5 Mental Health Benefits Of Indoor House Plants
By Emma Carey
You might not have a garden, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring nature to you.
They have significant mental health benefits and a vast variety available. If you’re not great at keeping things alive, then don’t worry. I’ll give you a rundown on the positive effects of plants and the best ones to pick if (like me) you’ve got a track record of killing them off.
The Major Mental Health Advantages of House Plants
1. Improves sleep
They also release oxygen into the air so you can breathe deeply and fall into a peaceful slumber. Put some in your bedroom to make a haven and relax the body and mind.
2. Connects you to nature
Living in a city, I find it hard to go for nature walks and spend time in green spaces, so why not bring nature indoors? Despite human's love of technology, we never fail to appreciate plants and flowers. It’s an innate connection that reminds us of safety, security, and peace.
When you are surrounded by nature, your body rests and refuels. It absorbs the extra oxygen, takes in eye-pleasing scenery, and releases serotonin (a happy hormone), calming the body.
3. Caring for plants promotes self-care
The bacteria in the soil also release serotonin into your body, boosting your mood and decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression.
4. Increases energy levels
Plants absorb carbon dioxide reducing pollution in your home and releasing oxygen to increase air quality. Although they release carbon dioxide at night (like you), the amount of oxygen they provide your home is more significant than if they weren’t there.
The cells in your body function better with higher oxygen levels, increasing energy and reducing tiredness.
5. They’re Aesthetically Pleasing
Have you ever noticed how draining it is in an environment that’s cluttered, messy, and unpleasant to look at? Your brain becomes overwhelmed with all the jarring objects and can’t focus on one thing.
Plants provide an oasis in your home that draws the eye with appealing shapes and calming colours. Most of your senses are through vision, so just looking at plants can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and increase focus and relaxation.
Hardest Indoor Plants To Kill
My first ever office plant was a snake plant. It was a present to myself for landing a new job and came in a clay pot. I was glad that the one I bought was well-established because it ended up living in extremely low light levels.
It turns out that was a good thing. It likes the shade and doesn’t need watering often. I once put it outside over the summer, and the sun scorched and wrecked a few of the leaves. So don’t do that. This one is definitely happy with low light.
Swiss Cheese Plant
A swiss cheese plant (or Monstera Deliciosa) is another excellent option. These babies grow as fast as bunnies breed. It doesn’t need much water, and watching the new leaves grow curly and then unfold is fun. I love that it didn’t take long until I had a mature, jungly house plant.
The only annoying thing about this plant is it gets top-heavy quickly, leading to the plant crashing over all the time. Invest in a good size pot and some sticks and twine to hold it up.
The number one thing I would say about peace lilies is to get a healthy one if you can. I was given a neglected one whose leaves were small and floppy. It looked a bit sh*t, to be honest. However, within a couple of months, it burst into life after putting it a few feet from the living room window. I eventually cut off all the woebegone leaves, and it's flourishing with a gorgeous flower.
Peace lilies also clearly tell you when they need water. Its leaves go floppy, but it perks up almost immediately as soon as you give it a drink. It’s a good plan if you’re unsure when plants need watering.
They love the sun but can survive in shadier spots. I’ve heard of a few people killing their cacti, and I’m not sure how, but it turns out they were all overwatered. Leave this guy alone, and even if he looks dead, don’t sweat too much.
Cacti are a type of succulent, but all succulents are a good choice for a first-time indoor plant owner. My first ever indoor house plant was a Crassula Ovata, a green succulent with tube shape leaves. The plant's official name in our house is ‘Tubey.’
I’ve had him for six years. He started in a tiny pot, and I repotted him until he was sturdy and mature enough to live outside. You’ll notice I refer to Tubey as a living entity. That’s how attached I am.
Tubey saw me through about five years of severe mental illness, and he’s still alive. Similarly to a cactus, he’s pretty hard to kill because he stores water in his tube-like leaves. I give him a drink if he looks weary, and he perks right back up.
House Plants Are Easy to Look After and Great for Your Mental Health
If you need an everyday pick-me-up, want to destress or increase your sleep quality, then house plants are the way to go. If you are a newbie and are unsure if you’ll keep one alive, get a well-established plant in good condition from a garden centre. Start with something easy to care for, and before you know it, you’ll be addicted to the magic of house plants.