If you haven’t yet jumped on the latest craze of indoor plants, you might want to reconsider. Being a “plant mom” has become one of the biggest trends over the last year, and it’s for good reason. Not only are plants the perfect finishing piece to any room decked out in bohemian or mid-century modern decor, but they also offer a long list of health and wellness benefits. From flu prevention and allergy help to anxiety and depression reduction, the health benefits of indoor plants are enough to turn anyone into a plant enthusiast with a green thumb.
Air purification is one of the more well-known benefits of indoor plants. Thanks to a study done by NASA in 1989, we now know that plants have the power to remove harmful toxins found in the air throughout our homes. The study looked at three specific organic chemicals that are commonly found in indoor atmospheres: benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde, all known to sometimes lead to cancer or birth defects. The results of the research show that a decrease in all three of these chemicals in the presence of indoor plants was significant. The researchers used plants such as English Ivy, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (also known as a snake plant), Ficus, and Golden Pothos, all of which are some of the trendiest indoor plants used today.
Another way that indoor plants purify the air is by getting rid of toxins and germs that can lead to a cold or the flu. Indoor plants such as Palm, Ivy, Boston fern, Peace lilies, and Rubber plants help fight cold symptoms by ridding your home of dust particles and helping to increase humidity levels. Indoor plants, especially those with bigger leaves, are great for acting as glue for dust particles that collect in your home, which in turn decreases your chances of catching a cold from excess dust. Lack of humidity and dry air is also a leading factor in catching a cold, so having plants that create humidity in the air around your home is an enormous benefit to sickness prevention.
A process called transpiration is what adds moisture to the air from indoor plants. According to The Sill, “Transpiration occurs when direct sunlight strikes the leaves and pulls water from them into the air. The plant, in turn, pulls water from the soil to replace the water that has evaporated into the air.”
There are a few key factors surrounding indoor plants and headache reduction. The most crucial reason behind why plants can reduce your chronic headaches is that plants naturally grasp the carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the air around your home and use them to produce oxygen. Having oxygen in the air around you will greatly help you prevent headaches that might stem from too much pressure in your home.
Headaches, especially in people who are prone to migraines, are also commonly caused by strong odors in the home. Things such as perfume, candles, strong cleaning products, and strong-smelling bath products can lead to sensitivity and pain in your head. Indoor plants are natural air purifiers as we mentioned above, which means they actively work to take in certain chemicals in the air and produce oxygen as a replacement. Having indoor plants throughout your home can greatly reduce these chemicals that create strong odors and lead to nasty headaches.
Headaches are often the result of bad allergies as well. We’ll dive into the details of this in the next section, but indoor plants are beneficial in helping prevent and reduce allergy symptoms in even the most allergy-prone individuals.
Reduction of Allergy Symptoms
Most allergies in relation to plants are caused by breathing in an excess of pollen during seasons where outdoor plants are producing more pollen than usual. There are many indoor plants that are not only non-pollen producing but actually collect pollen and clean the air of particles that cause allergy symptoms. Plants such as Bamboo Palms, Areca Palms, Lady Palms, Rubber Plants, Golden Pothos, and Peace Lilies are pollen collecting plants that naturally filter the air.
For people who have allergies related to breathing in harsh household chemicals and cleaning products, any indoor plant listed above will purify the air and help with your allergy symptoms as well. It is important to note that although indoor plants with bigger leaves are helpful in cleaning the air and collecting pollen, some of them might collect too much dust and pollen on their leaves, which could lead to allergy issues. If you decide to keep indoor plants in your home to help with allergies, make sure you take a wet paper towel once a week and wipe down some of the bigger leaves on your plants.
Keeping plants in the bedroom will help you get a better night’s sleep for many different reasons. For one, indoor plants work hard during the day to soak up the excess CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the surrounding air. At night, they use carbon dioxide to produce and release oxygen while you sleep, which creates less air pressure and helps us breathe easier. Aloe Vera and Snake plants are known for being especially good at this because of the large amounts of oxygen that they produce.
Certain plant aromas are also great for helping fight insomnia and for finding peaceful sleep. Lavender, Eucalyptus, and Jasmine are popular plants that give off strong aromas known to create peace, reduced anxiety, and deeper sleep. Many people choose to use essential oils of these fragrances during the night, but keeping plants in your bedroom to create these strong aromas instead will also allow you to benefit from the air purification qualities found in indoor plants.
Chamomile not only smells great, but it’s easy to grow and brightens up any room. Chamomile has natural qualities that help fight insomnia, so keeping it in the house to make hot tea with before bed can help promote long, peaceful sleep.
Connecting with nature has been known to have direct benefits to mental health and anxiety reduction. If we rob ourselves of the opportunity to interact with plants on a regular basis, we could be missing out on natural remedies for fighting anxiety and stress. According to the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, “active interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress compared with mental work.” This is due largely in part to our foundations as human beings and our need to be among nature.
Many Scandinavian and Eastern Asian cultures believe that bringing nature indoors is vital to happier living and reduced stress. There is a theory, known as the Biophilia Hypothesis, that discusses the strong, necessary bond between people and plants. When this bond is broken or ignored, it can take a toll on our mental health. That is why it is growing increasingly popular to implement plants into modern home decor in order to increase levels of happiness and reduce anxiety.
Best Indoor Plants for Beginners
Also known as a Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, these plants are extremely easy to care for and require little to no light. They are perfect bedroom plants and can be found in a variety of sizes.
Aloe Vera is also incredibly easy to take care of and requires even less light and water than a Snake Plant. Aloe is great for air purification as we mentioned earlier, but it can also be used topically for moisturizer and ointment for burns.
Golden Pothos, also commonly known as the Devil’s Ivy, is nearly impossible to kill. It grows in almost any environment and can withstand both heat and cold weather. It has excellent air purification benefits and grows at a rapid rate.
Like the Pothos, English Ivy grows quickly and in most climates. These look especially cute on a bookshelf or in a hanging pot because of how long they can grow.
Spider Plants might require a little more work than the other plants mentioned, but they are still fairly simple. Whereas the Ivy, Pothos, Aloe, and Snake Plant can grow with little light, the Spider Plant needs bright, indirect light.
As you can see, indoor plants are more than just a trendy addition to your home decor. They’re not only cute in any room, but they offer a countless list of health and wellness benefits that make them worth the care and investment. If you’re intimidated or unsure if you’ll be able to care for indoor plants, try buying just one from the list of beginner plants to start your new collection.