10 Benefits of Indoor Plants

10 Benefits of Indoor Plants

The popularity of houseplants has grown significantly in recent years and collectors go wild for new species and new variegation patterns.  But plants are so much more than just gorgeous specimens to add to our homes.  Plants can and do offer significant benefits, such as improved health, elevated moods, and better sleep.

The popularity of houseplants

...Has grown significantly in recent years and collectors go wild for new species and new variegation patterns. But plants are so much more than just gorgeous specimens to add to our homes. Plants can and do offer significant benefits, such as improved health, elevated moods, and better sleep.
While there are countless reasons to add some plants to your space, below we’ve compiled a list of the top ten perks of keeping plants and why we think you’ll love them as much as we do.

1. Plants naturally improve indoor air quality.

Plants are nature’s best air purifiers and can improve indoor air quality significantly by removing toxins from your home. When you bring new furniture or carpets into your space or use household products like cleaning sprays, paints, and stains, you may inadvertently release harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.  VOCs have been linked to a range of health problems, such as chronic migraines, mental confusion, nausea, and certain types of cancer. But plants can help.  In fact, a study conducted by NASA found that it only takes about fifteen plants to drastically reduce the amount of VOCs found in an 1800-square-foot home! While all plants can improve indoor air to some degree, certain plants are better at air purification than others, such as lady palm, rubber tree, spider plants, and Ficus.

2. They enhance any décor.

With their gorgeous rich green leaves and vibrant flowers, houseplants can add flair and interest to any room. Whether your taste is classic elegance or something a bit more bohemian, houseplants fit with any décor and can turn a bland bedroom or sparse bathroom into a tropical paradise. Try playing with different heights and textures when using plants as decorative elements in your home. Or pair structural plants, like snake plants, with the more delicate forms of vining pothos or feathery foliage plants, like China dolls, to take your display to the next level.

3. They can save you money on grocery bills.

Buying fresh herbs at the grocery store can get expensive fast. But if you love cooking with fresh herbs and you don’t have space outdoors for a garden, you can still grow an abundance of fresh dill, basil, and other plants right on your kitchen windowsill. Whether you create a simple setup with a few small terracotta pots or a more elaborate grow room complete with LED lights and self-watering planters, many different herbs will grow happily indoors. Some of the best herbs to start with are dill, basil, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, chives, and thyme. Or, if culinary herbs aren’t your style, you can also try keeping medicinal plants, like aloe or some more giant fruiting trees. Plants like avocados, Meyer lemon trees, and kumquats do well when kept as houseplants. Just be sure to provide them with plenty of bright sun and feed them with a good fertilizer suitable for citrus trees, and they’ll produce tasty fruit for your enjoyment for years to come.

4. Plants reduce indoor allergens in the air.

Although the process is not entirely understood, studies have found that plants naturally reduce mold and dust in indoor air, which can be particularly beneficial for anyone who suffers from chronic allergies. A study by Washington State University found that houseplants can drop dust levels in indoor air by as much as 20%.  Even better, when kept in steamy bathrooms, plants can significantly reduce high humidity levels, promoting mold growth. The best plants for the jobs include English Ivy, Chinese evergreens, and peace lilies.

5. Houseplants can increase humidity levels in dry homes.

During the photosynthesis process, plants release oxygen, but they also expel water vapor, which can help combat dry indoor air, particularly in the depths of winter. Heating systems can cause indoor air to dry in winter, causing issues like dry and frizzy hair, dehydrated skin, and even nose bleeds. While humidifiers can help, plants offer an easy alternative that is guaranteed not to run up your electricity bill. While most plants can help increase indoor humidity levels to some degree, a recent study found that spider plants are some of the best plants for boosting humidity. In this study, spider plants raised humidity levels from 20% to 30% in 24 hours.

6. They can help alleviate anxiety and depression.

Having something to care for, such as a houseplant, can do wonders for combating common issues like anxiety and depression. Not only can the simple act give you a sense of purpose, but the reward of seeing a plant bloom under your area can put a smile on your face. But studies have found that plants can improve mental health issues in tangible, measurable ways. A survey conducted in 2000 discovered that working around plants can cause your body to release serotonin, which improves mood, aids digestion, and can improve sleep. But it wasn’t the plants themselves that caused this result. This serotonin boost was triggered by a naturally occurring soil-dwelling bacterium, known as Mycobacterium vaccae, that is found in outdoor soil and some potting mixes too. If you’ve ever felt better after repotting your plants or digging in your garden, there’s a good reason why!

7. You’ll sleep better.

Studies have found that increased oxygen levels promote sleep and deep, restorative sleep.  Because oxygen is released as a byproduct of photosynthesis, it should be no surprise that adding plants to your bedroom can significantly improve sleep quality. While plants release oxygen during photosynthesis, some plants are more prolific oxygen producers and make ideal plants for keeping in bedrooms, such as snake plants, Chinese evergreens, and Gerbera daisies.

8. Plants are all-natural stress busters.

It’s no secret that being in nature can reduce stress levels. But did you know simply working with houseplants can do that too? A recent study found that common signs of stress, such as high cortisol levels, rapid breathing, and elevated heart rate and blood pressure, can all be reduced by houseplants.Whether you’re just doing your weekly watering or performing more elaborate plant maintenance, such as repotting and fertilizing your favorite plants, don’t be surprised if you feel an inner sense of peace from the work. Just as you’re helping your plants, they’re helping you too.

9. Buffer sound pollution with greenery.

If you live in the city, you’re probably used to the sound of traffic, car horns, and neighbors chatting. But if these sounds get on your nerves, you may be able to use houseplants to help. Plants, particularly broad-leafed species, can help counteract noise pollution by absorbing or deflecting unwanted sounds. To use plants in this manner, try placing some plants against windows that seem noisiest or add a grow light or two and locate a few plants next to a wall to buffer sounds from boisterous neighbors. While any broad-leafed plant will do, some great choices include fiddle-leaf figs and rubber trees.

10. They can increase productivity.

Plants make people happy and happy people work better.  That’s the reasoning behind a recent shift in many workplaces that has resulted in indoor plants making a comeback in office settings and classrooms too. Interestingly, a recent study even proved this link with its finding that plants boosted productivity levels in workers by up to 15%.  Similarly, another studyfound that students who took tests in classrooms filled with plants improved their test scores significantly. Whether you work at an office or from home, why not try adding a few plants to your workspace? It may make your workday fly by quicker or, if not, it will at least add a bit of office charm.

Conclusion

The beauty of houseplants, their bold flowers, and patterned leaves may be enough of a reason for you to want to start a collection. But if you need more than simple aesthetics to convince you, there are plenty more reasons to keep plants at home.
Houseplants offer us many benefits, from better air quality and healthier homes to improved mental health and productivity. All they ask in return is a bit of sunlight and a drink of water from time to time. So, pick up a few plants for your home or office. In no time, you’ll feel and see the benefits, and the plants may reward you themselves with a beautiful bloom or glossy new leaf too.

Commonly Asked Plant Questions Reading 10 Benefits of Indoor Plants 1 minute
Guest writer Mason of Just Houseplants gives his take on the top 10 benefits of houseplants. Just Houseplants is a free educational resource that covers everything you need to know about caring for indoor plants.