1) Improve your mental health
Not only do plants increase your exposure to natural light and fresh air, but they can lower stress and improve your mental health. It’s common knowledge that spending time in nature can make you feel more relaxed, but there’s scientific reasoning behind it: exposure to nature has been proven to reduce blood pressure, induce relaxation, and even stimulate nature-loving neurons in your brain. It’s no wonder 70% of Americans say they prefer a walk through a natural setting to a stroll through an urban environment—so get out there!
2) Help you sleep better
Having a lush green or colorful space in your home can help you sleep better. Spending time outdoors can indeed help combat seasonal affective disorder, but having indoor plants around at home also helps. That’s because according to research by NASA and others, seeing greenery has been linked to lowering stress levels and reducing anxiety. If you don’t have a huge living space, opt for a small indoor plant (like a cactus) in your kitchen as opposed to one huge one in an unused corner of your apartment; it will still provide visual comfort even if you aren’t able to spend as much time with it as you might like.
3) Increase productivity at work
The popular theory behind office plants is that they help improve air quality, which can lead to improved productivity and overall health. Research has shown that indoor plants do play a role in purifying the air in a room, but studies have had mixed results as to whether they affect workplace productivity. At times, they even show negative results—for example, if people think their indoor plants are decorative rather than functional. Regardless, there’s no harm in adding some green to your workspace!
4) Treat seasonal depression
It’s a common condition among gardeners: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression. SAD affects thousands of Americans each year and many gardeners. It typically occurs during fall and winter when there is less sunlight, longer nights, colder temperatures, and less overall activity in our lives. Symptoms include low energy levels, oversleeping, overeating, feelings of hopelessness, and isolation from others; you might feel like it’s too much to do anything anymore or like nothing is going your way.
5) Give your immune system a boost
Houseplants are a great way to lower your risk for illness, fight depression and anxiety, improve your sleep, reduce stress, minimize headaches and migraines, decrease allergic reactions and boost immunity. Research from NASA even suggests that plants can positively impact a building’s air quality by removing toxins like carbon dioxide. The best part? While a potted plant can be beautiful to look at, it doesn’t have to be—it can still offer some major health benefits as long as it’s alive. Be sure to choose ones with strong foliage color if you want an aesthetically pleasing plant; just remember that leaf color has nothing to do with how effective it is at boosting your health.
6) Ease anxiety
A study in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that a blend of scents can reduce anxiety in adults with chemical sensitivity. Find out which plants are most effective at relaxing you by exploring aromatherapy sites. The same site also provides tips on how to make your essential oil blends for your health needs. (In fact, you can use aromatherapy to treat just about any ailment you have.)
7) Keep your brain sharp
At around age 30, our brains start to lose mass, and nerve cells die off. While we can’t stop time from marching forward, we can take steps to keep it healthy. If you haven’t already noticed a decline in your memory or attention span, give yourself a brain boost with these tips for keeping your brain sharp. Drinks infused with berries, like blueberry and cranberry tea, are rich in antioxidants that protect nerve cells against disease and aging.
8) Make you happier and more confident
It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the greatest benefits that plants provide us is well-being. Both in research and in real life, people who have a home full of plants tend to be happier, more creative, and better at problem-solving than those who don’t. Research has found that having indoor plants can increase your well-being while reducing stress and anxiety—and even lessening your symptoms if you suffer from depression or another form of mental illness. Some experts believe it’s because people react so positively to things they create for themselves; after all, a plant is an object we choose to nurture because we see beauty in it.
9) Prevent your home from getting musty and stale air in it
Sprinkle a handful of fresh lavender and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) leaves into your vacuum bag. The same oils that give these plants their aromas can also inhibit mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms from growing on household surfaces or in carpeting or furniture. As long as you don’t burn candles, things should smell great in your home! If you want to get fancy with your home remedy arsenal, try adding some eucalyptus oil or peppermint oil for its antibacterial properties.
10) Purify the air in your room
Plants are a natural, low-tech way to purify your home’s air and they’re good for you, too. Plants emit up to 30 percent more oxygen into our indoor air when compared with other sources of indoor greenery. In addition, certain plants can remove toxins from your home such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. If you’re wondering how your plants are removing these harmful substances, keep in mind that all green plants use a process called photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen. The greener your plant is, generally speaking, the more CO2 it has converted to O2. A small number of houseplants can remove toxins from indoor air. If you have pets in your home, keep an eye out for poisonous plants like oleander, which is sometimes used as a bonsai plant and may be on display if you visit an Asian market.