A Guide to Bringing Plants into Your Bedroom

Posted by Rachel Marshall - Brand Manager on 27th May 2022

A Guide to Bringing Plants into Your Bedroom

Houseplants are having a bit of a moment. From cactuses in the kitchen, to succulents in the bathroom, it seems that we just can’t get enough of that homegrown greenery and the Insta-worthy look they give our rooms.

If you’re a firm fan of houseplants, chances are that your collection has reached your bedroom by now. And who can blame you?

Not only do they bring a beautiful splash of colour into a room, plants can also breathe life into even the plainest of décors, making them a cost-effective choice for rental homes, student accommodation or for homeowners on a budget.

But should you keep plants in the place where you sleep?

And if so, which plants are the most practical and safest options for you and your home?

Bedroom plants and your health

Scientists have spent a whole heap of time studying the benefits of living with plants, finding that surrounding yourself with greenery does not only make your home look great, it may also benefit your productivity, help reduce stress and improve the very air you breath.

In fact, one very well-known and oft referenced NASA study, conducted back in 1989, found that plants can help to reduce the presence of pollutants such as benzene (found in plastics and tobacco smoke), formaldehyde (in everything from synthetic fabrics to tissues)and ammonia (often used in cleaning products) in the atmosphere. 

They additionally found that common houseplants can help to remove other pollutants commonly found in paint, rubber, leather and glues.

While these toxins likely exist in amounts so small that they do not really have a hugely damaging effect on your day-to-day health, NASA’s researchers found that eliminating these toxins can help people to feel more alert and awake.

They also surmised that having fewer toxins in your local atmosphere could reduce irritation in your eyes and nose and even limit those niggling headaches that you just cannot explain.

The best bedroom plants

So, whether you are an astronaut or in admin, it’s clear that plants can be great for your health, while really brightening up the place too.

However, choosing the right plants for your bedroom can be a challenge, with plenty to consider; not least, which of our leafy friends will do the most to improve air quality in your bedroom?

The best bedroom plants not only help to remove toxins from the air around us, they also take in carbon dioxide (also known asCO2) and produce oxygen through the process of photosynthesis.

This improves the quality of the air in your sleeping space, which could, in turn, help you to enjoy a more refreshing night’s sleep and wake feeling rejuvenated and ready to face the day.

According to NASA’s houseplant boffins, the plants that do the best job of removing chemical nasties from your surroundings – a process known as phytoremediation– include the perennially popular rubber plant, Boston ferns, spider plants and Ficus tree species.

Numerous palms were also found to be highly effective in improving air quality too, including the areca, parlour and bamboo palm.

Dracaenas, upright tree-like plants with woody stems and long drooping sword-shaped leaves, are also excellent toxin-removers, seeing off everything from formaldehyde to toluene.

Possibly one of the best plants for oxygen at night is the seriously 70's snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), also known (somewhat offensively) as ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’ for its sharp tipped, long leaves.

Easy to care for, the sturdy snake plant has a cool, upright shape and bright green and yellow fleshy leaves.

The aforementioned spider plant, meanwhile, is not only considered to be one of the best plants for bedroom oxygen, it is also great to look at and a fun project for the green fingered, producing ‘pups’, or baby plants, that are easily snipped off and potted to make new plants to fill your home or give as gifts.

More benefits of indoor plants

With more and more of us working from home, many people now need their bedroom to double up as an office.

It is not ideal – bringing the stress of work into the room which is supposed to be used for relaxing and unwinding can impact your sleep schedule and make your bedroom feel far less than the sanctuary it is supposed to be.

Enter houseplants!

Not only can indoor plants help to improve the look and feel of your room and make the air around you better quality, but experts also think that they can do much more for your work and rest environment too.

For example, a 2015 study found that having plants in your home or office environment can contribute to reduced feelings of stress, with the act of repotting a plant seen to reduce heart rate and blood pressure compared to completing a short computer-based task, even in those au fait with computer work.REFERENCE

Another small study meanwhile, has shown that being in a room with a real, living plant (just say no to plastic!) can improve concentration, while numerous studies point to the presence of plants improving productivity.

If you’re feeling down in the dumps or under the weather, houseplants may even have the power to help you to feel better.

Research has shown that caring for plants can help improve symptoms of depression, and even dementia, with some forward-thinking doctors even ‘prescribing’ plants to patients with anxiety and depressive illnesses.

A 2006 study, meanwhile, showed that simply being able to see plants and flowers while getting over an illnessor injury improved patients’ recovery time.

Plants that should not be in the bedroom

If you know your plants, you have probably heard talk of them releasing CO2 into the atmosphere overnight, and perhaps you are a little concerned about the potential for carbon dioxide poisoning or even suffocation.

Worry no more – this commonly repeated urban myth is just that, one of those tales that has little truth to it.

It’s true that without a light source, photosynthesis stops and, and therefore the vast majority of plants stop or slow down their hard work after lights out, respiring carbon dioxide.

They do, however, work hard all day to remove carbon dioxide from your surroundings and release oxygen, helping to improve air quality overall.

Additionally, houseplants are, by nature, extremely small compared to their forest dwelling cousins, and as such they actually produce far less CO2 than the average sleeping human.

If you’re still at all concerned about sharing your overnight oxygen with plants, there are a few that are extra helpful, continuing to release oxygen, even in the dark.

Some of the best plants for bedroom oxygen at night include the snake plant and spider plant, as well as aloe vera.

That said, while your plants are not going to steal your oxygen supplies overnight, there are certain plants that are best kept to other rooms of the house.

In particular, strongly fragranced flowering specimens such as hyacinth, narcissus (daffodils are part of this family) and jasmine are thought to have the capacity to disturb sleep with their overwhelming floral aroma. For this reason, it is a good idea to choose cut flowers for the bedroom carefully too.

The rules of Feng Shui also prohibit plants in the bedroom. According to experts in this Chinese tradition, the vibrant upward growing nature of plants contradicts our sleeping energy, making it difficult to drop off. REFERENCE

So, if you are tossing and turning at night, consider the rules of Feng Shui and try banishing your favourite greenery to another room – it could just be the change you need.

Bedroom plants and your pets

An increasing number of us share our bedroom with a beloved animal. Whether it is a curious cat or a daft dog, your pets may well have taken a liking to your houseplants.

Plants are not too risky in those places where you can keep a close eye on them, but it is a different matter in the bedroom, where the temptation could be to indulge in a midnight snack while you slumber.

Not only can a nibble from an errant pet leave your favourite plant with unsightly,ragged leaves, an overenthusiastic cat or dog (or house rabbit!) can easily pull a plant over, making a horrible mess and interrupting a good night’s sleep.

Worst of all, a great number of common houseplants can be poisonous to our pets, causing unpleasant tummy troubles, uncomfortable rashes or, in some cases, even death.

Cats, in particular, find plants with long, grass-like leaves all too tempting. However, many of these – dracaena included, should be treated with caution.

Likewise,the ever-popular monstera deliciosa, rubber plants, Ficus trees (including the fiddle leaf fig) and peace lilies are not recommended in bedrooms where cats roam free.WHY? REFERENCE

Many of these plants can be poisonous to dogs, with smaller dogs or those with more delicate bellies especially at risk.

In addition to complications caused by eating plants, some pets will be affected by simply brushing past or rubbing themselves on certain species of plants.

Taking a risk with your pets and your plants simply is not worth it. Therefore, we recommend choosing non-toxic bedroom plants that are known to be safe for cats and dogs.

These include:

  • The eye-catching Chinese money plant with its coin-shaped leaves
  • The stunning Calathea, which has broad, almost graphic leaves that close at night, earning it the common name ‘prayer plant’.
  • Aspidistra
  • The maidenhair fern
  • Parlour palm.

Some succulents (but not all) are pet safe too.

Additionally, it is always sensible to buy plants from a reputable retailer who can advise you on the best houseplants to live in harmony with your pets.

And of course, if in doubt, simply pop that plant up where your pet cannot reach it – on top of your wardrobe or on another high piece of furniture.

Plants for challenging rooms

So, you have researched hard, found plants that you love the look of, and which are going to help clean the air around you.

But no sooner have you installed them on your chest of drawers and next to your bed but they have started to look a bit sad. Drooping and browning or dropped leaves can be a sign of a plant that is not getting enough light.

First things first, make sure you are opening those curtains wide every morning. Not only does giving your plant plenty of natural light help it to thrive, it also makes sure that it is working at its hardest. 

That sunlight is all important for photosynthesis, the process by which your houseplant takes in carbon dioxide and releases lovely oxygen into your bedroom.

If your bedroom does not receive a lot of natural light, there are still plenty of great plants to choose from.

Ivy, for example, tolerates shaded areas and can, perhaps surprisingly, be grown inside. It is also one of the plants that is considered to be an especially good oxygen producer, is easy to look after and – bonus – hanging plants in bedroom spaces look fantastic, helping to fill awkward, bare wall space.

Aspidistras (also known as the cast iron plant), popularised by the Victorians and their often gloomy home interiors, is also one tough cookie, growing strong even in shadowy spaces.

One of the best indoor plants for dark rooms, numerous types of aspidistraare available, with interesting leaf patterns that really work in contemporary bedrooms.

Houseplants that work hard

Still not convinced that indoor plants are worth the effort? For some of the less green fingered amongst us caring for plants can, quite honestly, be a bit of a faff.

But what if those plants didn’t just look lovely and improve the air we breathe? What if they could do more to make our lives just that little bit better?

Medicinal uses for plants

Some indoor plants have extra uses that can make all that watering worthwhile. Take the aloe vera for example. Not only is it an effective oxygenator, the aloe vera’s fleshy leaves contain a substance that, crushed into a gel, you will pay good money for at your local health food store.

This gel can be applied to minor cuts or burns, including sun burn. Running low? Chances are your aloe vera has laid down pups, which can be re-potted and grown into more useful, adult-sized plants.

Also known as holy basil, the Tulsi plant is a herb that can be grown indoors and which releases oxygen as you sleep.

Popular in South East Asian cookery, Tulsi is a popular Ayurvedic herb used to make soothing teas with many perceived benefits. It is also very high in vitamin C, calcium, zinc and iron.

A well-known natural sleep aid, lavender is thought to soothe even the most restless mind. Popping a potted lavender in your bedroom, therefore, may help to bring you the restful night’s sleep that you need while saving you money on pricey pillow sprays and scented candles.

Decorating with plants

Bringing houseplants into the bedroom can be an affordable and easy way to spruce up a tired space.

And with a whole host of lovely pots and planters available, even cheap and cheerful new plants grown from cuttings can become something really special.

We love vines for bedroom colour. The golden Pothos, for example, has bright, lime green leaves that look fantastic tumbling over the side of a wardrobe or from a hanging planter.

As a bonus, this vibrant plant tolerates low light quite well, making it ideal for darker corners.

Love bright colours? Not only do gerberas produce those cheerful orange, pink or yellow daisy-like flowers that are so popular in cut bunches, they are also excellent plants for purifying the air in a bedroom.

Likewise, the affordable begonia is an ideal choice for lovers of colour, combining smart leaves with bright blooms. Houseplant begonias are also fairly tolerant of low light.

Likewise, many orchids, available to buy everywhere from supermarkets to specialist growers, are also shade loving yet produce stunning flowers once or, if you are lucky, twice a year.

Plants for children's bedrooms

For children’s bedrooms, unusual plants such as cacti, succulents or carnivorous plants such as the Venus fly trap or trumpet pitcher can be a fun option.

We particularly like the Rhipsalis, a rainforest cactus that does not look like a cactus, drooping prettily from a hanging planter, this Crayola crayon-green plant hails from the rainforest and therefore survives well in darker rooms.

In our experience, kids love terrariums too.

A fish bowl or jar filled with ferns, succulents, air plants or peperomia, for example, terrariums are like a mini greenhouse for your bedroom.

Your little ones can get hands-on planting their terrarium, adding in toy dinosaurs to create a fun prehistoric diorama and giving their plants a regular spritz with a water spray.

Do bear in mind, however, that children will be left alone with these plants and, like your pets, kids can get curious when it comes to greenery.

Be sure to choose non-toxic plants, such as the African violet or spider plant, and avoid spiney cacti in bedrooms designed for young children. Older kids should be advised on how to safely live with - and care for - their greenery.


Is it true that you shouldn’t keep plants in the bedroom? | BBC Science Focus Magazine

You shouldn’t keep plants in your bedroom – Myth or reality? (gardeningonadime.com)


21 Plants That Are Safe for Cats and Dogs | Architectural Digest

Houseplants for shady rooms / RHS Gardening

Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: a randomized crossover study - PMC (nih.gov)

IJERPH | Free Full-Text | Real Foliage Plants as Visual Stimuli to Improve Concentration and Attention in Elementary Students | HTML (mdpi.com)

Interior Plants May Improve Worker Productivity and Reduce Stress in a Windowless Environment | Journal of Environmental Horticulture (allenpress.com)

‘Ey up petal – how docs are prescribing plants to keep Mancs (k)ale and hearty - Healthier Manchester

Horticultural therapy in a psychiatric in-patient setting - PMC (nih.gov)

(PDF) Health Benefits of Gardens in Hospitals (researchgate.net)

Safe Plants For Children - Growing Houseplants In Children's Bedroom (gardeningknowhow.com)

The 10 Best Plants for Your Bedroom (thespruce.com)

Do you know which plants release Oxygen at Night? (fnp.com)

authors profile
Rachel Marshall
Brand Manager
Rachel has worked at Bensons for Beds for 4 years and has almost 20 year’s experience in marketing. In her role at Bensons, Rachel looks after all things brand including PR, brand communications, brand identity, brand partnerships and new product launches.
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