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Why You Should Get More Houseplants

May 05, 2021 6 min read


In addition to enhancing style and décor in your home, houseplants also have physical and mental health benefits to take advantage of.


A lot of people decorate their houses with indoor plants, with things like succulents and air plants becoming more and more popular by the year. Plants are pleasant to look at, provide a natural feel to any room, and also give color and texture to your space.

But beyond helping to boost your interior design style, houseplants also offer amazing benefits to your health and wellbeing. Read on to discover some of the top reasons to put more houseplants in your home, along with tips and tricks for choosing and caring for indoor plants.


Top 5 benefits of houseplants

Houseplants can help with everything from detoxing your home to boosting your productivity. Here are some of the amazing benefits of indoor plants:


1. Improve indoor air quality

Plants can improve air quality in the home, and they are an excellent addition to make your indoor environment better for your health. Here are a few ways they help:

  • They filter pollutants. In the 1980’s, NASA conducted research that showed that plants have the potential to help clean the air in enclosed spaces. Basically, plants can pull contaminants from the air and pump them down to their roots, where the toxins can be metabolized and eventually incorporated into the plant. Some of the toxins that can be removed from the air thanks to plants are things like heavy metals, acetone, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs).[1-5]
  •  

    Certain plants are especially good at filtering the air. For example, bromeliads have been shown to remove 80% of pollutants from the air in just 12 hours, and dracaenas can take up about 94% of acetone in the air.[1]

  • They increase humidity. Plants also support healthy indoor air quality by releasing moisture into the space to increase humidity. That is good for things like respiratory and skin health, and it can make your space feel more comfortable.[2,3] 

  • They boost oxygen flow. As part of a biological process called photosynthesis, plants release oxygen into the air.[2,3] This can help to increase oxygen levels in your home. Specific plans like orchids, succulents, snake plants, and bromeliads release oxygen at night rather than during the day like most other plants, which makes them optimal to place in bedrooms.


  • 2. Reduce your stress

    Being exposed to nature is a great stress-relieving tool. So why not bring nature inside with you by decorating your home with house plants?

    Studies show that people recover better from stress when there are plants around them.[2] Even better is if you spend time actively interacting with the plants. People who spend time cultivating a green thumb by caring for their plants tend to experience lower levels of stress. Interacting with indoor plants can even result in physiological changes in the body that are associated with reduced stress.[6]

    Gardening is an excellent coping mechanism for stressful times.[7] So when the weather doesn’t permit outdoor gardening in your yard, opt for caring for indoor houseplants instead!


    3. Promote healing

    Adding plants to a room can have profound impacts on physical health, and it just might be able to boost healing and reduce your recovery time from health challenges too.

    For example, research findings suggest that placing plants in a hospital room can help people to recover faster and better after surgery. Compared to patients in rooms without plants, patients with plants in their rooms have shorter hospital stays, show more positive physiological responses, need less pain medication, and experience more positive feelings after their procedures.[8,9] 

    Having plants in the room can even have positive effects on physical symptoms like pain, fatigue, or general discomfort.[2,8,9]

    Plants don’t just promote physical healing, but mental and emotional healing as well. In mental healthcare, “horticulture therapy” (a form of therapy combining gardening, plants, and therapeutic techniques) is known to have positive impacts on patient care.[10]

    Plus, certain plants can be cultivated for their medicinal properties, such as aloe vera and various herbs, which just adds to the therapeutic benefits of having plants in your home. 


    4. Improve productivity, attention span, and creativity

    Struggling to stay focused, think clearly, get your work done, and get creative? Adding plants to your workspace just might be the boost you need!

    Views of greenery – including houseplants – can increase productivity, attention span, and creativity in the workplace while reducing reaction time and mental fatigue.[2,11-13] One study, for example, showed that adding plants to an office space can increase productivity by 15% when compared to office environments without plants.[11]

    Beyond boosting your productivity, plants might also help you to feel better while you work. Natural elements like plants in office spaces can help to buffer job stress and support better mood and job satisfaction.[14]

    Whether you work from home or at an office, consider buying a few indoor plants for your desk or cubicle. That simple change could help you to get more done while feeling more focused and inspired at the same time.


    5. Improve your quality of life and general wellbeing

    Many studies have reported that people feel better when in the presence of plants.[2,7] For example, rooms with plants are associated with stronger feelings of happiness, calmness, peacefulness, pleasantness, and cheerfulness as well as with reduced feelings of pressure, anxiety, and fatigue. And it only takes a few minutes of being around plants to have this kind of positive effect on how you feel.[15]

    The difference plants make with wellbeing can be quite significant. People who spend their work hours in spaces with natural elements like houseplants report 15% higher well-being, for example.[12]

    Plants are a cheap, easy way to support better wellbeing and a higher quality of life. So why not go out and get a few today to add to your space?


    17 plants that make great indoor houseplants

    As you can see, there are many reasons to add more plants to your home. Any indoor houseplant is worth it, so choose the ones that appeal to you the most. 

    If you need a few suggestions to get you started, consider this list (which includes many plants that are particularly beneficial for indoor air quality):

    • Snake plant
    • Areca palm
    • Dracaena
    • Bromeliad
    • Money plant
    • Chinese evergreen
    • Spider plant
    • Aloe vera
    • Dragon tree
    • Weeping fig
    • Peace lily
    • Bamboo palm
    • Rubber plant
    • Devil’s ivy
    • English ivy
    • Boston fern
    • Dwarf date palm

    Tips for caring for houseplants

    Are you new to caring for plants? Here are a few tips to help start you off on the right foot:

  • Take a look at the care instructions for your plant and do some research. When you buy a plant from the nursery or hardware store, it will usually come with a little tag that tells you what you need to know about that specific plant. Do a little research online, too, if you want to learn more. You can also ask for guidance at your local nursery from gardening experts who can help you get set up for success.
  • Get the right pot and soil. Make sure the pot you use has drainage holes to let water escape (you’ll also want to use a drainage tray to capture the excess so it doesn’t damage your home). Use a good potting soil that holds moisture, provides nutrients, and is well aerated. Again, ask at your local nursery if you need any help choosing the right materials.
  • Place your plants carefully. Some houseplants thrive in warm locations, others require direct sun to live, and yet others do better without any sun at all. Research each plant to know what it likes, and then find a good place for it to call home where it can get what it needs. Rotate your pots fairly regularly so different sides of the plant can face the light.
  • Don’t overwater. You might be concerned about not watering your plants enough, but don’t overcompensate and make the mistake of watering too much! The soil should be moist, but not soaking wet. Most houseplants do okay with watering once or twice per week, but that can vary depending on the season and climate.
  • Go for easy options if you are a gardening beginner. Succulents and cacti are super easy to care for. They are very hard to kill, don’t need to be watered often, and can tolerate even the worst of green thumbs. So start with these kinds of plants if you want to ease into plant care.

  • If you want to give your health a boost, houseplants are a simple solution that can do wonders for how you feel – both mentally and physically. Find a few plants that you think would fit well into your space, get informed about the care instructions, and start cultivating your health-promoting indoor greenery today!


    References

    1. https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2016/august/selecting-the-right-house-plant-could-improve-indoor-air-animation.html
    2. https://public.wsu.edu/~lohr/pub/2010LohrBenefitsPltsIndoors.pdf
    3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3230460/
    4. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19930073015
    5. https://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2007/ps_3.html
    6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4419447/
    7. https://ellisonchair.tamu.edu/health-and-well-being-benefits-of-plants/
    8. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/acm.2009.0075
    9. https://journals.ashs.org/hortsci/view/journals/hortsci/44/1/article-p102.xml
    10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5663021/
    11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25068481/
    12. https://greenplantsforgreenbuildings.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Human-Spaces-Report-Biophilic-Global_Impact_Biophilic_Design.pdf
    13. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272494410001027?via%3Dihub
    14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4877070/
    15. https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/16/4506/htm


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