The Best Indoor Plants For Asthma – Health Benefits

Keeping plants outside and in the home provides numerous health benefits for all parts of the body. 

Especially with the coronavirus, people’s asthma conditions may have worsened by staying indoors and being exposed to indoor air pollutants for long spans of time. 

If you would like to enjoy your home more and not have it be the main trigger for your medical conditions, incorporating more plants into your world might be of great benefit to you.  

Luckily, there are a few plants that can be the best indoor plants for asthma! 

Air And Our Environment

Air is essential for mass amounts of life on Earth, and these days, indoor and outdoor pollutants have been skyrocketing. 

Most of the atmosphere is nitrogen instead of oxygen, so we do have, in a sense, less of a supply. 

Toxic chemicals, fumes, and gases floating around in the air are breathed right into our bodies and can cause serious short and long-term effects, from a cold to cancer. 

Unhealthy, polluted air can cause asthma, allergies, nausea, and much more. 

Not to mention all the living fungi, bacteria, and viruses floating around in our atmosphere that could play a part in our lives. 

Air is something, along with the environment, that we may take for granted, but without Earth’s gravity holding on to those gases, us, nor most plants, would be on Earth. Yet the air is at a point of very high risk to human health, especially those with asthma. 

Humans are at even higher risk when considering indoor air pollutants because we spend a good majority of our time inside some sort of building. 

With more products with higher air pollution rates like air conditioners, fridges, and cleaners being indoors, you may want to include plants in order to purify your air and allow you to have a healthier lifestyle. 

Using Plants For Asthma

Not only do plants give us beauty, but more importantly they also give us food, shelter, medicine, and life. 

Some of the best indoor plants for asthma are already some of society’s top choices, so incorporating them into your home would be a great decision. 

Having particular plants around your home will allow them to purify the air and remove and process certain negative components that could affect your asthma.  

How To Choose Beneficial Plants

If you or someone you know has asthma, you want to be careful when buying plants. 

Do not buy super-scented plants like lavender or chrysanthemums because that will flare up asthma. There are many types of asthma, but generally, you don't want to allow any hypersensitivity to be triggered. 

You also want to find something that you are able to take care of. You want to provide optimal environmental conditions and ensure that you can maintain healthy watering techniques when caring for the plant in your home. 

Keep in mind your other pets as well (if you have them), so that you do not purchase a plant that could be toxic to them. 

The Benefits Of Having Plants Indoors

In this scenario, the biggest benefit to having plants indoors is air purification. Our indoor air can be more toxic than the outside because it is concentrated air. 

There are so many different pollutants that combine from surrounding environments like refrigerants and formaldehyde that are toxic to breathe in. 

Plants can clean up your space if you provide them with the right sun, water, and fertilizer, and they can make your home a more enjoyable, healthier place. 

Along with these bonuses, plants are also good for mental health and keep you feeling more positive and refreshed. The plant gives you a sense of positive responsibility as you care for it and watch it grow. 

The Best Way To Utilize The Plants

In terms of helping with asthma, the best way to use the air purifying plants you buy is to place them in your home and take care of them.  

You can place them in the room you spend the most time in, in order for them to purify the air or simply spread plants all throughout your home to have mass air purification.  

Be sure to do some research as to how to properly care for the plant so that it can begin to provide relief for your lungs.  

Know Before You Go

Know that you may not find the perfect plant for you right away, but there is definitely a plant out there for everyone, especially ones that can purify your air and help with medical conditions. 

Know if your certain case of asthma has any outstanding effects that could influence your plant selection so that you can choose the most beneficial plant for you.  

Also be sure that you have enough space in your home to acquire a plant and the correct living conditions for it. 

Lastly, it is important to know if you are purchasing a male or female plant based on factors like pollen and if that relates to the plant that you may wish to buy. 

A Closer Look At The Science

In order to find which plants may remove air toxins to help with asthma, research was pulled from the American Society for Horticultural Science that shows statistics on removal rates. 

This study looked at how efficient certain indoor plants were at removing volatile organic compounds from the air. VOCs are one of the number one indoor air pollutants.  

As far as asthma, it is a medical condition that makes airways swell and produce extra mucus. There can be many triggers and it could be life-threatening in some cases. 

Most people use an inhaler to help them breathe when their asthma flares. Symptoms include trouble breathing, coughing, and chest pain. 

For more information on what asthma is, you can refer to this video here: Understanding Asthma: Mild, Moderate, and Severe

Best Indoor Plants For Asthma:

Quick Look

1. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
2. English Ivy (Hedera helix)
3. Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa)
4. Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida)
5. Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis alternata)

1. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

spider plant

This is certainly one of the most classic houseplant selections and is very easy to care for. It can produce mass amounts of plant babies that you could then pot up and continue to place around your home.  


  • Spider plants reproduce really fast and year-round 
  • Very tolerant plant and can handle fluctuating conditions, heat, and drought stress 
  • Non-toxic to animals 


  • These plants have a low removal of air toxins  

This plant appears to not have many cons, for it is an easy-going plant that can handle any pot size and won't die if your pet nibbles on it a little. Spider plants can come in variegated forms as well. 

2. English Ivy (Hedera helix)

english ivy

Another houseplant classic, this plant would be good for you if you like climbing plants. Ivy will form adventitious sucker roots that allow it to climb up or across your windowsill.  


  • Has an easy plant care routine  
  • Can be found easily in stores and in outdoor landscapes 
  • Very good toxin removal rates 


  • Is only a foliage plant, no flashy colors or significant flowers 
  • Can become “messy” looking if not trimmed 
  • Toxic to humans and animals if ingested  

Its dark green foliage likes to be cleaned occasionally because dust and air particles can clog up its stomata, so wipe the leaves gently with a wet cloth to keep the plant working. 

3. Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa)

wax plant

The flowers produced from the wax plant smell beautiful and they need proper amounts of bright indirect light to flourish.  


  • Very good air toxin removal efficiency
  • Good indoor hanging plant 
  • Interesting plant anatomy with the waxy coating and fancy flowers


  • Easier to burn the leaves if in incorrect conditions 
  • The plant can be easy to overwater 
  • Not as easy to find on the plant market  

Hoya Carnosa also has the bonus of being non-toxic while showing off its waxy leaves and trailing habit. 

4. Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida)

purple heart

Purpleheart plants could provide your home with a pop of purple around the house as it has purple foliage and flowers.    


  • Easy to propagate 
  • Good for indoor hanging 
  • The very good toxin removal rate


  • A possible skin irritant to humans and dogs
  • Likes to be fertilized frequently (cost money) 

This plant can be easy to overwater but overall, it is a resistant plant that could be good for beginners. The stems of the leaves have the potential to break off easily, but you could always replant the broken piece into the home container or a new one. 

5. Waffle Plant (Hemigraphis alternata)

waffle plant

To ensure the purple foliage is looking its best, you want to put the plant in bright indirect light and keep the soil evenly moist.  


  • The very good toxin removal rate
  • Interesting leaf texture 


  • Significant potential to overwater the plant
  • It may be recommended to trim the plant to keep it in shape 

Waffle plants like to be spritzed with water on occasion because they thrive in humid conditions. 

This purple charmer could also be a benefit in a house like mine due to the fact that it is non-toxic to pets (and my dogs like to sniff around the plants!). 

Final Thoughts

English ivy! Even though all five plants brought some great options to the table, ivy is still coming out on top. 

It has a very good removal rate for VOCs, and with indoor pollution being so high, ivy could get the job done to help your lungs. 

Hedera helix is easy to care for and can be found in so many surrounding landscapes. 

Yes, other plants have more colorful foliage and get the same task done, so you would have an option if you can’t stand consistent green foliage.  

With it being able to be easily propagated, this plant could benefit you if you aren’t quite a plant master yet but still want relief from your asthma symptoms. Generally, it is a fast grower and you could use its spreading habits to creatively decorate your home. 

Spider plants grow fast too but have poor toxin removal rates. If you by chance have cats and dogs, ivy might not be the best solution, but many others on the list are non-toxic that may work for you. 

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