The Benefits of Houseplants & Houseplant Care
Not only do houseplants look good, but research suggests that indoor plants can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. No matter the weather outside, taking care of your houseplants is a hobby that can take as much or as little time as you like.
Whether you want to spruce up your bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, or utility rooms, there isn’t anywhere that a houseplant can’t thrive. However, different indoor plants do thrive in different conditions. To help you out, we’ve gathered together some tips on how not to kill your houseplants – so you can keep your indoor oasis flourishing.
The benefits of houseplants
Indoor plants aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, they can also offer strong health benefits as well. Multiple studies have proven that houseplants keep you healthier and happier, providing both psychological and physical health benefits. Here are just some of the ways:
Removing pollutants & providing moisture
Many indoor plants (including spider plants, Boston ferns, Ficus trees & bamboo palms) can help with dry skin, headaches, and respiratory ailments due to dry air by improving the air quality of their surrounding spaces. NASA has carried out extensive studies which concluded that certain houseplants have qualities that make them exceptionally good at cleansing the air.
As plants release water vapor into the air, increasing the humidity, they can help with respiratory and skin health by counteracting the drying effects of heating systems. Indoor plants can also help to remove toxins from within your home and reduce airborne dust levels. 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!
Mood-boosting & anxiety-reducing
The stimulating bright colours, calming aromas and oxygenating abilities of houseplants have been proven to improve concentration and productivity levels. Just being around nature can improve our wellbeing by reducing our mental fatigue, increasing relaxation and even improving cognition. Although not the same as being physically outside, having houseplants can provide similar benefits. By increasing the oxygen levels in the air, houseplants can improve our mood, energy, and mental focus. Not only are they pretty to look at but they can also help you to feel better and work better.
The act of caring for your plants can also help to decrease stress and anxiety. The concept and practice of mindfulness has become very popular recently and can be applied perfectly to growing houseplants. Focusing on watering your plants and touching real foliage can stimulate an unconscious calming effect. Biologist Edward O. Wilson who wrote Biophilia hypothesised that all humans possess an innate tendency to seek connection with other forms of life. As we move into an ever-evolving urban world, it’s vital for us to prioritise reconnection with the natural world to live happier, healthier lives.
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.
And of course – plants help to brighten up the surroundings and they’re a great way to add attractiveness and comfort to a room. Flowering houseplants can come in all shades and sizes, so you can opt for ones that complement your interiors.
Whether you want one that’s 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 – there’s something for everyone out there! The large, thick holed foliage of the Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) is very different to the spiky upright leaves of an Aloe vera, for example. But, both are beautiful in their own ways.
An indoor plant can 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.
Houseplant care: How not to kill your houseplants
Wondering how to care for your houseplants? Don’t worry – we’ve put together a few important houseplant tips to keep your indoor plants flourishing.
- Losing leaves or leaves turning yellow – This is typically a sign of poor drainage, too little light or not enough water.
- Watering schedules – In general, most indoor plants should be watered when the top 0.5-1 inches of soil feels dry. Cacti and succulents need less water, but flowering plants need slightly more.
- Repotting – Check in on your plants root systems. If the roots are circling inside of the container, it’s probably time to repot the plant. Transplant it into a slightly larger container or trim off some of the roots with a sharp knife and replant into the same container with fresh potting soil.
- Removing dust – Spray a light mist of water over your plants and dust over with a soft brush if your plant has hairy leaves; or, use a cloth to gently wipe off any dust for plants with smooth leaves. This will allow your houseplants to soak up more sunlight.
- Deadheading – Trim wilting flowers from your plants to encourage new blooms and use sharp scissors to make a clean cut without damaging the plant’s stem.
- Sunlight – The amount of light your houseplant needs will be unique to each species. Have a quick google to learn the plant’s light requirements and try your best to keep it in a place that matches its optimal conditions.
- Toxicity – Always check whether the plant is toxic and, if necessary, make sure it is out of reach of children and pets.
And that’s how to care for houseplants & the benefits of them! We hope this handy guide has convinced you to start growing your own indoor plants to 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, so you can find the variety that’s right 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.