Want to start dressing up your home with houseplants, but are worried about the effects they may have on your asthma or allergies? In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at the best house plants for asthma sufferers.
Asthma can, sadly, be aggravated when people are in close proximity to certain plants. By carefully choosing plants that can purify and improve air quality, asthma sufferers can easily relax in their home or office whilst enjoying greenery and flowers.
Some plants are actually beneficial for people suffering with asthma, too!
Here’s our pick of the best indoor plants for asthma and allergies
Chenille (Acalypha hispida)
This is a beautiful plant has a striking, easily identifiable appearance. Its lively green foliage is complemented by trailing deep pink flowers which look like furry tails! This is a dramatic, eye-catching plant that looks amazing suspended in a basket or tumbling down from a shelf.
Chenille plants are widely regarded as some of the most effective at removing toxins from the air. Therefore, they are fantastic go-to plants for asthma.
The chenille is a great standalone star, or will jazz up an arrangement of other pot plants. Happy in partial shade or direct sun, your chenille does need to be kept moist but not drenched. This plant can extend for up to three feet and – and believe us, it works hard to look this good!
As a reward, you will need to give it some fertiliser on a weekly basis. Ideally, you should provide your chenille with a relatively stable temperature of around 15 to 16 degrees Celsius.
As natives of Florida, it’s easy to understand why these plants need light and warmth to feel at home. Be warned, chenille flowers will not last long if cut for display.
Peace lilies are great all-around starter plants for indoor horticulturists, and what’s more, they’ll do wonders for your air quality. During NASA tests, peace lilies proved to be the most successful plants at extracting versatile organic compounds, otherwise known as VOCs! If NASA says a peace lily will improve your air quality, we’d be inclined to believe them!
These sophisticated-looking plants have glossy, dark green leaves, and you’ll often find elegant, streamlined, white flowers are produced on mature plants. They survive well in good light, but less so in direct sunlight.
You’ll need to water little and often to maintain a comfortably moist growing medium – once a week is usually best. They need well-draining pots, too, as they do not like standing in pools of water.
You can check out our beginners guide on how to take care of a peace lily for more detailed information.
Peace lilies look wonderful in flower or out of the flowering season. The flowers may be tempting to cut – but that’s not always a good idea. Usually, there are only a few, and they will last longer living on the plant than cut and placed in water.
Whilst peace lilies are great to help maintain good quality air, they are not entirely problem-free! Peace lilies can be toxic for children and animals. They are best displayed out of reach of curious infants and wandering paws or beaks!
Recommended for allergy sufferers by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of the USA, Orchids are simple plants in appearance – and refreshingly easy to look after. Slender, smooth green leaves form from the base of the plant, and stems to bear flowers sprout between the leaves, with a firm, almost woody texture.
Orchids may require a supporting cane when flowers start to produce, too – so invest wisely! There are many varieties of orchid and they come in many colours.
Most elegant and comfortable in any decor, white tends to be a popular choice – however, other colours include pinks, reds, yellows, lilacs and purples.
While orchids are popular with pollinators in the garden, orchid pollen does not drift in the air as does pollen from the majority of plants. This is why they are so suitable for owners who may suffer with asthma.
Overwatering is a major problem for orchids, so do tread carefully. They will need watering little and often – once per week when flowering, for example, is normally ideal for large, multiple flowering plants. Allow them to dry before watering.
If you’re unsure, the colour and form is a great indicator of how orchids are feeling! If your orchid leaves are turning yellow, then you are likely overwatering. If roots turn brown, they are stressed and may become slimy.
Root rot can kill orchids unless caught in time – so take good care of these plants!
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
Spider plants are popular house and office plants. They are used in public displays and are versatile when it comes to presentation, too. They can be grown in pots, hanging baskets, window boxes and even planted in the ground.
You can also safely grow these indoors without fear of them aggravating your asthma!
These plants are easy to grow as well as easy to live with. Research has shown that spider plants are great for cleansing the air – they can remove some airborne toxins such as formaldehyde, which can cause respiratory problems.
They are incredibly easy to look after, too – they may wilt in direct sunlight, especially if thirsty, so be careful not to overdo it. They thrive best in well-lit spaces out of direct sun.
They can suffer from root rot if overwatered, too, and so it’s best to water little and often so their soil is moist.
Spider plants can have beautiful, slender, variegated leaves of pale to mid shades of green with a white or creamy stripe running the length of each leaf. They’re famously gorgeous!
Azaleas (Rhododendron Family)
Azaleas are great companion plants for asthma sufferers, mainly because they don’t disperse pollen in the way many other houseplants do. As such, airborne pollen won’t aggravate symptoms felt by those with asthma.
Azaleas are good all rounders, on the whole. These striking plants are great for windowsills, hanging baskets, standalone pots, or in group containers. These beautiful evergreens have dark green foliage and flowers in a great range of colours – ranging from classic whites to reds and pinks.
Azaleas love light! They need sunlight to retain their famously tight, bushy shape. Less light means they will become ‘leggy’ – as they stretch towards a light source. Quite easy to look after, azaleas need to be kept moist and never allowed to completely dry out.
Bamboo / Lucky Bamboo
Yes – bamboo is a fantastic asthma friendly plant, and one that doesn’t require much fuss to handle.
Bamboo is a clean looking evergreen plant with an upright set of bright green stalks and clusters of leaves – which mostly point upwards, too. Formed on sturdy, jointed stalks, bamboo leaves appear in groups and are usually an even, deep green.
Although bamboo naturally grows in an upright stance, it can be trained to follow the form of a metal frame or climb against a pole.
If you’re serious about making the most of your bamboo, you can even train bamboo to crawl up coat hangers and wire frames. The most striking part of owning bamboo is, of course, that it grows amazingly fast! You’ll be surprised at how quickly it’ll shoot up.
Why it’s worth looking for plants that are good for asthma and allergies
While there are thousands of wonderful plants and potted wonders out there that are likely to make your home look that little bit more verdant – and to help it smell sweet – some plants simply aren’t compatible with various allergies.
It’s mainly to do with pollen, meaning it is always a good idea to check the pollen dispersal stats of any plants or flowers you wish to bring indoors.
Beyond this, the best indoor plants for allergies and asthma are those that are low on pollen dispersal and high on air purification.
The six we’ve listed here are just the tip of the iceberg – why not explore what’s out there and set up your own allergy-free garden zone in your own home?