Four Plants to Spruce up Your Airbnb

Decorating with plants is easy and affordable — and according to science, they provide health benefits, too. Here’s the dirt from four plant pros on great green picks for your abode.

Illustrations by Matt Chinworth

Location: Kona, Hawaii. Photograph by Zephyr and Tide

House plants are a designer’s go-to for enlivening a space. But they’re more than decor: Indoor greenery can also improve your health and happiness. “Plants release oxygen into a home and help control humidity, and some common ones like the spider plant and peace lily can also filter certain toxins from the air,” says Sophie Lee, author of Living with Plants. One study suggests they can even amp up your energy and productivity at work, she adds, citing 2010 research by the University of Technology Sydney: “Having even just one plant on your desk can significantly reduce levels of tension, anger, and fatigue.”

START A PLANT GANG!: Plants often thrive when they’re together, so display a few types as a grouping, says Lee.

Four Top Picks from the Pros


“Found by NASA research to be helpful with air-purifying, this plant has leaves that resemble the skin of its namesake reptile. Water every two to three weeks, letting the potting mix dry in between.” — Erin Marino, The Sill, New York City


“A great statement plant because it grows rapidly. Give it about three ounces of water weekly, and mist the leaves and soil to increase humidity.” — Sophie Lee, geo-fleur, London


“This plant’s heart-shaped leaves are a vibrant green, and it grows vines that trail down. Water when the top two or three inches of soil are dry, typically once every week or two.” — Nick Forland, Plants and Friends, San Francisco


“With gray-green leaves, this stunning plant looks almost futuristic. Water weekly, and mist leaves occasionally to keep the soil moist.” — Christoffer Broman, Christoffers Blommor, Stockholm

Note: Keep plants out of reach of pets as they can be toxic to cats and dogs.

About the author: Betsy Goldberg is the deputy editor (Home) of Airbnb Magazine. Previously she was the deputy editor of Real Simple and HGTV Magazine, editorial content director at Bed Bath & Beyond, and an editor at UsWeekly, Modern Bride, and New York Magazine. She is co-author of BusinessWeek’s Guide to the Best Business Schools. Her writing has also appeared in Glamour, Health, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Money.