10 best indoor plants for a happier, healthier home

These plants will add beauty, ease stress and reduce toxins – and best of all, some of them are really, really hard to kill!

They can be striking, sculptural and downright beautiful. But the best part about indoor plants is they work wonders for our health and wellbeing.

There’s no denying the science, which reveals some indoor plants are highly effective at absorbing and purifying toxins in the air.

This means stripping the air of chemical nasties, while producing oxygen to boot, allowing us to breathe much easier.

Plus, studies have shown that being surrounded by lush, natural greenery is good for reducing stress and improving mental health.

Yates horticultural consultant and author Angie Thomas reveals some of the best indoor plants to boost your health:


You may know it as mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant, but despite its creepy nicknames, this indoor plant is incredibly popular.

Angie says it has a lot do with its quirky structural aesthetic.

But, she says, it’s mostly because this is one super hardy indoor plant. It tolerates a variety of light levels and actually prefers to be a bit dry.

One of its quirks is producing oxygen at night, making it an ideal plant for the bedroom.

zanzibar gem
Zanzibar Gem

Zanzibar Gem

Lush, flashy leaves on long stems make this a lovely, if somewhat prehistoric-looking, plant for the home.

Plus, it’s also very nifty for removing pollutants from the air.

Angie says it’s a good beginner’s plant and a great one for the office, because it will tolerate low light levels and dry air, and prefers not to be over watered.

Spider Plant

You’ve gotta love an indoor plant that keeps producing new plants for you to pot.

And the more spider plants you have, the better for your wellbeing, as apparently this beauty is a champion at removing a range of nasties from the air.

Long, cascading strappy leaves means it looks fabulous in hanging baskets, allowing you to make use of vertical space.

Small baby plants that appear at the end of the leaves can be repotted for new plants.

Peace Lily

It’s been around for decades but this common house plant is one of NASA’s favourites for cleaning the air.

It’s also top of Angie’s list, with its gorgeous dark-green leaves and elegant white flowers on long stems.

“It will also let you know when it needs water by drooping its leaves,” she says. “And it can grow in tricky, poorly lit situations.”

Dracaena massangeana

The corn (or happy) plant grows thick, verdant leaves on a chunky trunk-like stem.

It’s been described as one of the most effective plants for air purification, which is great for improving overall health.

Angie describes this as a real statement plant.

“It grows nice and tall and sometimes will even flower, producing the most amazing perfumed flowers,” she says.

And it’s happy to grow pretty much anywhere, whether it’s a dark corner or well-lit spot.

devil's ivy
Devil’s Ivy

Devil’s Ivy

This is another excellent air-cleansing plant and a beauty for small spaces.

It’s a sure-fire way to create a sense of wellbeing in your abode with its long, trailing stems that can grow several metres long.

Angie says it’s a popular one for hanging baskets, trailing off shelves, or training up beams and window frames.

It likes a bright spot, but its long stems can bring a lush dimension to parts of a room that are poorly lit, she says.

Aloe Vera

This quirky succulent plant has so much going for it.

Not only does the sticky gel work magic for soothing mosquito bites and healing minor burns, sunburn and wounds, it can also be used as a skin or hair tonic.

Angie says it’s a tough plant that’s fairly self-sufficient.

“It actually prefers to be on the dry side, but it does like the brightest lit spot in the house,” she says.


There’s a good reason they call this the cast-iron plant.

This is one tough indoor plant that basically thrives on neglect.

The long, sword-shape leaves are lush and dramatic, and grow up to 1m long.

Angie says it will tolerate low levels of light, making it ideal for hallways and dark corners.

She suggests looking for variegated varieties that provide contrast and interest year round.


fiddle leaf fig
Fiddle-leaf Fig

Fiddle-leaf Fig

Now, here’s an indoor plant that screams “look at me”.

This tall, showy statement plant has become incredibly popular in the décor world for adding an instant jungle feel to a home with its massive dark-green leaves.

These broad leaves make it a star at purifying the air and injecting a healthy dose of oxygen into a space, but Angie recommends keeping them dust free for extra efficiency.

She says it likes a bright spot with indirect light and a slightly moist soil.

Moth Orchid

This beauty makes a lovely present but can be tricky to look after.

Angie says it wouldn’t be her first choice for the serial plant neglector.

But, with a little care, you can keep your orchid looking good and even get it to flower again.

Angie suggests a brightly lit spot, a little bit of water (it doesn’t like wet feet) and some orchid food.

Top 50 Indoor Plants, by Angie Collins, is published by Harper Collins ($35).

Written by Penny Harrison.