These 10 Houseplants Clear the Air (Literally) and Thrive Indoors

Best House Plants

Ada Oguntodu

There are few things more game-changing in the realm of home décor than adding a touch of green to your abode. While the color itself is having a moment, we're referring to live botanicals and fresh-cut blooms. Whether you're interested in a large potted tree for the living room or a vibrant bouquet for the bedroom, these simple, natural décor items make a big impact.

According to B Floral's Bronwen Smith, not only are live plants and flowers naturally beautiful, but there are a number of benefits that come with committing to plant parenthood. "In addition to making a space more inviting, surrounding yourself with flowers and plants has been shown to improve your health and well-being," Smith points out. Live plants release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide which improves the air quality in your home, and studies have proven that both flowers and plants can reduce stress levels and boost your mood.

Meet the Expert

Bronwen Smith is the owner and lead designer of New York-based event design and production company B Floral.

Convinced yet? If so, it's time to find the best plants and flowers for your home. Just make sure you educate yourself on how to properly care for your new baby, a task that's often overlooked, according to Smith.

Keep reading to find out Smith's picks for 10 botanicals that thrive indoors, clean the air, and look good to boot.

01 of 10

Snake Plant

Snake plant in the corner of a modern dining room

Dwell Aware

  • Botanical Name: Sansevieria trifasciata
  • Sun Exposure: Low to moderate, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining cactus or succulent mix
  • Soil pH: 4.5 to 7.0

Smith recommends the snake plant for anyone with a hectic schedule. "They don’t need a lot of sun and can be watered once or twice a month," she says. 

This houseplant comes in varying shades of green, often with yellow stripes, and the strong leaves certainly make a statement. "Snake plants fit perfectly in a room with a boho vibe," adds Smith.

American Plant Exchange Sansevieria Trifasciata Snake Laurentii Live Plant
American Plant Exchange Sansevieria Trifasciata Snake Laurentii Live Plant $38
02 of 10


bedroom with wood furniture and fresh white tulips in a vase

Annie Spratt / Unsplash

  • Botanical Name: Tulipa
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

Thanks to the wide variety of tulips that exist—fringe, parrot, French, and double—you can create a unique bouquet using this one type of houseplant. "These alone in a glass vase can bring a very fresh, natural vibe to the space," Smith says.

"Style an arrangement of tulips and place in different areas of your home for a pop of color," she continues. Or better yet, plant your own bulbs for all the benefits of growing and harvesting flowers.

To make the most of fresh-cut flowers and keep them looking their best longer, trim the stems and change their water every few days and display in a cool area out of direct sunlight.

Pink tulips in a glass vase
UrbanStems The Mulberry $52
03 of 10


Various cacti and succulents in a bright kitchen window

Sara Toufali

  • Botanical Name: Cactaceae
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light to full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining cactus or succulent mix
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 6.5

For a low-risk, high-reward option, consider a cactus. "They need bright light, but other than that you can forget about them for weeks on end," Smith explains. Additionally, some varieties of cactus can grow very quickly, she adds.

"Place a cluster of small cacti on a living room table or feature a larger cactus as the focal point of a space," Smith advises.

Urban Outfitters 6" Live Cactus
Urban Outfitters 6" Live Cactus $34
04 of 10


Single protea bloom in a glass bottle on a kitchen counter

Matilda Delves / Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Proteaceae
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting mix
  • Soil pH: 3.5 to 6.5

"This eye-catching flower variety is full of texture and will enhance any space," says Smith. "One or two stems of these are all you need." Plus, protea flowers will last weeks before showing any signs of browning, according to Smith. They're perfect if you're looking for a longer lasting variety of blooms.

If you're up for a challenge, protea can also be grown from seeds indoors or out. Just know that they have very specific needs and require special care.

Pink protea bouquet in a white ceramic vase
terrain Pink Ice Protea Bunch $88
05 of 10

ZZ Plant

ZZ Plant in a light and airy bedroom

Coco Lapine Design

  • Botanical Name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: All-purpose potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

If you're looking for a low-maintenance houseplant, consider the ZZ plant. "They only need indirect light, rarely need to be watered, and grow very quickly," says Smith.

When it comes to styling, you'll want to let the plant's size determine where you display it. "Depending on the size of the plant, it can be placed in a windowsill or staged on a living room floor," Smith elaborates.

Hirt's Gardens ZZ House Plant
Hirt's Gardens ZZ Plant $9
06 of 10


Purple hyacinth in a terra cotta pot
quiLie​ / Getty Images
  • Botanical Name: Hyacinthus orientalis
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full sun
  • Soil Type: All-purpose potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

When purchased while the buds are still closed, you can watch the flowers bloom slowly (and enjoy the plant for a longer period of time). "They’re also very fragrant and can add a nice springtime scent in your space," says Smith.

To enjoy them for even longer, grow your hyacinths from bulbs. "Add a pot of monochromatic hyacinth in your home as well as outdoors on a patio or deck," Smith encourages.

Like many bulb flowers, hyacinths can be grown in a variety of mediums. Plant your bulbs in your garden or in a pot, or go the no-mess route and grow your hyacinths in a water-only bulb vase.

Purple hyacinth in glass vase
National Plant Network Hyacinth Bulb $19
07 of 10


Ferns on a modern kitchen countertop

Cathie Hong Interiors

  • Botanical Name: Polypodiopsida
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting mix
  • Soil pH: 4.0 to 7.0

If you've got plenty of love to give, consider a fern. "They need some indirect light and have a tendency to dry out, so you must remember to check their soil frequently to see if they’re in need of water," Smith advises. Despite the fact that these plants need a bit more special attention, the plant pro loves them because there are hundreds of varieties to choose from.

"Hang a potted fern in well-visited areas of your home such as the kitchen or the living room to make a statement," she says.

Bird's nest fern in an orange grower's pot
The Sill Bird's Nest Fern $23
08 of 10


red anthurium with variegated rubber plant, book, and vase of flowers on wooden table

Margarita Khamidulina / Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Anthurium andraeanum
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Orchid soil or free-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5

The colorful Anthurium will add an immediate tropical vibe to your space. "This flower comes in a ton of different colors and sizes," Smith says. "They add a lot of color to your home while still being sleek and modern."

Smith suggests using anthurium to add a pop of color in an otherwise minimalist space. It's a chic and natural way to introduce new hues into your home.

Red anthurium in a black grower's pot
Lively Root Flamingo Flower $38 $30
09 of 10


Trailing pothos hanging above a boho-styled bed

Sara Toufali

  • Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-drained potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 6.5

Pothos is known as one of the easiest houseplants to care for. "This plant only needs a bit of indirect light and they are very forgiving," Smith says. In fact, she swears that they let you know when they need to be watered. "If they seem incredibly wilted just give them some water and they’ll come back to life within a few hours," she says.

Smith recommends displaying a pothos plant up high on a bookcase. This way you'll highlight its whimsical vines that often trail off in different directions.

Golden pothos in a biodegradable pot on a wood stool
36Vine Golden Pothos $26
10 of 10


Ranunculus bouquet in a glass vase on a wood tabletop

Westend61 / Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Ranunculus
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light to full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining loamy soil mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 6.5

If you prefer wildflowers and country garden-scapes over the tropics, this is the flower for you. "This variety can bring a ton of color and life into your space with a little more of a garden vibe," says Smith. Ranunculus are fairly easy to grow from bulbs, too, for the freshest of floral arrangements.

As far as flowers go, Ranunculus lasts a bit longer than your average bloom. They'll stay fresh for up to two weeks if you give them a cut every few days, according to Smith.

The Bouqs Company Pink and Pearl Ranunculus
The Bouqs Company Pink & Pearl Ranunculus $69
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  1. An M, Colarelli SM, O’Brien K, Boyajian ME. Why We Need More Nature at Work: Effects of Natural Elements and Sunlight on Employee Mental Health and Work AttitudesPLoS One. 2016;11(5). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155614

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