They’re not just pretty! There are also some health benefits of houseplants that may surprise you….
By Diane Small
Sure, home decor changes over the decades. Chintz was anything but chintzy for a long time. Avocado was more than a fruit – it was a favourable kitchen colour for a decade. And plants? They were hot in the 70s for their Emmanuelle vibe. But they’re back in a big way this year. And not only are they beautiful – there are some health benefits of houseplants that may surprise you, too!
In fact, I would highly encourage you to stuff your house with plants. I certainly have done! Thing is, you need to know how to care for them. And it’s easier than you think!
If you don’t have much light, go for these babies:
- Snake plants
Not home a lot? Always forget to water plants? Go for succulents, aloe and other cacti!
Summer Rayne Oakes, author of “How to Make a Plant Love You” and host of YouTube channel “Plant One On Me,” stresses the importance of choosing plans wisely. “If you’re just buying plants because they ‘look good’ then they are less likely to survive,” she says. Make sure the plants you choose suit your ability, living conditions and lifestyle.
Oakes recommends starting with plants like Chinese evergreen, ZZ plant, golden pothos, satin pothos or philodendron, because they don’t have intense lighting and watering regimes.
Also, if you have pets, you should also check the ASPCA site to see if a given plant is pet-friendly. Certain plants like peace lilies, angel’s trumpets and poinsettias are highly toxic to animals, for example.
Now let’s look at the rather surprising health benefits of houseplants that should really seal the deal to make these your new housemates.
5 Surprising Health Benefits Of Houseplants
1. Plants Help Improve Air Quality
Plants are an especially perfect decoration for the bedroom. Why, you may ask? While you sleep, they absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen through photosynthesis. Obviously, the cleaner our air is, the better. But get this: plants can actually suck up pollution!
Yep, that’s right. Through the phytoremediation process, plants remove contaminants in the air such as metal residues which can be very harmful when inhaled. All these processes guarantee you an increased supply of quality, clean air in your living spaces. For practically free! Cleaning your air effortlessly is definitely one of the best health benefits of houseplants.
2. Plants Can Improve Your Mental Health
Biophilia: it’s more than a Bjork album! This word actually refers to an innate urge that humans have to take care of and be in nature. In short, it’s the reason we feel good when we’re walking through the woods, or when we hear birdsong. When this urge is met, it improves our mental wellbeing, eliminates the feeling of loneliness and calms a troubled and anxious mind.
Plus, plants are pretty. And when your house is looking pretty, you feel good, right? Plants create an environment of love and life. They make empty walls in a room glow. They’re alive. They’re practically company!
3. Plants Help Reduce Noise Pollution
If you live in a city, you know that noise pollution is a real problem. Too much noise can lead to a dip in your workday productivity levels, health issues such as constant headache and fatigue, and in extreme cases, it can precipitate chronic sleeping disorders. But the good news? Decorating with houseplants can help reduce noise pollution. Here’s how:
- Your houseplants’ stems (especially those whose barks are thick and rough), leaves (especially the broad and fleshy ones), and branches aren’t just appealing to the eye. They are also great absorbers of sound. The more large-sized houseplants you have, the lower the noise levels will be in your home. What’s more, large-sized plants are great for filling up empty corners – especially in large living rooms.
- Houseplants are also great soundproofing materials because their leaves and branches can reflect sound waves, as opposed to empty dry walls that reflect sound waves around a room. So, if you place large plants along the perimeter of a noise-prone room, they will both add colour to the empty walls and create a noise-proofing fence that keeps the center of the room quieter and more habitable.
4. Gardening Improves Your Cognitive Skills
There are countless types of plants in the world, each one of them with unique characteristics. Having an indoor garden is a great way of learning about these special characteristics such as flowering and leaf patterns, as well as their maintenance requirements.
Sure, you can choose basic, low maintenance plants, but if you’re anything like me, the more plants you get, the more you love them, and the more you want to learn about them.
I started off with a few succulents, worked my way up to some ferns and orchids, and now I’m obsessed! I’m improving my green-thumb skills by reading up on plants to learn loads of stuff: the best fertilizers, correct types of dirt, grow lights, and natural pesticides. In fact, I find that owning plants is pretty much like having a pet! The more you learn, the healthier they are, and the more they give back. Win/win! And you can even learn how to grow edible plants. Which brings me to my next point…
5. Free Organic Food!
Ok, maybe this one isn’t so ‘surprising’. But it’s one of the best health benefits of houseplants!
Some herbs, fruits, and vegetables are stunning enough, both in aroma and aesthetics, to be used as decorative houseplants. These plants include radishes, scallions, herbs and strawberries. And of course, not only do they add colour to your living space, but they’re damn tasty, too!
Cilantro, chives, basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and parsley are easy to grow, and can be used for months to spice up your cooking regime. You can also easily grow micro-greens such as baby kale, beets, spinach, and arugula to add greenery to your home and more veggies to your diet. While organic food can be pricey in the supermarket, when you grow your own, it’s really a gift that keeps on giving, too.