Best plants for a bedroom

Chamaedorea elegans Parlour palm. Getty Images

House plants in a bedroom can bring nature inside and create an attractive, relaxing environment. Studies have shown that house plants can reduce stress levels and improve mood. This suggests that growing plants in your bedroom could help promote a restful atmosphere conducive to a good night’s sleep. Some house plants also regulate humidity levels, and those with high leaf surface area can purify the air by removing dust and other fine particles.

While there is good evidence to support the benefits of house plants for improving wellbeing, research is ongoing to assess their effect on indoor air quality. Previous studies on the ability of plants to purify the air through absorbing VOCs were undertaken in sealed chambers in conditions very different to a bedroom, so the results are not directly comparable to a domestic setting.

Furthermore, though plants do absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, they only do so in small amounts. In order to make a significant difference to indoor air quality, we would need far more plants than would be practical. This also means there are unlikely to be any problems associated with plants producing carbon dioxide at night, as the amounts of gas emitted are so low.

Choosing a house plant for your bedroom

The wide range of house plants available today means there are plants to suit all bedrooms. Before you buy, it’s important to consider the light levels, humidity, temperature and space in your bedroom, and how much time you have to care for your house plants, so the species you choose will thrive in their new home.

Best bedroom plants

 

Jade plant (Crassula ovata)

Jade plant, lucky plant, money plant or money tree, (Crassula ovata)
Jade plant (Crassula ovata). Getty Images

The jade plant is a succulent subshrub, sometimes known as the money plant. It has glossy jade-green leaves with red margins and stems that become woody as the plant ages. It’s suitable for household temperatures from 15°-25°C and tolerates infrequent watering. For smaller spaces, try growing Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’, a compact form which typically reaches around 80cm in height. It’s worth noting that jade plant is toxic.

Height x Spread: depends on variety
Best for: warm bedroom, full sun or dappled light, low humidity

 

Moonstones (Pachyphytum oviferum)

Pachyphytum oviferum moonstones Madrona Nursery stand plant portrait 010719 01072019 01/07/19 01/07/2019 1 1st July 2019 Summer RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2019 Floral Marquee photographer Torie Chugg
Moonstones (Pachyphytum oviferum). Photographer: Torie Chugg

This unusual clump-forming succulent has silver-blue fleshy leaves that resemble rounded pebbles. It thrives in a sunny spot, such as a south-facing bedroom windowsill. In late winter, moonstones grows long stems bearing orange-red flowers.

H x S: 10cm x 30cm

Best for: warm bedroom, sunny windowsill, low humidity

 

Ox-tongue (Gasteria species)

Gasteria batesiana perennial succulent growing in a terracotta clay pot gravel mulch at base of plant from South Africa W and S Lockyer 29/07/15 29/07/2015 290715 29072015 29 29th July 2015 RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2015 website photographer Torie Chugg plant portraits Summer
Gasteria batesiana. Photographer: Torie Chugg

Ox-tongue is a stemless succulent perennial related to aloe vera. It’s easy to grow and thrives on a bright bedroom windowsill out of direct sunlight. Its ability to tolerate lower light levels as well as bright light makes ox-tongue an extremely versatile house plant.

H x S: 30cm x 30cm

Best for: warm bedroom, bright indirect light, low humidity

African spear plant (Sansevieria cylindrica)

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African spear plant (Sanservieria cylindrica) growing with cact on a table

With long spear-like leaves similar to those of its better-known relative, mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata var. laurentii), the African spear plant is a low maintenance house plant suitable for bright areas out of direct sunlight, although it can tolerate shadier spots. The African spear plant is harmful if eaten, so keep away from pets and children.

H x S: 75cm x 30cm

Best for: bright indirect light, warm sunny bedroom

 

Mind-your-own-business (Soleirolia soleirolii)

2048x1365-Bedroom-houseplants-SEO-GettyImages-467140582
Mind-your-own-business. Getty Images

With its mass of tiny green trailing leaves, mind-your-own-business forms attractive mounds of foliage. It thrives on bright windowsills out of direct sunlight and can be kept in check by regular trimming. Better suited to growing in a pot of its own due to its vigorous nature, mind-your-own-business is an ideal plant to use in repeated containers to create a contemporary, minimalist design.

H x S: 5cm x 90cm

Best for: filtered light, regular watering and misting

 

Zebra cactus (Haworthia fasciata)

Cute zebra plant or Haworthia fasciata in a small white pot
Zebra plant (Haworthia fasciata) in a small white pot. Getty Images

This small rosette-forming succulent has jazzy white stripes on the underside of its green fleshy leaves, which give zebra cactus its common name. An undemanding house plant, it’s perfect for a windowsill out of direct sunlight in a bright, airy bedroom.

H x S: 10cm x 40cm

Best for: bright indirect light, well-ventilated bedroom

 

Prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura)

Maranta leuconeura prayer plant hanging hang hung houseplant houseplants 180418 18042018 18/04/18 18/04/2018 18 18th April 2018 Spring Jamie Song Hanging Houseplants location Rotherhithe London photographer Sarah Cuttle
Prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura). Photographer: Sarah Cuttle

With a striking contract between the dark green leaves, yellow midribs and red veins, the prayer plant is an attractive choice for a bright bedroom on a windowsill out of direct sunlight. The leaves close up at night, as if in prayer, revealing the red undersides. Prayer plants need humid conditions, so mist regularly or stand the pot in a tray of dampened pebbles.

H x S: 60cm x 60cm

Best for: bright indirect light, sunny bedroom, away from cold draughts

 

Cape sundew (Drosera capensis)

Drosera capensis Hewitt-Cooper Carnivorous Plants stand plant portrait 020718 02072018 02/07/18 02/07/2018 2 2nd July 2018 Summer RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2018 Floral Marquee photographer Paul Debois
Cape sundew (Drosera capensis). Photographer: Paul Debois

This carnivorous perennial has long hairy leaves covered in a sticky mucilage which traps unwary insects. Ideal to grow on a windowsill near other plants, the cape sundew will help prevent the build-up of fungus gnats. As its natural habitat is in marshes and other wet places, it grows best during spring and summer when the pot is sat in a saucer of rainwater.

H x S: 20cm x 20cm

Best for: bright warm bedroom, sunny windowsill, near other house plants

 

Parlour palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

Chamaedorea elegans plant in white flower pot stands on white for planters pedestal on gray background. Stylish and minimalistic urban jungle interior. Home decoration with green plants. Parlour palm.
Parlour palm (Chamaedorea elegans). Getty Images

This elegant palm has lush light green fronds. It tolerates low light levels and dry air, making it ideal for a shady bedroom. The parlour palm will benefit from regular misting, but is otherwise a low-maintenance plant.

H x S: 1.2m x 60cm

Best for: bedroom in light shade, away from radiators

 

Wax flower (Hoya carnosa)

Hoya carnosa Tricolor houseplant house plant table interior inside 260919 26092019 26/09/19 26/09/2019 26 26th September 2019 Autumn Houseplants A-Z Studio set-up shoot location Peckham London photographer Sarah Cuttle
Wax flower (Hoya carnosa). Photographer: Sarah Cuttle

This evergreen climber has waxy leaves and heads of attractive white scented flowers with pink centres. It can be trained up a wall or over a loop of wire, or simply left to cascade down from a shelf or hanging basket. Hoya sap is toxic.

H x S: 4m x 4m

Best for: a light bedroom with space to train, bright but indirect sunlight

 

Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra eliator)

Aspidistra eliator
Aspidistra eliator

Ideal for a dry bedroom with low light levels, the cast-iron plant has elegant, dark green strap-like leaves with creamy stripes in the variegated form. As its name suggests, it can tolerate a certain amount of neglect, making it a good house plant for beginners.

H x S: 60cm x 60cm

Best for: shady bedroom, low humidity

 

Living stone plant (Lithops species)

Lithops flowering stones living stones yellow flower succulent succulents plant portrait 081018 08102018 08/10/18 08/10/2018 8 8th October 2018 Autumn Monty Don Longmeadow photographer Jason Ingram
Lithops flowering. Photographer: Jason Ingram

Resembling small pebbles, these intriguing succulents need very little attention, so are ideal for children to grow in their bedrooms. Once plants are three or more years old, they may produce white or yellow daisy-like flowers in late summer and autumn.

H x S: 5cm x 5cm

Best for: bright bedroom, low humidity, south or east-facing windowsill

 

Dwarf umbrella tree (Schefflera arboricola)

Schefflera arboricola leaves close up also known as umbrella tree plant. Natural green foliage background.
Schefflera arboricola also known as umbrella tree plant. Getty Images

Also known as Heptapleurum arboricola, the dwarf umbrella tree has dark green or variegated hand-shaped leaves on tall stems, forming a canopy and giving the plant its common name.  With good tolerance to warm, centrally-heated rooms and the ability to cope in low light levels (though it grows best in filtered sun), this evergreen shrub is an low-maintenance house plant. Be aware that the umbrella tree is toxic to humans and pest, and is a skin allergen.

H x S: 1-2.5m x 0.5-1.2m (depends on variety)

Best for: bright warm bedroom, out of direct sunlight

 

Donkey’s tail (Sedum morganianum)

Sedum morganianum burro’s tail hanging hang hung houseplant houseplants 180418 18042018 18/04/18 18/04/2018 18 18th April 2018 Spring Jamie Song Hanging Houseplants location Rotherhithe London photographer Sarah Cuttle
Sedum morganianum. Photographer: Sarah Cuttle

With its grey-green fleshy leaves trailing over the edge of the pot in tail-like strands, this unusual sedum is an eye-catching addition to a low-maintenance indoor hanging basket. As a succulent, donkey’s tail can cope with direct sunlight and infrequent watering, making it ideal for sunny bedrooms.

H x S: 20cm x 50cm

Best for: sunny east or south-facing bedroom windowsill, low humidity

 

Golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)

Echinocactus grusonii Ottershaw Cacti stand exhibitor Plant portrait 160616 16062016 16/06/16 16/06/2016 16 16th June 2016 Summer Gardeners' World Live 2016 Birmingham photographer Sarah Cuttle horizontal succulent cacti cactus
Echinocactus grusonii. Photographer: Sarah Cuttle

Long golden spines protruding from vertical ribs protect this attractive rounded cactus. Favouring a dry, sunny environment, the golden barrel cactus is perfect for a well-lit bedroom away from cold draughts.

H x S: 50cm x 50cm

Best for: warm bedroom, low humidity, bright windowsill

 

Dragon tree (Dracaena marginata)

Dracaena marginata Madagascar dragon tree Begonia Lucerna Collection of houseplant houseplants group grouped together in bathroom house plant care practical Houseplants with Joe Bagley 040422 04042022 04/04/22 04/04/2022 4 4th April 2022 Spring location Loughborough photographer Jason Ingram
Dragon tree (Dracaena marginata). Photographer: Jason Ingram

With long red-edged leaves cascading from a woody stem, the dragon tree makes an attractive evergreen house plant. It thrives in bright, indirect light but can tolerate a slightly shadier spot. All parts of the dragon tree are toxic to pets.

H x S: 1.5m x 1m

Best for: bright or semi-shaded spot out of direct sunlight, low to moderate humidity

 

Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

close up Epipremnum pinnatum Aureum on fireplace mantelpiece houseplant Houseplants with Isabelle Palmer 270417 27042017 27/04/17 27/04/2017 27 27th April 2017 Spring photographer Sarah Cuttle vertical
Epipremnum aureum on fireplace mantelpiece. Photographer: Sarah Cuttle

Also known as devil’s ivy, golden pothos is a robust evergreen climber with dark green heart-shaped leaves streaked with yellow. With its glossy foliage trailing from a hanging basket in indirect light or shade, golden pothos is ideal to create a fresh jungle vibe in a living room or bedroom. It’s worth noting that all parts of devil’s ivy are toxic, and it’s an eye and skin irritant.

H x S: 2m x 2m

Best for: bright or shady bedroom out of full sun, low humidity

 

Bunny-ears cactus (Opuntia microdasys)

Bunny ear cactus looks like a lively family or teacher and students on the shelf of the balcony.It's in the red flower pot. There are some greens behind.
Bunny ear cactus. Getty Images

A real sun-lover, this attractive cactus loves to spend the summer on a bright, south or west-facing windowsill and in a cool room in winter. It requires very little watering, making it an easy house plant to look after. Its small, easily-dislodged hair-like prickles are skin and eye irritants, so it’s best kept away from children and pets, and handled with gloves and other protective equipment.

H x S: 50cm x 45cm

Best for: sunny bedroom windowsill in summer, cool room in winter

 

Painted leaf begonia (Begonia species)

Bright colorful leaves on a Painted Begonia plant.
Painted begonia plant. Getty Images

With their colourful evergreen foliage and bold patterns, painted leaf begonias are perfect to add cheer to indoor displays all year round. These dramatic perennials grow best in a bright spot out of direct sunlight. They do like humid conditions, which can be created by standing the pot on a tray of moist expanded clay granules or pebbles, but don’t mist plants. Begonias are toxic for humans and animals, especially the roots.

H x S: 50cm x 50cm

Best for: bright spot with filtered light, away from draughts

 

Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

Potted evergreen ponytail palm (Beaucarnea Recurvata) isolated on grey background
Potted evergreen ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata). Getty Images

The ponytail palm has an elegant spray of strap-like leaves emerging from a bulbous stem. Originating from the Mexican desert, this tolerant house plant thrives in a sunny spot and requires little watering.

H x S: 2.5m x 1m, up to 4.5m in its natural habitat

Best for: sunny spot in a bright bedroom, low humidity

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