The Benefits of Houseplants
The Benefits of Houseplants: Creating a Calming and Beautiful Home
No matter the weather outside, growing plants indoors means we can enjoy nature all year round. It’s a hobby that can take as much or as little time as you like – plus it’s inexpensive and very satisfying.
Plants provide a range of wonderful benefits to our mental and physical health. Are you ready to explore the many reasons to keep houseplants? We’ll also provide some top tips on how to look after them – even for those yet to find their green fingers. So, what are the benefits of houseplants?
Houseplants create a decorative impact
Houseplants are a great way to add attractiveness and improve the comfort of a room. Their leaves are varying shades of green, sometimes with tints of red, purple, yellow or grey. Flowering houseplants can come in all manner of shades, adding another decorative dimension to your room. Think about how the colours will complement your existing furniture, wallpaper, curtains and carpets.
Consider the size of the entire plant and the space available. Houseplants can be small enough to grow in a pot on the windowsill, or large enough to take up a corner of a room from floor to ceiling. Look at the shape of the leaves, too. The large, thick holed foliage of the Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) are very different to the spiky upright leaves of an Aloe vera, for example. Both are beautiful in their own ways!
An indoor plant can also make a great gift for a new home, especially for someone who already has everything they need. Fresh flowers are lovely, but the benefit of indoor plants is that they will last for much longer, and provide a lasting reminder of the kind person who gave the present.
Indoor plants can be mood-boosting
You can get a great sense of fulfilment and satisfaction from nurturing a plant. Caring for another living thing can be very rewarding; knowing that your efforts are helping to keep something alive. So, the responsibility of growing an indoor plant (or a few) can be a lovely little confidence boost.
The colour green is widely used by interior designers to create a feeling of calmness and tranquillity. Many houseplants have lots of gorgeous green foliage, meaning that they naturally add to the relaxing mood of a room.
Growing plants indoors is also an opportunity to learn a new skill. Although many can be grown with only basic knowledge, there are always things to learn. Reading or listening to books about indoor plants is a great way to improve your skills and feel good about developing your knowledge.
House plants can be anxiety-reducing
There is a lovely sense of purpose and achievement from successfully growing a plant, and it’s a great way to switch off and relax. Tending to your plants can take your mind off things, providing a welcome distraction from life’s worries as you concentrate on looking after them. Looking for other ways to take a break? Read our advice on how to relax and reduce stress levels.
The concept and practice of mindfulness has become very popular recently and can be applied perfectly to growing houseplants. It’s easy to walk past a plant or for it to fade into the mix of the room, so put time aside each day to study and appreciate your plants. Notice the colour and texture of the leaves, flowers, and other characteristics, and think about how you feel when looking at the plant. It can reduce anxiety and make you feel more at ease.
Keeping indoor plants can help remove pollutants from your home
Another benefit of houseplants is that they can improve air quality in your home. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen, increasing the amount of oxygen available for us to breathe in. This is especially useful for those with respiratory issues. The Snake plant (also known as Mother in law’s tongue, and botanically as Dracaena trifasciata), releases oxygen at night, so is a good plant to have in your bedroom.
Some species of houseplant absorb other pollutants from the atmosphere. These pollutants, such as benzene and formaldehyde, come from all sorts of household products. Plants can take these pollutants in and process them, purifying the air for you. Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are particularly good at reducing air-borne pollutants – and they’re very easy to look after!
Plants naturally release moisture into the air, creating a more humid atmosphere which can help to relieve dry skin and can also provide a cushion from noise pollution. They act as a pillow, absorbing and deflecting sound. Rooms with hard floors can cause sound to bounce from the surfaces, and plants can be used to soften this.
House plants can help you to create connections
The word ‘biophilia’ describes the human subconscious need for connection with nature. So, it is naturally gratifying to see nature flourish inside your home. Learning more about nature at close hand, and noticing the evolution of an independently living plant, connects us to the wider world on a deeper level.
Growing houseplants can also increase your connections with others. Local plant and gardening societies, as well as online groups, can provide a way to socialise and meet others who share your interest and passion for houseplants.
Top tips for indoor plant care
We can all enjoy the benefits of indoor plants with just a few simple steps. And whilst you might not be Monty Don just yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t properly look after and care for your houseplants. Follow our top tips to get started:
- Know the type of houseplant that you have so that you can provide it with the best possible growing conditions. Most houseplants originate from tropical or sub-tropical climates, so have quite different needs to the conditions inside your home.
- All plants have different moisture needs and will need to be watered in a way that best replicates their natural environment. Succulents and cacti for example like dry conditions, so only water them when the compost is quite dry.
- There are houseplants to suit all sorts of rooms. Some will tolerate shade better than others, and some need generous amounts of light. Geraniums, for example, need lots of light, but will not do well in conditions where strong, direct sunlight can stress them. Aloe vera on the other hand will be very happy on a windowsill in full sun.
- Look out for roots protruding from the bottom of a container. If this happens, move your plant to a larger pot, using compost that has been specially formulated for pot plants. Feed with a fertiliser intended for houseplants, carefully following the instructions on the packet.
- Finally, always check whether the plant is toxic, and, if necessary, make sure that it is out of reach of children and pets.
We hope this list of the best benefits of houseplants has convinced you to take up growing indoor plants and make your house feel like a home. See our helpful guide of the best indoor plants to get you started. There are hundreds to choose from, and we look at some varieties that could be the right ones for you.
At HSL, your comfort and wellbeing are our top priority, so we offer a range of practical and comfortable chairs, sofas and beds that have all been approved by our Occupational Therapist, Julie Jennings Dip COT HCPC, to support a healthy lifestyle.