It’s no secret – the internet loves houseplants. And it’s not hard to understand why. Indoor plants instantly brighten up a room, bring you closer to nature, and are an ideal way for gardeners with no outdoor space to scratch their gardening itch. In fact, there are countless benefits to owning and taking care of indoor plants, from mental health to interior design, and beyond:
Indoor plants are good for your mental health and can relieve stress
Indoor plants turn every day into a self-care day. Studies show our mental health is positively impacted when we’re surrounded by nature. Greenery is proven to lower blood pressure, release muscle tension, and counter the effects of staring at a screen all day (yes, you).
Plants are so good for you, a new branch of mental health treatment centred around gardening has emerged — Horticultural Therapy. The Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association defines it as “a formal practice that uses plants, horticultural activities, and the garden landscape to promote well-being for its participants.” Horticultural therapy has reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD in patients, and improved cognitive abilities in dementia patients.
The presence of plants, and the act of taking care of them, also relieve stress. After a long day at work, instead of flopping in front of your TV or taking out Twitter, let go of your stress by spending some one-on-one time with your plant children. They get the attention they need while you get calmer. It’s a win-win.
Indoor plants increase productivity and memory retention
We all need to be productive sometimes. Incessant distractions like the ping of a notification make focusing on any task almost impossible in the 21st century. For the small price of an indoor plant (and the time it takes to keep it alive), those problems can almost disappear.
A 2014 study by the University of Exeter found that filling your office with indoor plants can increase productivity by up to 15%.
“Simply enriching a previously Spartan space with plants served to increase productivity by 15% — a figure that aligns closely with findings in previously conducted laboratory studies. This conclusion is at odds with the present economic and political zeitgeist as well as with modern ‘lean’ management techniques, yet it nevertheless identifies a pathway to a more enjoyable, more comfortable and a more profitable form of office-based working.”Marlon Nieuwenhuis
Other studies show that nature can aid memory retention and increase alertness. If you can’t remember what you had for dinner two nights ago, an indoor plant or two may be for you.
Indoor plants are good-looking
Plants look great wherever you put them. This is an obvious point, but no less relevant.
Modern design has previously focused on muted tones and clean lines, ushering in a new emphasis on the wild, chaotic character of nature as a retort. Designers capitalized on this trend by loading every fabric and wall print with Monstera or Palm leaves. Instead, upgrade your interior design by using the real thing.
The options are almost endless when designing with plants. Want structure? Go for a Zamioculcas zamiifolia. Want a soft, comforting look? Ficus lyrata. Want to become an Instagram plant influencer? Monstera deliciosa, and don’t forget to hashtag #MonsteraMonday.
Indoor plants are the interior design jack-of-all-trades
Indoor plants aren’t just a pretty face. These practical benefits round off a room and solve some demanding design problems:
- Plants can increase indoor humidity levels for dry areas or tough winters.
- In an apartment block and tired of hearing the intimate details of your neighbor’s day? Use plants as a natural soundproofing material.
- Upgrade your bachelor apartment with a living screen separating the living and bedroom areas.
- Fill in empty corners with statement pieces or add some interest overhead with a few trailing plants.
Caring for indoor plants provides a sense of accomplishment
Keeping a plant alive can be onerous, especially for self-proclaimed plant murderers. As Theodore Roosevelt apparently said, “nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty”. He probably wasn’t talking about frantically watering the plant you forgot in a dark corner for three weeks, but it still applies.
Nurturing is part of the human experience. You don’t have to go full plant-parent and name your plants or sing to them — just caring for another living thing is enough to provide that connection and accomplishment we all seek.
Of all the companions to choose from, plants are super low maintenance. They won’t berate you for ignoring a text or ask, yet again, why you haven’t figured out what to do with your life. Plants don’t judge.
With all these positives, you should be convinced to fill your home with as many houseplants as you can find space for. Hopefully, you’ll have your own #IndoorJungle in no time.