Houseplants That Are Perfect for Your Baby's Nursery
These plants are safe for your little ones—and will help them feel their best, too.
If you're someone who appreciates a little indoor greenery (or have a little houseplant garden thriving in your bay window), you might be wondering if you can decorate your new baby's room with plants, too. Not only is this a lovely way to decorate your littlest one's space, but these plants can also provide your son or daughter with a plethora of benefits, from purer air to reduced stress. In fact, some varieties may even help get your baby to sleep (and stay that way) faster—and what new parent wouldn't love a little help in that department?
There's science to back up these benefits. "Houseplants not only increase oxygen, but they are also natural air purifiers and can remove up to 87 percent of toxins in a day. This includes volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde, which can be found in everyday materials like paint and plastics," explains Joyce Mast, Bloomscape's resident Plant Mom. "Removing these toxins from the air can reduce symptoms caused by pollutants such as allergies, headaches, fatigue, and more." You do all you can to protect your newborn, which is why adding a houseplant is a wonderful thing to introduce to his or her bedroom.
However, not all plants are safe for babies, so it's important to know which ones are nontoxic before you buy. Choosing a harmless plant to add to the nursery is just the first step; the second is placing it strategically, well out of baby's reach (nontoxic varietals aside, dirt and little ones aren't an ideal combination!). Ahead, the houseplants experts say are best for your baby's room.
You'll raise your little one to understand that money doesn't grow on trees—not even this one. It gets its name from the Feng Shui practice, which suggests that this plant brings positivity and good luck to its owner (which are, of course, two things you want for your baby). "With its braided stem and bright green palm looking leaves, it looks both like a tree and palm," says Mast. "It is pet-friendly (non-poisonous) and is known to remove toxins from the surrounding air."
She recommends positioning your Money Tree in medium-to-bright indirect light and turning it every time you water it for even growth and leaf development.
This upright growing interior plant gives a tropical feel to your baby's nursery. "With their different layers of foliage and fullness, palms are perfect for filling a large space such as an open wall or great for an empty corner," notes Tyler Banken, landscape architect and horticulturist. "Parlor Palms are great at air purification and can tolerate low light—they still like bright light, as do most palms, so they can go by a window or in a more shaded place." Just don't overwater this one: He recommends checking that the top inch of soil is dried out before you add more.
If you're looking for a houseplant to hang in the corner of the nursery or to sit on top of an armoire, the Spider Plant is a great choice. Not only is it physically appealing, but it is one of the best air-purifying potted plants around, filtering up to 90 percent of the cancerous chemical formaldehyde from the air, notes Gena Lorainne, horticulturist and gardening expert with Fantastic Services. "It also multiplies by growing out small spider plants, which can be re-potted and placed in other rooms around the house," she adds.
Don't be alarmed by its scary name—this is one of the easiest houseplants to care for, which is one reason why it's so ideal for a nursery. "It's very drought tolerant, meaning it only needs to be watered when it's completely dried out, and can take low sunlight if needed," says Banken. "It's also a top performer when it comes to air purification because it gives off oxygen at night." He recommends placing it in an elevated planter in the corner of the room or in a tight spot, like between the rocking chair and a bookshelf.
Bird's Nest Fern
If you also have a fur baby running around, this playful plant is a great plant to place in your child's nursery. In addition to being pet-safe, it's a powerhouse at removing harmful chemicals from the air. Hiraa Khan, founder of the DTC plant brand, Ansel & Ivy, recommends placing the fern near a window that gets morning or late afternoon sun—or anywhere in the nursery that gets moderate natural light. "Bright, sunny, or overly warm windows should be avoided as direct sunlight will make the plant lose its leaves or turn the leaves yellow," she says. "Water it moderately so that the soil remains damp, not soggy, and if the air around the plant is too dry, use a humidifier or occasionally mist the plant to increase humidity."
Maranta Red Prayer Plant
Also known as the Herringbone Plant, this variety is known for its soft, dark green leaves with feathered, painterly-like centers of light green and red veins, explains Mast. In fact, it gets its name from the way its leaves fold in the evening, which resembles hands folded in prayer. "The colorful foliage and slow growth make this a perfect plant for window sills, mantles, or shelves in a nursery that enjoy a splash of color," she says. Luckily the Red Prayer Plant is an easy one to care for. Mast suggests placing it in a sunny spot, keeping it's soil damp, and misting its leaves once a week—then sit back and watch it flourish.
Despite its name, the Ponytail Palm is not actually in the palm family, but rather the succulent family. According to Banken, this is a plus because, like most succulents, it actually thrives on very little upkeep. "When it comes to basics, Ponytail Palms like quick-draining soil with a pot that has a hole in the bottom," he says. "In the baby nursery, this is perfect to add some height directly on the windowsill or a table top in front of the window, as the Ponytail Palm loves direct sunlight."
Baby Rubber Plant
Also known as Peperomia obtusifolia, this houseplant makes a wonderful addition to a baby's room, especially one with few windows, due to its need for almost zero natural sunlight. "If a Baby Rubber Plant does have some sunlight, it will flower during the spring season to add a little more color to the nursery," says Lawrence Hanley, Founder of Desk Plants. "They are also high producers of oxygen which can go a long way in improving the air quality of the nursery."
Yellow Rubber Tree
Looking for a plant with some stripes of yellow or pink, like the one seen here? There are few more sweet and darling than the Yellow Rubber Tree, which will become a staple in your home for years to come. "The leaves of this plant have a unique, painted effect in shades of yellow and soft pink, which make it perfect for a pastel-colored nursery," says Khan. "It's also easy to care for and can be placed pretty much anywhere in the nursery that gets a medium amount of natural light, or near a window with a sheer curtain for filtered sunlight."
If you're on the hunt for a large purifying plant for your newborn's space, Lorainne suggests the Dracaena. "Its jungle aesthetic can give the nursery a very exotic vibe and incite excitement in your little one's heart," she says. Although it's not toxic to children, it can be for pets, so it's best to avoid this plant if you have a dog or cat or plan on getting one in the near future.