10 Of The Best Mood-Boosting Houseplants
Houseplants have enjoyed a major surge in popularity over the last few years. While décor trends can take some of the credit, an increasing awareness of the health benefits of indoor plants has also played a part. Multiple clinical studies have proved that tending plants can boost your mood, and help with symptoms of conditions such as anxiety and dementia.
How can plants help to improve mood?
First, a little science to help us understand why it’s a great idea to introduce a few mood-boosting plants into your home or office environment.
Indoor plants may help reduce stress levels
One recent study compared a group of people who were assigned one of two tasks – caring for a plant or completing a short computer task. After each task, the plant carers showed lower stress rates, heart rate and blood pressure. The concept of horticultural therapy has been around for decades, and some clinicians ‘prescribe’ houseplants to reduce stress and increase feelings of well-being in their patients.
Plants may help you recover from illness faster
Looking after plants in your home, even in simple ways, has been shown to help people recovering from illness, injury and even surgery. Studies have focused on people in a hospital setting but there’s no reason not to take advantage of the same benefits at home.
Plants may boost your productivity
Various studies have shown that people working with a plant in their office area are more productive and creative than those without one. With increasing numbers of people working from home, this means you get the productivity benefits and associated lifestyle benefits of having a plant in your home.
Plants may improve air quality in your home
Finally, improving the air quality in your home can also have a big impact on mental and physical health. Most of us are surrounded by toxins and pollutants that we aren’t aware of, and anything that can reduce these will benefit us in countless ways.
Best mood-boosting plants for your home
So, while any plant can have a positive impact on your home or office, there are some that stand out from the crowd.
Succulents and cacti
If you’ve struggle to keep houseplants alive in the past, a succulent or cactus is a great way to restore your confidence. They’re low-maintenance, requiring very little watering, especially during the winter. Like many of the other plants on this list, they can purify the air in your home and help to increase productivity – a great option if you’re working from home.
Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) are wonderful houseplants. Not only do they trap mould particles in the air, they also absorb their own water before releasing it back into the room. If you want your peace lily to blossom, simply expose it to early light in the mornings and shade it from late-evening light. You should also keep the soil wet and lightly spray its leaves on a regular basis. Peace lilies are dangerous to dogs, so be careful to keep them out of your pet’s reach.
Place a lavender plant in your bedroom and it will help to reduce stress levels, and improve the quality of your sleep. Water the plant regularly, and keep it in a location that gets plenty of light to allow it to develop.
A snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata) is another great choice for reluctant indoor gardeners, as they require minimal upkeep. They’re particularly beneficial for people with allergies, as they provide moisture to the air while also releasing oxygen. Random fact: they were the most Googled plant during the Covid lockdown.
Every influencer’s favourite, monstera (also known as a Swiss cheese plant) can improve your mood, as well as your Instagram feed. An efficient air-purifier, their stem-cuttings are also easy to root, allowing you to propagate new plants.
Monstera are also poisonous to pets and small children, so you need to be careful where you place them. They thrive in humid spots away from direct sunlight, making the bathroom an ideal location.
Gerbera daisies are the most efficient plant for removing benzene from the air, as well as other pollutants. They also provide oxygen during the night, so they’re great for anyone suffering from sleep apnoea.
Gerberas enjoy bright morning sunlight, but they should be placed in a shadier location during the afternoon to avoid the sun scorching their leaves. Use a full-spectrum grow light during the winter months to help it grow.
Peacock plants (Calathea makoyana) help to purify your home by eliminating chemical vapours from the air. They do, however, need a lot of attention, and are happiest at temperatures between 18 and 28°C. They’re prone to spider mites, but you can keep infestations at bay by keeping the plant in an area with high humidity and an indirect light source.
Aloe vera has a long history of being used to treat medical conditions and relieve symptoms. The gel can assist with things such as acne and sunburn, and provides relief from a range of issues including heartburn and toothache.
To keep your aloe plant healthy, place in bright but indirect sunlight and allow it to dry out between each watering.
English ivy (Hedera helix), like peace lily, absorbs mould in the air, which can help to purify your environment. It can also aid in the reduction of restlessness, allowing you to relax better at night.
Keep your English ivy in sunlight and make sure its soil is somewhat moist to ensure it flourishes.
Venus fly trap
While Venus fly traps don’t purify the air, they’re quite successful at removing flies and spiders from your house – great news for arachnophobes!
They prefer bottled or filtered water, so wherever possible, avoid watering straight from the tap. If you have a patio or garden, leave your Venus fly trap out in the light on warm days before returning it indoors during the evening.