasures than in the space where you spend several hours every day and night? “The flamingo plant requires a good acidic, well-drained soil and does not like direct sunlight and produces beautiful and durable flowers throughout the year,” Andres says.
The lady palm (also commonly known as the bamboo palm) grows in an attractive, even pattern, and new leaf stalks sprout from its bottom. This is one of the best plants for bedroom placement because they grow best in bright, indirect light near a window or skylight. Each leaf stalk can grow up to 18 inches long, so the green leaves will grace an empty bedroom corner easily. “The lady palm is very tolerant to low light conditions, and this plant does not require too much water—its care is very easy,” Andres says.
Originating from the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, the pothos would be seen covering the forest floor in its natural habitat. This is a great hanging plant—get creative with a hanging basket and let the leaves grow downwards. “The ivy pothos is a very strong plant and can easily adapt to different environments,” Andres says. “From indirect light conditions to direct sun, this plant can grow in different types of substrate like soil, wood, and water. The ivy pothos is also considered a top air-purifying plant which can remove toxins from the air.”
The popular monstera deliciosa (also known as the Swiss cheese plant) is native to South America and thrives in indirect light (it typically grows under the shade of trees), so it’s ideal if your bedroom is lacking direct sun. According to Andres, it’s also a winner for bedrooms on the petite side as it “produces big leaves in small spaces.”
Your bedside table will get a beautiful focal point with the phalaenopsis orchid. “This is one of the most beautiful orchids, well adapted to indoor spaces and indirect sunlight,” Andres says. “It flowers once per year for approximately three months: Flowering starts in the months with the lowest temperatures, and they are adapted to live in shady places.”
If you’re looking to up the air quality in your bedroom, echeveria succulents are worth considering to create serene oxygenated green vibes. “This plant is from the group of succulent plants very near to the cactus plant. They are drought-tolerant plants that like well-drained soil,” Andres says. “Echeveria plants like the sunlight, but only require exposure a few hours a day to sufficiently keep it healthy and growing with brilliant colors.”
Peace lilies are another one of the most attractive bedroom plants. You can prop them up on your windowsill, and they’re able to filter out many harmful toxins. The moisture given off by these houseplants boosts the humidity in the room and suppresses airborne microbes that can lead to allergies. If you suffer from dry nasal passages, the peace lily helps to rid the bedroom of indoor air pollutants that cause dryness. The peace lily will not only help create clean air, it’s also a low-maintenance plant that only needs to be watered weekly.
Spider plants have made a huge comeback in recent years after being commonplace in bedrooms throughout the ’70s. Their sprawling, striped leaves spread out from the center, creating a bountiful green mass. Studies have shown that the plant removes 90% of cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde from the air. (If that doesn’t make you sleep better, what will?) It also absorbs odors and fumes to help keep the oxygen level and promote better sleeping. These plants also produce baby spider plants, so you can grow and propagate new plants for your bedroom.
Another great air purifier, the snake plant (also known as Dracaena trifasciata) is one of the best indoor plants for beginners. However, beware if you have pets—this one can be toxic if ingested by your furry friend.