From the biggest succulent to towering monsteras, it’s no secret that keeping houseplants can transform a house into a home. Houseplants not only offer a pop of color and homey feeling, they also have significant other benefits that you can reap. As we head into planting season outdoors, here are some reasons to consider adding to your indoor garden as well!
Benefits of Keeping Houseplants
Keeping houseplants has been shown to have a marked impact on productivity in the workplace and in the home. With a large percentage of the workforce working from home at least once per week, keeping a plant or two around the kitchen table, office, or wherever else you get work done may help increase your productivity.
A 2014 study found that greenery in office spaces was associated with both increased productivity and retention of employees. Thriving plants have also been shown to help alleviate and prevent mental fatigue during long work days, and even helped to improve memory performance.
Cleaning the Air
One of the biggest benefits of owning houseplants is the positive effects they can have on the air quality inside your home. Indoors, the air we breath in an out can get stale and stagnate, especially in spaces with limited airflow. It’s no secret that plants are expert air-cleaners— the process of photosynthesis takes toxic CO2 and converting it into breathable oxygen that benefits us humans. Houseplants are also known to remove other toxins and compounds from the air, keeping the indoor air safer overall.
When added to these sorts of spaces, houseplants can bring a freshness and vibrance to the air, helping you breath better! This is especially beneficial for those of us with allergies or asthma.
To really reap the benefits that houseplants can have on the air quality in your home, it’s best to have at least two medium-sized plants for every 9.3 square meters (about 100 square feet).
Essentially, the bigger the plant and the more plants you have, the better your air quality will be. Keep in mind that large, leafy plants offer the best air cleaning, since air purification takes place on the leaf’s surface.
Clearing the Mind
There’s a reason that house plant sales skyrocketed at the beginning of the pandemic. Not only are these little green friends good for your physical health by cleaning up the air, keeping houseplants has also been associated with improving mental health as well!
Keeping houseplants, whether indoor or outdoor, is almost a great practice in mindfulness. It takes our hands off the keyboard and away from the phone and gives us something tactical to do instead, letting us be fully present where we are. This practice alone can have massive mental health benefits, possibly resulting in decreased symptoms.
In addition to mental health benefits, keeping houseplants may play another role in physically bettering your health besides cleaning the air. A 2015 study found that indoor houseplants may reduce physiological stress by lowering blood pressure and suppressing the sympathetic nervous system. Why isn’t every doctor recommending keeping houseplants?!
Choosing Your Plant
Now that we’ve established that houseplants are great for your mind, body, and spirit, you may tempted to go to the nearest plant shop and buy every succulent in sight. Unfortunately, that’s not the best way to get started in keeping houseplants.
While we don’t discourage that, it’s important to understand what kinds of plants will do best in the space that you have. Whether you live in a beautiful house with lots of natural light throughout the day or a cozy studio apartment in a shaded complex can make the difference between the types of plants that will thrive in your space and which ones won’t.
Low light plants don’t need direct sunlight to thrive. Light needs are important when considering keeping houseplants. In fact, some low light plants fall apart if they do receive too much sunlight. Low light plants are a great option for offices or homes that receive limited direct sunlight throughout the day. If your space has few windows (or no windows at all) it may be worth it to invest in artificial lights to provide your plants with the light they need.
10 Low light plants to choose from:
- Spider Plant
- Prayer Plant
- Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)
- Golden Pothos
- Staghorn Fern
- Peace Lily
- ZZ Plant
- Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa)
- Snake Plant
Plants that thrive in high light require more direct and indirect sunlight and thus do best in homes and offices that receive lots of direct, natural light.
Here are 10 high light indoor plants to get you started:
- Jade plant
- Aloe Vera
- African Milk Bush
- Ponytail Palm
- Dwarf Umbrella
- Meyer lemon