If you’re like me, you probably spend a lot of time scouring Pinterest for interior design inspo. And if you’re like me, you probably see a lot of pins with gorgeous plants in every room. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been tempted to buy a fiddle leaf fig for my apartment, but then I remember that I’m terrible…well, improving at taking care of plants.
Plants make a home look and feel alive. And according to some research, they might even make indoor air healthier to breathe and improve your mood. If you’re on the fence about keeping a houseplant, here are four benefits that just might convince you. (Plus, a few reasons why you might want to avoid them.)
1. Plants Reduce Stress Levels
In today’s fast-paced world, finding ways to reduce stress is more important than ever. Keeping a houseplant has been shown to decrease stress hormones in the body and promote feelings of relaxation.
Studies have also found that interacting with plants can lower heart rate and blood pressure, both indicative of higher stress levels. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant to help you relax, consider investing in a succulent or cactus!
2. Plants Boost Your Mood and Productivity
Not only do plants reduce stress levels, but they can also boost your mood and increase feelings of happiness. One study found that patients who had flowers in their rooms reported feeling less anxiety and were more satisfied with their hospital stay than those who did not.
Plants have also been linked to increased productivity and focus.
Numerous studies have shown that plants can positively affect mood and productivity. For example, a recent study by the University of Michigan found that employees who had plants in their office reported higher levels of satisfaction with their job and felt more productive than those who did not have plants.
The study also found that plants helped to reduce stress levels and improve cognitive function.
In addition, another study by the University of Queensland found that students who studied in rooms with plants scored higher on tests than those who studied in rooms without plants.
These studies suggest that plants can have a real and tangible impact on mood and productivity. Consequently, incorporating plants into the workplace or classroom could likely improve overall satisfaction and performance.
3. Plants Improve Your Sleep Quality
If you’re struggling with insomnia or facing poor sleep quality, adding a plant to your bedroom could be the answer. Plants release carbon dioxide at night, which helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle by promoting drowsiness before bedtime.
One study found that patients who slept with plants in their rooms reported feeling more rested and had an easier time falling asleep than those who didn’t. If you’re looking for a plant to help you get a good night’s sleep, consider investing in an aloe vera plant!
4. Plants Boost Your Immune System
Lastly, keeping a houseplant can boost your immune system and help you fight off colds and other illnesses. One study found that office workers who had plants in their workspace reported fewer sick days than those who did not have plants in their workspace.
Plants work to filter out harmful toxins and bacteria from the air, which helps keep you healthy throughout the year.
There are also several edible houseplants and herbs you can keep that have medicinal properties. Some of these include:
- Aloe vera – can be used to treat burns and other skin conditions
- Chamomile – has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, making it helpful in treating stomach aches, indigestion, and cramps
- Echinacea – boosts the immune system and can help to fight colds and flu
- Lavender – has calming and soothing effects, making it helpful for treating anxiety and insomnia
- Peppermint – can aid in digestion and also has pain-relieving properties
- Rosemary – is a good source of antioxidants and can help improve circulation
You can enjoy their health benefits and delicious flavor by incorporating them into your diet.
Why You Should Not Keep Houseplants
While keeping houseplants may seem harmless to spruce up your home, there are some downsides to consider.
From an environmental perspective, the production of houseplants requires a significant amount of energy and water. The horticulture industry is responsible for massive resources used in growing and transporting greenery. Their water use strains drought-prone areas, while nitrates from fertilizers have contaminated the Chesapeake Bay and California’s drinking water.
There is also heavy use of pesticides necessary in the houseplant growing industry, but they come with harmful side effects.
In addition, the transportation of plants from growers to retailers can result in a large carbon footprint. From an ecological standpoint, houseplants can actually be quite harmful to local ecosystems. When plants are brought into homes, they can introduce new species of insects and diseases that can wreak havoc on native populations.
For example, some plants harbor pests such as aphids or mealybugs, which can infest your home if the plant is not treated.
And it’s not just pests, most plastic pots used for plants are not recyclable in many places, and 98% wind up in landfills.
On a personal level, plants often require a lot of care and attention. You must water them regularly, and their leaves must be dusted or sprayed to prevent them from accumulating too much dust. In addition, some plants are poisonous if ingested, which can pose a risk to children and pets.
Houseplants can also be a source of allergens, and their pollen can trigger asthma attacks in people who are sensitive to them.
All in all, the benefits of keeping a houseplant far outweigh the challenges. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to get a plant for your home, I say go for it! You may be surprised at how much better you feel with a little green friend in your life.
And if you’re already a plant parent, what are some of your favorite benefits and biggest challenges with your house plants? Let me know in the comments below!