What are the health benefits of houseplants?

Gardeners have long been sharing anecdotal stories of how gardening makes them feel better. But did you know that you can get some of those wonderful benefits simply by bringing the outside in with a houseplant or two? Popping a plant in a gorgeous pot, such as these cheerful plant pots by Nicky Edmunds, ensures that your space doesn’t just look inviting and stylish, but delivers you the health benefits of houseplants too.

Houseplants look good and bring you health and wellbeing benefits. Let’s explore those benefits, so you can then enjoy choosing some plants and pots to put them in. We promise that you’ll be green-fingered in no time, while also improving your living space!

Benefits of houseplants

1. Improved air quality

Backed up by tonnes of science, the headlining benefit of houseplants is that they have been shown to improve air quality. This directly impacts on our health by improving our psychological and physiological wellbeing.

As the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) points out, it’s worth noting that whilst there’s lots of science telling us houseplants for health benefits are a good thing, we don’t actually have any data on the effect of different plant species.

Staggeringly, 4 million people die globally each year due to indoor air pollution. It may be shocking to realise that it’s not unusual for air quality to be poorer inside than out. This is generally due to various particulates as well as contaminants – often Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). VOCs come from the things around us such as detergents and even furnishings. This can even lead to a condition called Sick Building Syndrome, with symptoms such as fatigue and relentless sore throats.

Opening your windows regularly to air the space will help. However, much of the year that’s not always possible. That’s where houseplants can come in. Many plant species actually remove these chemical compounds from the air, particularly those grown in soil (rather than hydroponics for example). NASA research revealed that plants can remove as much as 87% of toxins from the air in a 24 hour period.

2. Allergy relief

Studies have revealed that rooms with more houseplants have lower levels of dust and mould. This is great news for allergy sufferers. Your houseplants actually help to clean up the air so that there are fewer irritants around to cause you grief. It’s thought that high-foliage textured-leaf plants are best for this, but avoid those with pollen or spores.

3. Create a blooming good mood

Isn’t it wonderful to know that simply popping a houseplant or two in your midst can improve your mental wellbeing? A recent study showed that 74% of people found that being surrounded by greenery in their homes improved their wellbeing during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Those with houseplants experienced less frequent negative emotions than those without. Employees in offices with indoor plants actually take fewer sick days and feel more positive about their jobs! The presence of houseplants has been linked to health wonders such as lower blood pressure, slower heart rate and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

So if your mental health needs a boost, surround yourself with happy houseplants!

4. Get focused and creative

Being around plants remarkably helps to increase creativity by 15% and boost focus. Who doesn’t want some of that from their home environment?! Indeed, being able to gaze on nature (and looking at plants is part of that), helps to lower your mental fatigue. It follows that being surrounded by plants at home helps to create a relaxing space perfect for unwinding.

5. Gain a sense of accomplishment

Anyone who has had a houseplant die on them knows how disappointing it can be. However, the converse is also true. Taking care of a plant and seeing it thrive leads to a sense of accomplishment which can really boost your mental wellbeing. Knowing that something as simple as regular watering of a plant can make you feel good about yourself is quite wonderful.

6. Increase humidity

Whether it’s heating in the winter or air conditioning in the summer, modern living saps moisture from the air indoors. The problem with this is that dry air isn’t so great for you. It can irritate your skin and it can even make you more likely to catch the common cold.

Houseplants generally add more moisture to the air, with spider plants being particularly good at raising the humidity.

7. Relax and sleep

Choosing the right houseplants can aid you in specific ways. An excellent and well-known example is lavender. Lavender has featured as a herbal medicine sleep aid for centuries for good reason.

Whilst it’s tempting to reach for a candle or some essential oils, what’s stopping you from having the real deal in your bedroom

Indeed, all plants in the bedroom aid sleep. This is because they take in carbon dioxide whilst emitting oxygen. The extra oxygen is great for the sleepers in the room.

How to get houseplants for health benefits

So, which houseplants should you choose and how should you put them in your house or workspace?

There is no hard and fast rule about the types of plants or the volume of plants. It’s a matter of personal choice whilst we’re waiting for more research to be done. If you’re new to caring for houseplants, we recommend choosing easy-to-care for and inexpensive plants. Popular houseplant choices include spider plants, English ivy, Boston fern, mother-in-law’s tongue, peace lilies and common aspidistra. Succulents also work really well for those who have a tendency to forget watering!

Pop your houseplants in beautiful pots and planters and you’ll find they really are a style addition to your home. Indeed, houseplants suit any indoor environment from sterile offices through to sumptuous bedrooms. We’ve got a wonderful range of indoor plant pots so that you can reap the benefits of houseplants for yourself whilst matching your own personal style. It’s always important to choose options which are kind to the planet too.