Bettering Yourself

How Plants Help With Mental Health

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 know them to that extent, it’s important to understand their value and how plants help with mental health in your daily life.

plant shop
Plant Shop in San Diego, CA

*As an Etsy and Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases which helps run this site for you!

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!

Check out my plant service business if you’re located in San Diego, CA: Zen Plant Care

Why Are Plants Important?

Sometimes it’s easy to forget the why as opposed to the what. The benefits of having houseplants and outdoor arrangements are many, but this section is a quick scientific overview to understand the purpose of plants for us and the earth. So why do we need them?

Well, they:

  1. Absorb carbon dioxide (there’s too much of it right now) and release oxygen (what we use to breathe).
  2. Cool down the environment (especially good for cities in summer).
  3. Are a food source for many species (including us – herbal tea, anyone?).
  4. Provide homes for critters and insects.

While you may not appreciate bugs, you can have a wide variety of indoor plants for making it easier to avoid insects. Beginner house plants have simple care, can adapt to busy schedules, and add beautiful texture to your living quarters.

Want to read a cute little story about plants? Check out this children’s book I created 🙂

How Plants Help With Mental Health

Plants are gorgeous and refreshing in a four-walled space; you’re bringing the natural world inside with you. How plants help with mental health is detailed in this short little story…

I was shopping with my friend in Target who was having a rough day. We suddenly came across a variety of succulents and orchids sitting pretty in their pots. Her face lit up and she trailed out of her sentence mid-conversation. We were heading toward the checkout but her feet wandered toward the plants. She looked back at me with a wide grin and said, “Oh my gosh, look at these beautiful little guys.”

I’ll leave you guessing whether she bought one or not, but although I never thought Target would have indoor plants, I realized no matter the place, people gravitate toward anything green, lush, and growing.

Do you do this?

Same! It’s because of our…

succulent arrangement
Succulent arrangement


Plants help us to utilize and heighten our senses. Our sight is pleased by natural, rich arrangements, 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, which in turn assists our mental awareness. I wouldn’t recommend tasting plants unless you are equipped with herbal knowledge and experience…but the other four senses keep us mindful.

My friend was able to be fully aware of the greenery and instantly boost her mood, whether she realized it at that moment or not.

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? Check out 5 healthy things to do that can heighten your senses!

4 Health Benefits of Having Plants in Your House

Indoor plants can improve your health emotionally, mentally, and even physically! How plants help with mental health and beyond? We’ll start with 4 easy ways.

1. 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 of indoor plants include sharpening your attention span, boosting your mood, and increasing productivity levels. MDPI conducted a study that showed real plants improve concentration, especially in your workspace. Plants are only one simple way to increase productivity in the workplace.

2. 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. The more indoor plants crowded together, the cleaner the air, and the healthier your atmosphere is, the more these plants can help with mental health. Now keep in mind, there have to be plants grouped together to create stronger results.

3. Give off a natural scent

Indoor plants provide a refreshing, natural scent to the air which is perfect for when guests come over. The soil and organic properties emit an aroma of its earthly natural process. This also caters to our senses, mentioned above, and brings us into nature instead of a sterile environment.

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 or try making your house smell good with eco-friendly tricks.

4. Reduce stress

House plants also help reduce stress and ease the mind. This can be one of the most useful components of how plants help with mental health.

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.

fiddle leaf fig - how plants help with mental health
Fiddle leaf fig (ficus)


I want to add that houseplants can be relatively inexpensive. Small succulents, for example, start off at around $5. Stores like Fred Myer or Target 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. I would also recommend your local nursery and farmer’s markets as it’s important to also support local.

Affordable ways to improve your health are key to keeping a calm mind and stress levels low.

succulents on windowsill

Top Plants With Health Benefits

Depending on what type of indoor plant you’re looking for (color, size, benefits), you’re likely to find many great ones. I’ve found these top 5 plants to be some of the best when you group them together and absorb their beauty. I’ve included links to some of the top Etsy plant sellers and recommend them all. There’s Florida

Peace Lily

peace lily plant on stand
Image from Etsy Seller

A dramatic plant that “faints” when it needs water, the peace lily will clean the air and neutralize odors. It also produces lovely white flowers when healthy.

Spider Plant

spider plant
Image from Etsy Seller

This houseplant 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. They are able to live outside or inside and grow little flowers when happy.


pothos plant on stand
Image from Etsy Seller

Twisting and beautiful in a hanging pot, this indoor plant should be set in front of a large window for indirect light for best results since this is a marble pothos. Luckily, it doesn’t need much care, just water every 2 weeks and keep whispering sweet nothings to it.


aloe vera plant
Image from Etsy Seller

Mine is overflowing at the moment, but has been with me for over 4 years! With juicy, plump “branches”, this plant has healing properties such as its use in hand sanitizer, lotion, and more. Careful, they grow fast!

ZZ Plant

ZZ plant
Image from Etsy Seller

This is an indoor plant that may remind you of a z in the way it is shaped and grows. Super duper easy care with low light and low maintenance, it’s also one of the plants in NASA’s study for purifying indoor air.

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, especially in the mental health field. If the idea of taking care of something else in your busy schedule seems daunting, start with plants that are super easy to take care of! They will ease your conscience and brighten the room. 

Happy healthy planting!

plants on patio

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Claudia Grimm
Writer and nature lover, I'm a curious gal wanting to share what I've learned in personal and environmental growth. What have I realized the most? Small steps make big impacts!

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