The 5 reasons behind why having houseplants really can be beneficial to your physical and mental health

Student Contributor

The number of people buying houseplants over recent years has dramatically increased, but often the physical and mental benefits which accompany them are unbeknown to the houseplant’s owner. Especially with more time being spent indoors, houseplants can be a great way to bring a little bit of the outside into your home with you and tending to them can quickly become a new hobby. Here are 5 reasons why these little (or sometimes rather large) houseplants can have such a positive impact on our lives:

Better air for breathing

When plants photosynthesis they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which makes plants and people natural partners as we require oxygen to live. Some plants however do the reverse of this overnight but orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads continuously release oxygen, so these are the ideal plants to have in bedrooms to refresh the air during the night. Additionally, research has found that indoor plants can help remove common toxins and pollutants from the air! To help plants perform these processes try to keep their leaves clean and free of dust.


Boost mental wellbeing/ therapeutic

Humans evolved on earth amongst grasslands surrounded by trees and plants so it is not surprising that houseplants can help us to feel more at home and relaxed. A study gave participants two different tasks: repotting a houseplant or completing a short computer-based task and after each the participants heart rate and blood pressure was monitored as these are the biological factors associate with stress. A spike in heart rate and blood pressure was recorded for those carrying out the computer task despite them being used to computerized work, whilst the stress response was lowered in those carrying out the indoor gardening task.



Sense of accomplishment

Taking ownership of a houseplant (or multiple) requires a level of regular dedication to the plant itself in terms of watering and feeding it and ensuring it has adequate access to light for growth. This process of caring and nurturing can then produce a sense of pride and accomplishment as the work that goes into maintaining a houseplant is visible as it grows. This sense of accomplishment can then help boost productivity in other areas of your life too as you may feel more motivated and confident that you can achieve something.


Sharpen focus

As already mentioned, plants can help to reduce stress and improve your calmness and wellbeing which in turn can have positive impacts on your levels of creativity and ability to focus on tasks. The Royal College of Agriculture found that students displayed 70% greater attentiveness when they were taught in rooms containing houseplants!



Improve health

Improvements in physical health have also been reported due to the presence of plants: hospital patients were found to require less pain medication and were released sooner from hospital when plants were present in their room opposed to those who did not have houseplants in their room. Also, studies have associated houseplants with lower levels of fatigues, and fewer colds, headaches, coughs, and sore throats.



Best plants for indoor use

Plant name Benefits Best location
Spider plant Purifies air and removes toxins (formaldehyde) Living spaces
Gerbera Daisy Releases Oxygen at night and purifies the air Bedrooms or living rooms to refresh night-time air
English Ivy Removes benzene from the air Dorm rooms or home office
Peace Lily Removes mould from the air Bathrooms or damp areas of the home

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