10 Benefits of Houseplants Including Reduced Stress and Clearer Skin
You don’t need to be an interior decorator to know how much liveliness a houseplant can add to a room. Whether it’s in a bedroom, living room, or on a desk in an office, the benefits of houseplants are numerous. Not only do houseplants add beauty to a cozy room, but they also can bring incredible health benefits to the homeowners that tend to them.
- The NASA Clean Air Study was published to outline the ability of plants to remove organic chemicals—specifically benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde—from the air.
- Indoor plants have been shown to improve mood, reduce stress, and boost productivity among other benefits.
- Snake Plants, Rubber Plants, and Golden Pothos are three of the top houseplants for health.
Benefits of Houseplants: Scientific Background
Before getting in-depth into how exactly houseplants can improve your health, it’s important to discuss the history behind how homeowners discovered the main benefits of houseplants. Basically, this history traces back to the 1980s when the NASA Clean Air Study was published to outline the ability of plants to remove organic chemicals—specifically benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde—from the air (1).
The results of the study indicated that, in addition to taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, certain houseplants have the ability to purify indoor air by eliminating chemicals and toxins. In 2016, the American Chemical Society also ran a study and found that certain houseplants they tested improved indoor air quality.
The plants in the study included:
- bamboo palms
- Chinese evergreens
- English ivy
- peace lilies
- snake plants
- golden pothos
- elephant ear philodendrons
- spider plants
How Do Houseplants Improve Health?
Now that we know the background behind the research, let’s discuss the top ten benefits of houseplants.
1. Reduce stress levels: A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that plants in your home or office can make you feel more comfortable and calmer. Researchers found that participants in the study who took on a gardening task had lowered stress responses, which led them to conclude that working with plants could reduce both physiological and psychological stress (2).
2. Sharpen your attention and improve focus
3. Improving mood and mental health: For people experiencing the symptoms of mental illness, indoor gardening can be helpful. Researchers have used horticultural therapy to increase feelings of well-being among people with depression, anxiety, dementia, and other conditions (3).
4. Boosting productivity: Multiple studies have found that plants in the workspace increase both productivity and creativity, as students and employees work faster and feel better (4).
5. Improve the quality of indoor air and increase oxygen levels: Plants also increase oxygen levels in the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen during photosynthesis. A positive effect of this increased oxygenation can be to improve our mood, energy, and mental focus.
6. Reduce dust: A study done at Virginia Tech led researchers to conclude that houseplants can reduce indoor dust by up to 20%.
7. Reducing fatigue
8. Boosting healing and pain tolerance
9. Minimizing the occurrence of headaches by improving air quality
10. Easing dry skin and respiratory ailments due to dry air: Plants release water vapor into the air, which increases humidity. This is one of the best benefits of houseplants for those with respiratory issues, consistent headaches, and/or allergies (5).
Top Houseplants for Health
1. Snake Plant
The Snake Plant is considered one of the best indoor plants to have as research has shown it produces a great amount of oxygen indoors and is perfect for purifying the air. Snake Plants in particular help absorb toxins in the air while still thriving with little care. That means you don’t have to worry too much about where you place the plant or how much to water it.
2. Rubber Plant
Rubber Plants – despite the name – are real plants that absorb bacteria and mold from the air. They’re not too difficult to care for, as they do great with natural light and light watering as long as their soil is moist.
3. Spider Plant
If you’re worried about the responsibility of caring for an indoor plant, try a spider plant! These plants are super adaptable to their surroundings and can grow in low light or even direct light. Plus, you won’t have to worry about under-watering or over-watering these plants. Some varieties of the Spider Plant produce more oxygen than other indoor houseplants, and can eliminate up to 95% of toxins from the air.
4. Dracaena Marginata
This plant just needs a little bit of water, a little bit of light, and you’re good to go! Even better, these common houseplants are listed on NASA’s air-filtering plant list because of their ability to reduce benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from within the air.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera plants are not only beautiful, but they far exceed the benefits of other common houseplants. Since these plants like a lot of light, they are best placed near a window. They are great for absorbing moisture, releasing oxygen into the air, absorbing carbon dioxide at night, purifying the air, and even acting as a treatment for burns and skin irritations when you extract the aloe.
6. ZZ Plant
These plants are super easy to keep alive as they thrive in low light and only need to be watered once about every two weeks. Like the Dracaena Marginata, these plants are specifically treasured for their ability at removing harsh chemicals and toxins from the air.
7. English Ivy
To care for an English Ivy, they are known to thrive in bright light and damp soil, which is great if you’re looking for a low maintenance plant that would look amazing in the natural lighting of your home. Herbalists use this plant to treat a variety of respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchitis, as well as other conditions due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-viral properties.
8. Majesty Palm
As long as you keep these plants watered near a sunny window, you won’t have a problem keeping them alive! The main benefit of these plants is air purification.
9. Golden Pothos
The Pothos Ivy, or any Golden Pothos, are highly recommended for beginner plant parents as they are extremely easy to care for and will pretty much stay alive through anything. They thrive in low light and only need water once every couple of weeks, allowing the soil to dry. Plus, they are wonderful options for purifying the air, removing toxins, and supplying oxygen in a room.
Written by Selena Ponton