Yes, they’re pretty. And yes, they’re nice gifts (men, ahem), but they’re a lot more than that. There are people who dedicate their lives to the biology, protection, and growth of plants. While you don’t have to be extreme, it’s important to understand their value and the health benefits of indoor plants.
Luscious emerald leaves of growth…okay, plants (call them what you will) are SO beneficial. We’ll plant some knowledge seeds on why they are important, the mental health benefits, and the top 5 house plants to have in your home!
Why are Plants Important?
Sometimes it’s easy to forget the why as opposed to the what. The benefits of indoor plants are many, but this section is an overview of all plants to understand their purpose. So why do we need them?
- absorb carbon dioxide (there’s too much of it right now) and release oxygen (what we use to breathe),
- cooldown the environment (especially good for cities),
- are a food source for many species (including us – herbal tea, anyone?),
- and provide homes for critters and insects.
While you may not appreciate bugs, indoor plants make it easy to avoid insects, be taken care of, and add texture to your living quarters.
Health Benefits of Indoor Plants
Plants are gorgeous and refreshing in a four-walled space; you’re bringing the natural world inside with you. I was shopping with my friend in Target when we saw succulents and orchids sitting pretty in their stands nearby. I never thought Target would have such a variety of indoor plants but I realized no matter the place, I gravitate toward anything green and lush. Why is that?
Plants help us to utilize and heighten our senses. Our sight is pleased by a natural, rich arrangement, our smell is soothed by earthly sweets, and our touch brings us a real connection with nature, back to our roots.
It’s easy to forget how important our five senses are, but plants help bring them out. I wouldn’t recommend tasting plants unless you are equipped with herbal knowledge and experience, but the other four senses keep us mindful.
Side happiness tip: don’t forget about sights and smells that bring you joy. It’s plants and eucalyptus for me, but what is it for you?
Indoor plants can improve your health emotionally, mentally, and even physically if you count lower tension from stress in your body!
Boost mood and productivity levels
Attention! Good, now that I have it, that’s what real plants will do for you. Some mental health benefits to indoor plants include sharpening the attention, boosting your mood, and increasing productivity levels. MDPI conducted a study and it showed real plants improve concentration, especially in your workspace.
Clean the air
Plants eliminate harmful toxins like the CO2 you breathe in, and in an indoor space, it’s crucial to have good air circulation. In 1989 NASA wanted to create cleaner, better air circulation in their spacecraft. What did their studies reveal? Certain indoor plants purify in a small space, removing organic chemicals from indoor air. How’s that for the health benefits of indoor plants!
Give off natural scent
Indoor plants give a refreshing, natural scent to the air which is perfect for when guests come over. The soil and organic properties emit an aroma of it’s earthly natural process.
A quick tip: if your roommates or kids aren’t the cleanest, just stick a strong-smelling, colorful plant in the middle of the room as a distraction…
House plants also help reduce stress and ease the mind.
In the Journal of Psychology Anthropology, a study was conducted on a group of individuals who had to complete repotting a house plant and a computer task. After each, scientists measured their blood pressure and heart rate, both associated with stress factors. The conclusion? Repotting the plant reduced stress while the computer task increased it profoundly.
I want to add that house plants are fairly inexpensive. Small succulents, for example, start off at around $10, and I’ve found some for even less! For example, Fred Myer has small to medium-sized succulents for up to $15. If you want a larger indoor plant such as a ficus, you will be looking at at least $20.
Affordable ways to improve your health are key to keeping a calm mind and stress levels low.
The Top House Plants
Depending on what type of indoor plant you’re looking for (color, size, benefits), you’re likely to find a bunch of great ones. I’ve found these top 5 plants to be the best.
- Peace Lily – a dramatic plant that “faints” when it needs water, it will clean the air and neutralize odors. It also produces lovely white flowers when healthy.
- Spider Plant – this house plant is one of the easiest to grow and looks like a spider reaching out of the pot. The spider plant will purify the air in your home and is relatively easy to take care of – just keep it out of direct sunlight.
- Pothos Plant – twisty and beautiful in a hanging pot, this indoor plant should be set in front of a large window for indirect light. Luckily, it doesn’t need much care.
- Aloe – mine is overflowing at the moment, but has been with me for over 2 years! With juicy, plump “branches”, this plant has healing properties, good for use in hand sanitizer, lotion, and more.
- ZZ Plant – this is an indoor plant that will remind you of a tropical place with its looks. Super easy care of low light and low maintenance, it’s also one of the plants in NASA’s study for purifying indoor air.
The best indoor plants are the ones with easy care and health benefits. While these are the top five, there’s a lot more where that came from!
Whether you’re a new plant lover or one who has been in the game for a while, there are more than a few health benefits of indoor plants to enjoy. If the idea of taking care of something else in your busy schedule seems daunting, start with a fake plant! It’ll still ease your conscious and brighten the room.