Bring The Outdoors In: Health Benefits of Having Plants in Your Home

The Health Benefits of Having Plants in Your Home

Incorporating plants into home environments has become increasingly popular, and it's not merely for aesthetic enhancement. The presence of plants in indoor spaces offers a myriad of health benefits that contribute to physical, mental, and emotional well-being. How, you may ask? Let's explore the diverse ways in which houseplants can improve health, ranging from enhancing air quality to reducing stress and fostering a sense of tranquility.

Improved Air Quality

  • One of the most significant health benefits of having plants in the home is their ability to improve air quality. Indoor air pollution is a concern, especially in tightly sealed homes where ventilation may be limited. Plants act as natural air purifiers by absorbing pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in household items like paint, furniture, and cleaning products. A study by NASA in the 1980s identified specific houseplants, such as the spider plant, snake plant, and peace lily, as effective in removing common indoor air toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.
  • Plants also enhance air quality by increasing humidity through a process called transpiration. As plants release moisture vapor, they help maintain an optimal indoor humidity level, which can prevent respiratory issues, dry skin, and the spread of airborne viruses. This is particularly beneficial in arid climates or during winter months when indoor air tends to be dry.

Psychological Benefits

  • Beyond their physical contributions, houseplants have profound psychological benefits. The presence of greenery has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress. Participants who engaged in activities such as watering or touching plants exhibited lower blood pressure and heart rate compared to those performing tasks on a computer. Yes, this is a call to action to take a break and give your plants some love!
  • Plants also contribute to mental well-being by enhancing mood and productivity. The biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans have an innate affinity for nature and natural processes. By bringing elements of nature indoors, plants can evoke feelings of calm and happiness. This connection to nature is particularly valuable in urban environments where access to green spaces may be limited.

Cognitive Function and Productivity

  • Houseplants have been linked to improved cognitive function and productivity, making them a valuable addition to home offices or study areas. Research from the University of Exeter revealed that employees who worked in environments with plants reported higher levels of concentration, satisfaction, and perceived air quality. The presence of plants can reduce mental fatigue, enhance creativity, and improve task performance by providing a visually stimulating and restful environment.
  • Plants can also contribute to better sleep quality. Certain plants, such as lavender and jasmine, are known for their relaxing properties and can promote restful sleep by emitting soothing scents. Incorporating these plants into bedroom decor can create a tranquil atmosphere conducive to better sleep patterns.

Physical Health Benefits

  • The presence of plants can also positively impact physical health by encouraging healthier behaviors. For instance, the responsibility of caring for plants can promote routine and physical activity. Watering, pruning, and repositioning plants require movement, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals with sedentary lifestyles. Additionally, tending to plants can foster mindfulness and a sense of accomplishment, contributing to overall well-being.
  • Plants can also play a role in reducing allergy symptoms. While it might seem counterintuitive, some houseplants can help alleviate indoor allergies. Plants like the Boston fern and areca palm act as natural humidifiers, reducing dust levels and airborne allergens. Moreover, some studies suggest that exposure to certain plants can help build immunity to allergens over time.

Social and Emotional Benefits

  • Houseplants can enhance social and emotional well-being by providing a sense of companionship. For many, the act of nurturing a living organism can be deeply fulfilling and can combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. This is especially relevant for individuals living alone or those who may struggle with social connections. Plants can become a source of comfort and joy, offering a sense of purpose and responsibility.
Now you're probably wondering... what TYPE of plants should I get for my home? We've broken it down for you:

Air-Purifying Plants

  1. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
    • Effective at removing formaldehyde and xylene.
    • Easy to care for and thrives in indirect light.
  2. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
    • Filters benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene.
    • Tolerant of low light and infrequent watering.
  3. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.)
    • Removes ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.
    • Prefers shaded areas and needs regular watering.
  4. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
    • Known for its ability to act as a natural humidifier.
    • Effective at removing formaldehyde and xylene.
    • Requires frequent misting and indirect sunlight.

Plants for Reducing Stress and Enhancing Mood

  1. Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
    • Known for its soothing fragrance which promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety.
    • Needs plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil.
  2. Jasmine (Jasminum spp.)
    • Its sweet scent is associated with better sleep quality and reduced anxiety.
    • Thrives in bright, indirect light.
  3. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller)
    • Besides its air-purifying qualities, its gel has soothing properties for skin.
    • Prefers bright light and infrequent watering.

Plants for Boosting Productivity and Cognitive Function

  1. English Ivy (Hedera helix)
    • Helps reduce airborne fecal-matter particles and filters out formaldehyde.
    • Grows well in moderate light and with regular watering.
  2. Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
    • Known for its air-purifying abilities, particularly for formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene.
    • Very resilient and thrives in low light with minimal care.

Plants for Promoting Physical Health and Allergy Relief

  1. Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
    • Effective at increasing humidity and removing toxins like xylene and toluene.
    • Prefers bright, indirect light and regular watering.
  2. Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
    • Good at removing toxins like formaldehyde from the air.
    • Thrives in bright, indirect light and needs minimal watering.

General Well-Being and Companionship

  1. Philodendron (Philodendron spp.)
    • Excellent for air purification and easy to care for.
    • Prefers moderate to bright, indirect light.
  2. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
    • Hardy plant that can tolerate low light and infrequent watering.
    • Helps remove toxins like xylene, toluene, and benzene.


In summary...
The health benefits of having plants in the home are extensive and multifaceted. From improving air quality to reducing stress, enhancing cognitive function, and fostering physical and emotional well-being, houseplants are a valuable addition to any living space. By incorporating greenery into our homes, we can create healthier, more harmonious environments that nurture both body and mind. As research continues to unveil the myriad ways in which plants positively impact health, the trend of integrating nature into indoor spaces is likely to grow, bringing with it a host of benefits for all who embrace it.



  1. NASA Study on Air-Purifying Plants:
    • "Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement" by B.C. Wolverton et al. (1989)
  2. Journal of Physiological Anthropology Study on Stress Reduction:
    • "Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: a randomized crossover study" by Min-sun Lee et al. (2015)
    • Journal of Physiological Anthropology
  3. University of Exeter Research on Productivity and Satisfaction:
    • "The Relative Benefits of Green versus Lean Office Space: Three Field Experiments" by Marlon Nieuwenhuis et al. (2014)
    • University of Exeter Study

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