Choose the Best Plants for Your Bedroom
We all aim to feel rested, relaxed and recharged each morning. That doesn’t always happen, though. So you invest in a quality mattress and paint your walls a calming color. Still feel like your bedroom needs some help? It might be time to look into some houseplants to liven up your sleep space.
“There are countless reasons to add plants to your personal spaces,” says Elisa McCurdy, director of plant vitality at Greendigs. “They are mood elevators that boost creativity and productivity and add life and color to a room in a way that nothing else can.”
Paris Lalicata, plant education coordinator at The Sill, agrees. “Not only can houseplants enhance the overall appearance of your bedroom space, but they’ve been shown to boost moods and reduce stress,” she says. “A single plant on the dresser, an assortment of different-sized plants on your windowsill, or a DIY’d living plant wall can bring serenity and greenery into your space.”
In addition to enhancing aesthetics, bedroom plants also encourage something we’re all looking for: better sleep. While they don’t purify the air as was once rumored—that theory has been debunked—plants do increase your bedroom’s overall air quality, which ups your chances of falling asleep faster and sleeping more soundly. “As part of the photosynthesis process, plants release oxygen and humidity into the air, which can help you breathe easier at night,” McCurdy explains.
Ready to create the ultimate bedroom oasis with the addition of one (or many) houseplants? Read on for the 10 best plants for a bedroom, all plant-expert-approved.
Easy to care for and great for adding some volume? Count us in. Snake plants are low maintenance and fun for drawing the eye upward. They’re also ideal for keeping in your room while you sleep because they’re one of the few plants that photosynthesize even at night, meaning they’re releasing O2 while you sleep. While snake plants prefer medium to bright light, they’re succulents, so they can tolerate much lower light than other common houseplants. That makes snake plants ideal if sunlight is hard to come by in your bedroom, or if you’re a shift worker who regularly keeps your shades down. And if you’re low-maintenance, rejoice that you only need to water a snake plant about every three weeks.
Good for pets and kids? No. They are toxic to humans and house pets.
If you’re a new plant parent and you’re nervous about the responsibility, try introducing a spider plant into your bedroom’s décor. Known for their versatility, spider plants are easy to grow and even easier to care for. Water your spider plant once a week, or when the soil feels dry.
While they grow best in high-humidity situations with bright, indirect sunlight, they’re adaptable to other conditions too. Due to their long runners, spider plants make for great hanging plants. They are nontoxic, so you can leave them within reach of pets. Even better, your spider plant could multiply: If your spider plant thrives, you can try propagating plantlets that grow off the main bush.
Good for pets and kids? Yes.
Call the pilea peperomioides whatever you want—it also answers to pancake plant, UFO plant, Chinese money plant or coin plant. This charmer with circular leaves only grows to about 12 inches, so it’s ideal for small bedrooms. It’s a self-propagator, so the pilea produces little “pups” on its own, which pop up from the soil surrounding the mother plant. These pups can then be repotted into their own containers as they mature (a great gift for a plant-loving friend). Speaking of pups, the plant is nontoxic, making it a good choice for those with pets or small children.
“The pilea loves soaking up the sun, so we recommend keeping it on the sill in your bedroom, where it gets the most natural light,” says Lalicata. Water your pilea about every two weeks, depending on how much light it is receiving, making sure to allow the potting mix to dry out completely between waterings.
Good for pets and kids? Yes.
Greenery is great, but how about bringing even more color into your bedroom décor? “If you’re looking for a flowering houseplant for the bedroom, look no further than the anthurium with its quirky ‘blooms,’” says Lalicata. “This houseplant rarely has any downtime without a few flowers, no matter the time of year.” Wondering how it retains long blooms? Its “flowers” aren’t really flowers—they’re modified waxy leaves.
The brighter the indirect light you can position your anthurium in, the more beautiful the blooms will look. Keep the anthurium on a windowsill or another sunny spot in your bedroom, and water it every one to two weeks. To bring color into other rooms of your home, gently snip off the maturing blooms and put in a vase of water, like flowers!
Good for pets and kids? No. Skip this one if you have pets or small children—anthurium is extremely toxic to humans and animals.
The scent of lavender is renowned for helping people fall asleep, so why not upgrade from essential oils to a potted lavender plant in your bedroom? “Lavender represents calmness and serenity, with the added benefit of aromatherapy properties that promote sleep and relaxation,” says McCurdy. The catch: Lavender prefers full sunlight, so it’s best positioned in a south-facing window that gets at least three to four hours of bright, direct sunlight per day. Give it a drink of water once every two weeks, or when the top inch of soil dries out.
Good for pets and kids? Not recommended. Though trace amounts are likely safe, cats, in particular, could be harmed due to linalool in lavender.
If you’re new to plant parenthood, start with a pothos. Not only is it another plant that produces oxygen at night, it’s very forgiving and easy to take care of. “It’s incredibly low maintenance, which is probably why you see it everywhere—from homes to offices to every space in between,” says Lalicata. Even if you forget an occasional watering session, pothos plants will likely still reward you with new leaves on their trailing vines.
Aim to water your pothos once every week to two weeks, depending on how much light it is receiving. (More sunlight equals more frequent waterings.) Pothos prefer medium light and would thrive in a sun-soaked bedroom window, but if space is limited, they’ll survive in low light too. They’re beautifully dramatic when hung.
Good for pets and kids? No. If you have furry friends or kids, consider keeping your pothos out of reach in a hanging planter—pothos is toxic to pets and people.
Hello, vacation vibes! Pretty, playful ponytail palms bring a dramatic boho feel to a bedroom. If you’re looking for a tall plant to fill out your bedroom, look no further: Ponytail palms can grow to be anywhere from 3 to 5 feet inside. They’re essentially foolproof to care for, too, needing only to be watered once every two to three weeks, since they store water in their trunk.
They hail from a dry region in Mexico, so they’re used to drought conditions. While they prefer bright light, your palm won’t hold it against you if your bedroom provides less. Best of all, though, palms are celebrated for their oxygen-boosting abilities.
Good for pets and kids? Yes! The ponytail palm is nontoxic, so it’s safe for pets and people.
There are several reasons calathea (also called prayer plants) are perfect for a bedroom, but we’re particularly charmed by one personality trait in particular: These lush, vibrantly striped plants seem to have a circadian rhythm just like you. “They’re a plant that will ‘get up’ with you in the morning and curl back down to sleep when you do,” says McCurdy. How fitting for a bedroom! Another taller plant, prayer plants top out at about 2 feet. Calatheas prefer indirect light and require a fair amount of attention to make sure they are not over- or underwatered. Still, the work is worth it, since they are pros at oxygenating and humidifying the air, which promotes better sleep.
Good for pets and kids? Yes! The calathea is nontoxic, so it’s safe for pets and people.
Is your green thumb still in training? “Another go-to plant that’s low maintenance and can tolerate low light is the structural ZZ plant, characterized by its thick waxy green leaves,” says Lalicata. “It’s a perfect choice for beginner plant parents.” Since the ZZ plant, or zamioculcas zamiifolia, is technically a drought-tolerant succulent, the easiest way to kill it is by being an overbearing plant parent and overwatering it.
Look closely, and you might spot large potato-like rhizomes under the surface of its potting mix. Since it evolved in drier conditions than most, ZZ plants have rhizomes that store water to help it survive droughts in its natural habitat. Depending on how much light it is receiving, a ZZ plant only needs to be watered about once every three weeks (more light means it needs more water). Just make sure to allow the potting mix to dry out completely between waterings. “Give it a spot in medium light in your bedroom and enjoy the pop of greenery for years to come,” says Lalicata. Over time, your ZZ plant could reach heights of 3 to 4 feet. However, if you have pets or small children this plant might not be for you, as the ZZ plant is poisonous if ingested.
Good for pets and kids? No. The ZZ plant contains calcium oxalate, which can be toxic to pets and people in higher doses.
Lemon Lime Dracaena
For a burst of a vibrant citrus color in your indoor jungle, opt for a lemon lime dracaena, nicknamed the “corn plant” due to its resemblance to the leaves of a cornstalk and tall stature. Technically a member of the asparagus family, dracaenas are easy to maintain, as long as you keep the environment stable. It likes to be watered about once a week when the soil feels dry. To make your dracaena particularly happy, give it a mist every few days too. In return, it’ll reward you with freshly oxygenated air that’ll have you sleeping soundly.
Good for pets and kids? No. Unfortunately, dracaenas are toxic to house pets and people.
Are Plants Good for the Bedroom?
Short answer: Yes, it is OK to have plants in your bedroom. More than OK! Study after study have concluded that adding plants to your bedroom has positive effects on both your well-being and your sleep.
One of the primary benefits of having plants in the bedroom is the lush and enlivening feel that greenery can bring to a space. Some—like the snake plant, spider plant and pothos—produce oxygen at night. That extra boost of oxygen freshens the air in your bedroom, encouraging sounder sleep. If you’re concerned about houseplants emitting carbon dioxide at night, rest assured that, as part of the photosynthesis process, the majority of plants absorb CO2 during the day, and ultimately absorb more than they release.
The Benefits of Bedroom Plants
Take it from this study, which reports that just one houseplant can greatly reduce stress and anxiety. Lalicata explains the phenomenon this way. “You know how when you’re feeling a little low, a walk outside can do wonders and bring your mood back up? That’s because when we get in touch with nature, we reduce mental fatigue and stress, and increase relaxation and self-esteem,” she says. “Even brief exposure to nature has been shown to make us happier and more relaxed. Studies have shown touching real foliage can even elicit an unconscious calming effect.” Yet another study found that just 15 minutes of interaction with green plants may help reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) levels—which can help with your ability to wind down at the end of the day.
Boosting Well-being, Creativity and Productivity
It’s proven. Studies have shown that plants activate the right side of the brain, boosting productivity and creativity. To prepare yourself for a big day ahead, consider spending a few minutes in the morning tending to your plants.
Facilitating Better Sleep
While NASA has nixed the theory that plants remove pollutants in the air—“It would take a veritable forest to purify your entire home,” says McCurdy—researchers have found that there’s a calming quality to plants, encouraging better sleep. Surrounding yourself with plants reduces the time it takes you to fall asleep and improves the quality of your sleep by reducing the number of times you come out of deep sleep during the night.
We can’t choose the best plant is for your bedroom—that’s up to you. Narrow down your choices based on whether you have pets, plus your level of light and comfort with required levels of care, then choose one that appeals to you. Some plants are more forgiving than others, but all provide a boost in well-being and help encourage better zzz’s.