The Benefits of Houseplants

A woman with a potted plant in front of a window.

An estimated 70% of homebuyers are looking for eco-friendly features when they buy a new home. Being greener is a big priority for many people, and not just the ones looking for a new home. 

There are a lot of things you can do to be greener in your everyday life, like washing your clothes in cold water, buying used items when you can, and using LED bulbs instead of regular ones. 

Recycling and using programmable thermostats are good options too. 

Aside from those changes, adding houseplants into your home can not only make it freer of toxins and more eco-friendly, but it can make your home a happier, healthier place for everyone. 

Below are some of the science-backed benefits that come with having houseplants.

Reduce Your Stress

If you’d like a natural, green, and environmentally friendly way to simultaneously reduce your stress levels, add some houseplants. According to a study which was published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, having plants in your home or your office can make you feel more comfortable and calmer. 

In the study, participants were given two tasks. One task was repotting a houseplant. The other task was on a computer. 

Then, researchers measured things related to stress like blood pressure and heart rate. The group doing indoor gardening had a lower stress response. 

Interacting with plants may help reduce physiological stress and suppress the overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system. 

Think about how you feel when you spend time outdoors. You often feel connected and like you belong to something greater than yourself, which can be soothing. You can recreate these feelings with indoor plants. 

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Your home becomes a place where you’re connected to nature, and in general, our environment has a big impact on wellness, physically and mentally. 

A woman is planting a houseplant in a pot on the floor.

Better Air Quality

Having houseplants can improve your indoor air quality, and they may remove chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde, which are known to be linked to a higher risk of cancer. There’s even evidence the soil in potted plants can help keep your air cleaner. 

There are microorganisms in the soil that clean the air. 

When you’re choosing plants, particularly if your priority is better air quality, the leafier and bigger a plant is, the better. 

Research shows that plants can remove volatile organic compounds, and if you were to put six to eight medium to large plants in a big room, it would be enough to make a substantial improvement in air quality, according to research. 

If you want your plants to be especially adept at cleaning the air, make sure you keep the dust off their leaves and take them outside regularly so they can get some natural sunlight, even if they’re primarily indoor plants. 

Along with cleaning the air, indoor air plants release water vapor. That increases humidity, and more humidity can help with skin health and respiratory health because it offsets the drying effects of your heating system. If you have allergies, headaches, or any type of respiratory issues, this can be especially important. 

Plants also boost the amount of oxygen in the air because they release it during photosynthesis, and they also absorb carbon dioxide.

If you want to take advantage of the defects of oxygen from plants, you might want to place them in your so-called breathing zone, which would be within six to eight feet from where you most often sit or lie down. 

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When you have more oxygenated air around you, it can improve your energy and mood. 

A man is watering a potted plant in a living room filled with houseplants.

Better Attention

If you have a space in your home where you work, such as your home office, consider adding plants there. Researchers have found that plants in a workspace can improve your concentration, attention, and focus. 

Along with improvements in concentration, multiple studies have found plants placed in workspaces may improve creativity and productivity. For example, during a study in 2004, researchers asked study participants to make creative word associations. When a plant was in the room, it improved performance. 

In another study in 2007, people with more plants in their work areas took fewer sick days, and they ended up being more productive. 

Mental Health

Researchers have looked at the use of horticultural therapy to increase feelings of well-being among people who have anxiety, dementia, depression, and other conditions. 

The presence of the plants may help mental health, but also caring for plants can reduce anxiety and stress. You can learn to be more mindful and live in the moment as you’re taking care of your plants and enjoying the positive sensory experience they provide. 

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