The Best Plants for the Bedroom (Hint: It’s All About Air Purification)

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 healthier and fresher 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 several of our favorite houseplant experts—including Christopher Griffin (a.k.a. Plant Kween), author of You Grow, Gurl!, and Sarah Gerrard-Jones, author of The Plant Rescuer: The Book Your Houseplants Want You To Read and the hero behind the @theplantrescuer Instagram account—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,” Griffin 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.

How do you choose the correct pot size?

Here’s a fun fact: There’s a difference between pots and planters. The former is meant to describe a container for a single plant, usually round in shape. Planters are meant to hold multiple plants, come in all shapes, and are most commonly used outside. The terms are often used interchangeably, but consider it good trivia knowledge. When you’re finding a home for your green guy, you want to make sure there’s a bit of space in your pot for your plant to, well, grow. A good rule of (green) thumb is to find a pot that’s one-to-two inches larger than your plant, if it’s 10 inches for smaller. For plants larger than 10 inches, find pots two to three inches larger in diameter. “I believe in keeping it natural when it comes to plant care. I’m not a fan of gadgets such as apps that tell you when to water your plants or moisture meters,” says Gerrard-Jones. “I do, however, love a self-watering pot, which means you can take a holiday without worrying about who will water the plants.” Pot size is one thing, but you also want to make sure that the one you choose has a drainage hole.

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,” Griffin 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!” Griffin shares that most houseplants need to be watered every 7 to 10 days during the warmer months and every 14 days in colder seasons. But keep in mind that such schedules are not consistent across the board and can fluctuate based on a few factors. “Watering schedules 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.),” Griffin 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 the Plant Kween mentioned, it’s best to 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,” Griffin 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.”

What are the best plants for low-light bedrooms?

It’s rare to find a bedroom with enough light to fuel the lush, jungle-inspired sleeping space of your daydreams. More often than not, you’ll have to plan the entire layout around whatever corners of sunlight you can capture. Gerrard-Jones has a few suggestions for such situations. “Aglaonema ‘Cutlass’ is an undemanding [plant] with beautifully patterned leaves,” she says. “And Sansevieria ‘black coral’ has tall, swordlike leaves, for those that prefer a minimal look.” Other good options are Aeschynanthus marmoratus (“A very attractive hanging plant,” says Gerrard-Jones), Aspidistra elatior (“a Victorian classic with a remarkable tolerance for low light areas”), and Zamioculcas zamifolia (“go for the black variety called raven”).

Which plants should you avoid putting in the bedroom?

There are no hard and fast rules here, as it really depends on how much light your bedroom gets. It can be easy to get overconfident and think, I’ll water it more often to accommodate for less sun, or, Surely there’s a special fertilizer or plant additive I can use to help it thrive! You can put whatever plant you want in your bedroom, it just may not thrive in any “botanic garden” showstopper kind of way. But there is one type of plant you may want to think carefully about: “There is no reason to avoid putting any plants in your bedroom, unless you sleepwalk, and then cacti probably aren’t a good idea,” says Gerrard-Jones. “Feng shui experts also suggest that cactus spines are thought to encourage feelings of anxiety and stress. Therefore, it’s best to keep them out of the bedroom, where you want to feel relaxed and well-rested.”

What are the best plants for bedrooms?

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, according to our expert sources.

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,” Griffin 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,” Griffin 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 one does well during droughts and in the houses of plant parents on the go, who occasionally forget to water their green gurl.”

Flamingo plant

If you want bold 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 hours each day and night? “The flamingo plant requires a good acidic, well-drained soil, does not like direct sunlight, and it produces beautiful and durable flowers throughout the year,” Montoya says.

Anthurium Scherzerianum (Flamingo Lily)

Lady palm

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 can fill 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,” Montoya assures.


Originating from the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, the pothos covers 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,” Montoya 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.”

Monstera deliciosa

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 Montoya, it’s also a winner for bedrooms on the petite side, as it “produces big leaves in small spaces.”

Phalaenopsis orchid

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,” Montoya 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.”

Large Phalaenopsis Orchid


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,” Montoya 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 lily

Peace lilies look lovely propped up by 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 plant

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?) Spider plants also absorb 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.

Medium Variegated Spider Plant

Snake plant

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.

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