Six Best Plants for the Classroom

Houseplants are a no-brainer. They add to the decor, purify the air, and make your home feel alive. But teachers often forget that plants in their classroom can do the same thing! I’ve compiled the five best plants to have in the classroom.

Let’s get this out of the way – some plants are poisonous. If you are not willing to keep students from eating the plants then don’t add plants to your classroom.

I chosen these plants based on personal experience and some research. For plants for allergy concerns, stay tuned! That blog is coming soon!


1. Peace Lily

This is my go to plant. I have two in my home and have know it is very difficult to kill. They do have white flowers that blossom periodically which you could cut if you fear allergies (or if you hate the smell like I do).

Great for purifying benzene, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide.

This is also a great plant to divide on your own (have more plants for no money!). Divide the roots carefully and replant in multiple pots. Fertilize as directed and put this plant in a pot that drains. They often come wrapped in plastic and put in decorative pots. You should remove the plastic and put in a drain pan. Peace Lilies do not like to sit in water.

My favorite part is this plant wants low light. Do not put this in the window. Put it in that dark corner of your classroom. It will thrive.

Side note: My cat somehow knocked over my huge, 40 lbs Peace Lily in its terracotta pot. Half of the plant was chopped in half and the thing is still alive. It is ugly at the moment but is currently settling and will begin to regrow itself. You can’t kill it! Just don’t let it sit in water!

Peace Lily

From Wikipedia Commons. Spathiphyllum ‘Sensation’ in the Life Sciences Building of BYU.

2. Mother-in-Law Tongue (or Snake Plant)

Always described as the plant you can’t kill, this should be a mainstay in your classroom. The leaves are excellent at purification and are beautiful to look at.

Will help remove benzene and formaldehyde from your classroom air.

This plant comes in a variety of colors so it will fit any style choices. This plant will want to sit in your window. If you live a very bright climate, check your plant for sun damage and filter the light if necessary (don’t block the light, filter it). If you have a dark classroom, this plant will still live. It will simply grow at a slower rate and the color may change slightly.


From Wikipedia Commons. Mother in law plant.

3. African Violets

These cute little plants will add a pop of color to your room and add a sweet touch to the decor. I love the dainty femininity of the flowers and the bonus is that these little plants purify the air.

Obviously, you would need a ton in your room to significantly remove toxins but these little plants are pretty and work for you.

You will probably purchase African Violets with blooms that will last for a while. When the blooms die, pick them off and continue to care for the plant as instructed. The blooms will reappear in a few months.

These plants want indirect but bright light. Their leaves will burn so no direct sun for these little beauties. Do not water their leaves as they will probably rot. The soil should be moist, not wet. Fertilize as instructed.


From Wikipedia Commons. African violets.

4. Dracaena

Not my favorite plant from an appearance standpoint this plant is awesome for purification. Dracaena do occasionally produce scented flowers. If your plant does you can cut them off if you do not like the scent (or are worried about allergies).

Will help remove formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene and toluene from your classroom air.

This plant may suffer “shock” when moved from your home to the classroom causing it to lose more leaves than normal but it will adjust quickly. Just keep treating with love and it will be fine.

Dracaena do not like to stand in water so watch for over watering. Dracaena do not want direct sunlight making it a great plant for the middle light or low light corner of your classroom. This plant has been in my son’s room for three years now. His room almost never sees the light of day and this plant is perfectly fine.


From Wikipedia Commons. Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana‘.

5. Boston Fern

Makes some lists as a good plant for allergy sufferers and is sometimes included on other lists of plants to avoid because it tends to collect dust. But the Boston Fern is known for being a great nighttime air purifier. This will help you walk into your classroom in the morning to the freshest air possible!

Boston Ferns need some sunlight so put it in a brighter area but not direct sunlight necessary and it will like a bit more water than other plants. I would recommend this plant to teachers who are already experienced classroom plant parents and want something new.


From Wikipedia Commons. Boston Fern.

6. Monstera

I went to a flower shop and asked, “What plant can I get my husband that he doesn’t have to take care of but can’t kill.” Four years later the plant is still going strong! He waters it probably more than necessary and has a dim northern exposure light. He never fertilizes it and we have only repotted it once.

It is cool looking and can add some pizzazz to your classroom. I say go for it.

Extra reading on the plant, do not put this on your heater and/or air conditioner vent. It doesn’t like the sudden change in climate.


From Wikipedia Commons. Monstera obliqua – Botanical Garden Göttingen.


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If you liked this then maybe you’d like:

Why I Quit Exit TicketsTulip ManiaDrinking Water ChallengePlants and Classrooms Allergy ConcernsBooks About Women in HistorySummer Reading 2020

3 responses to “Six Best Plants for the Classroom”

    • I love African Violets as well. So feminine in my opinion. I always remember fondly walking into my 7th grade science teachers classroom. She had 50ish plants throughout. The air, which could have been toxic from all the chemicals was truly fresh and the space felt alive.


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