The Best Air-Purifying Houseplants for Winter

Houseplants add natural beauty to our homes, but beyond that, they also provide various health benefits. They boost our mood and focus with their presence, relieve stress due to their calming effect, and improve sleep by providing more oxygen. Studies have even shown that rooms with plants have less dust and mold than those without. This is because leaves and other parts of the plants catch allergens and other airborne particles, behaving as a filter.

When winter approaches, air-filtering is especially important in areas of the world where weather inversion occurs. During colder seasons, the air also becomes drier and house heating can worsen the problem, leading to a higher risk of colds and flu. Fortunately, houseplants have a humidifying effect, and increase moisture by 20% to 30%. Not all indoor plants can tolerate winter conditions though, so you may be wondering, “Will my houseplants survive the winter?” In this article, we’re going to discuss the types of indoor plants that thrive in cold weather, and how to care for them. Before we jump into that though, here is a list of characteristics to look for that qualify plants as winter thrivers:

Four Qualities of Winter-Tolerant Houseplants

  1. They can withstand low light

  1. Dry weather is not a problem

  1. Cold temperature can be handled

  1. Ability to clean air is optimal

The Best Indoor Plants for Cold Weather

While this list has the five, best and most common houseplants for winter time, there are other indoor plants that can tolerate this season with a more challenging effort. That being said, these five are ranked highest for the four qualities listed above, so I recommend trying them first. If you’d like a more diverse combination of houseplants during the cold weather months, then continue your research and add on.

Eternity Plant

The eternity plant, also known as the ZZ plant, is the perfect houseplant for beginners. It does well with little light, and only needs to be watered about three times per month. Insects and bugs leave it be, and the eternity plant actually prefers that you leave it alone as well, due to its low maintenance. It has thick, rubbery leaves that hold up well in the dry, winter air, and therefore, brown and yellow, crisp edges do not appear. The only downside is that the ZZ plant is toxic to pets.


There are various types of philodendrons, although they are all easy to care for. Known for being a common houseplant and their resilience, philodendrons only need water once every two weeks. That being said, if you hold the plant and it feels heavier than usual, it most likely doesn’t need to be watered again at that time. Take note of this, for watering philodendrons while they already have enough will do harm to the plant. Also, be careful where you place them. The ingestion of leaves is both toxic to people and pets, and children may not be aware. The good news is that philodendron plants filter toxins from the air, so while eating the plant is toxic, its function is beneficial to our respiratory system.

Moth Orchid

I bet you’re excited to see a beautiful flower on the list, and the moth orchid will surprise you with its easy maintenance during winter. While it prefers medium to brightly lit spaces, it can very well tolerate low light, and enjoys drier climates. It only needs to be watered once a week, and with proper care, blooms will last 8 to 12 weeks. Plus, the plant has a long lifespan and will re-bloom once or twice a year. As the third plant on the list, you’ll be happy to know this is the first that is non-toxic to both pets and humans, so you can place this flower wherever you’d like. The one downside is that insects may bother your orchids. If you are unfamiliar with this issue, view here to learn how to control pests that feed on moth orchids.

Parlor Palm

The parlor palm, also called the table palm, is a popular houseplant because it’s almost impossible to kill. Even with neglect, low light, and drought, this indoor plant will survive. Assuming you want your parlor palm to be happy though, it does enjoy having its leaves misted with water from time to time. It’s also non-toxic to pets, so if you’d like an easy to care for plant that is safe, and has optimal air-cleaning abilities, a parlor palm is a great choice for you. The only con is its attraction for pests and pathogens, so if you’d like some information to keep pests and pathogens under control, view here to learn how to keep your parlor palm healthy.

Snake Plant

Similarly to the parlor palm, the snake plant holds up well to low light, drought, and neglect. It loves being inside, and prefers indirect sunlight. One positive difference from the parlor palm is that they do not attract insects and bugs. However, a negative difference is that the snake plant is toxic to both humans and pets. None-the-less, its blade-like leaves are sturdy, diversely patterned and do an excellent job of purifying the air, so it’s still beneficial for beautifying your space and maintaining clean air.

Winter Care to Let Houseplants Thrive

Houseplants need less water during the winter. Why? Plants grow at a slower rate during colder weather, and therefore, stay hydrated without being watered frequently. To determine if it requires more water, stick your finger an inch or two into the soil, and check if it is still wet. This is important because overhydrating your plants can lead to root rot, so if it is still wet an inch or two below the surface, leave it be for now.

Most indoor plants like humidity, so add a humidifier in the rooms where the plants cohabitate, and ensure that they are close to it. Homes with heating systems can drop to 10 to 20 percent humidity during winter time, and most plants do well at a level of 50 percent.

Keep houseplants away from any appliances that can fluctuate the temperature. This includes both cold drafts and sources of heat such as fireplaces, ovens, or radiators. Rapid changes in temperature can kill houseplants just as well as long periods of heat or cold.

Last but not least, do not give them any fertilizer during winter time. Due to the slower growth, feeding them will simply disrupt their natural cycle, so it is best to wait until spring time. Let your plants rest during the cold weather, and they will thank you.