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 to promote a restful atmosphere conducive to a good night’s sleep. House plants can also help to regulate humidity levels, and those with high total leaf surface area and rough-textured foliage can, if grown in sufficient quantities, help to trap fine dust and particulate matter.
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.
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Best bedroom plants
Jade plant (Crassula ovata)
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)
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)
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)
With long spear-like leaves similar to those of its better-known relative, mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata), 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)
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)
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 15cm
Best for: bright indirect light, well-ventilated bedroom
Prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura)
With a striking contrast 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: 30cm x 60cm
Best for: bright indirect light, sunny bedroom, away from cold draughts
Cape sundew (Drosera capensis)
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 if 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)
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)
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.
H x S: 45cm x 45cm
Best for: a light bedroom with space to train, bright but indirect sunlight
Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)
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)
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)
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 a low-maintenance house plant. Be aware that the dwarf 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)
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)
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: 30cm x 30cm
Best for: warm bedroom, low humidity, bright windowsill
Dragon tree (Dracaena marginata)
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, average to high humidity
Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
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. Golden pothos loves humidity, so will thrive in a bathroom if there is enough space, but can tolerate much drier conditions, too. 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 80cm
Best for: bright or shady area out of full sun
Bunny-ears cactus (Opuntia microdasys)
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)
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)
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