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worst plants for bedroom

The Worst Plants for Your Bedroom (Air Quality and Smell)

Plants in your bedroom can have a big impact on the air quality and smell of the space. While many plants are known to improve indoor air quality by removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), there are certain plants that emit their own VOCs, which can be harmful to you and your loved ones.

Harmful VOC-Emitting Plants in the Bedroom

Research from the University of Georgia’s Department of Horticulture has identified several popular house plants that release VOCs, which can compromise air quality and cause allergies or respiratory issues.

If you want to maintain a clean and pure atmosphere in your bedroom, it’s best to keep the following plants out:

  1. Peace Lily: While this plant is known for its beautiful white flowers, it emits VOCs such as benzene and acetone, which can irritate the respiratory system and cause headaches.
  2. Areca Palm: This tropical plant is a common choice for indoor decoration, but it releases VOCs including formaldehyde, which can cause skin irritation and difficulty breathing.
  3. Weeping Fig: Also known as the ficus tree, this popular house plant emits VOCs such as benzene and trichloroethylene, which have been linked to respiratory issues.
  4. Snake Plant: While this plant is praised for its ability to improve indoor air quality, it does release small amounts of VOCs during the night, which can disrupt sleep and cause allergies.

Creating a Safe and Healthy Bedroom Environment

Opting for plants such as spider plants, Boston ferns, or bamboo palms can help purify the air and create a calming atmosphere without compromising your well-being.

Toxic and Poisonous Plants for the Bedroom

English Ivy

English Ivy is a popular houseplant known for its lush, cascading foliage. However, it contains substances called glycoside hederin and polyacetylene, which can cause skin irritation, difficulty breathing, and even poisoning if ingested. It’s advisable to choose a different plant for your bedroom.


Oleander, with its beautiful flowers and evergreen leaves, is highly toxic. All parts of the plant, including the flowers, stems, and leaves, contain potent cardiac glycosides that can be harmful if ingested. It’s essential to keep Oleander out of reach, especially if you have curious pets or young children.

Sago Palm

The Sago Palm may add a tropical touch to your indoor space, but it’s extremely toxic to both humans and animals. The entire plant, particularly the seeds, contains cycasin and other toxins that can cause severe liver failure if ingested. Avoid the risk altogether by selecting a non-toxic alternative for your bedroom.


Caladium plants are known for their vibrant, heart-shaped leaves and are a popular choice for indoor gardens. However, all parts of the Caladium plant contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause skin irritation, mouth swelling, and difficulty swallowing if accidentally ingested. To ensure the safety of your household, opt for a different plant option.

Plants with Irritating Sap or Odor for the Bedroom

Some indoor plants may have irritating sap or emit unpleasant odors that can be disruptive to your sleep environment. Here are some plants to avoid if you want to create a peaceful and comfortable bedroom atmosphere:

  • African Milk Tree (Euphorbia Trigona): This unique succulent has a milky sap that can cause severe skin irritation and even blindness if it comes into contact with the eyes. While its striking appearance may be tempting, it’s best to keep this plant out of your bedroom to prevent any discomfort or potential harm.
indoor plants with irritating sap

High-Maintenance Plants for the Bedroom

High-maintenance plants may require specific lighting conditions, regular pruning, or precise watering schedules, which can be challenging to maintain in a bedroom environment.

If you’re looking to keep things simple and hassle-free, it’s best to avoid plants like Ficus trees, orchids, and banana tree plants.

  • Ficus trees have waxy leaves that attract dust and need regular cleaning to keep them looking their best.
  • Orchids, although beautiful, require specific lighting and humidity levels to thrive, making them more demanding in terms of care.
  • Banana tree plants, on the other hand, have specific watering requirements and can be more susceptible to pests.

Smelly Plants to Avoid in the Bedroom

While many plants have a pleasant fragrance, there are some with strong and unpleasant smells that can be off-putting in the bedroom. The Bradford Pear tree, Fritillaria imperialis, and Ginkgo biloba are examples of plants with distinctive odors that resemble a dead fish, skunk, or stomach acid.

Strong Odors that Can Affect Your Sleep

  • The Bradford Pear tree produces a foul-smelling odor similar to rotting fish, which can be overwhelming and unpleasant in an enclosed space like the bedroom.
  • The Fritillaria imperialis plant emits an odor that is often described as resembling a skunk. This strong smell can linger in the air and negatively impact the overall ambiance of the bedroom.
  • Ginkgo biloba has been known to produce an odor similar to stomach acid. This smell can be quite off-putting and may disrupt your ability to relax and fall asleep.

Best Plants for Allergy-Sufferers

  • Snake Plant: Known for its air-purifying properties, the snake plant actively removes allergens from the air, making it an excellent choice for allergy-prone individuals.
  • Bamboo Palm: This palm plant not only adds a touch of tropical beauty to your bedroom but also helps to filter and clean the air, reducing allergens.
  • Areca Palm: Another palm plant that is known for its ability to filter harmful toxins and improve air quality, making it a suitable choice for individuals with allergies.

Now check out our article on The Best Indoor Plants for Purifying the Air.

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