No wonder plants can cheer us up in the winter months.
New research by Dobbies Garden Centers (dobbies.com) has backed this up, finding that 40% of those surveyed believe that colorful houseplants make them feel happier.
But they don’t just lift your spirits. NASA’s Clean Air study found that many houseplants can cleanse the air of toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, trichlorethylene, xylene and ammonia, says podcaster and gardening expert Ellen Mary, who recently launched People Plants Wellbeing (peopleplantswellbeing.com). ), a new nature consulting based on wellness.
“The more plants the better, as long as you have the time and space to care for them,” says Mary. “To clean the air, you can have fewer plants if they have larger foliage, as they may be more efficient at reducing toxins.”
She continues: “Studies on the well-being benefits of having houseplants have shown that even being in the presence of houseplants can improve well-being, so you not only soften the aesthetic but also feel a connection to the natural world. . For those who work in rooms with plants, they performed better on cognitive tasks and lower levels of physiological stress.”
According to the RHS, studies indicate that houseplants can lead to increased worker productivity and increased pain tolerance, for example, where plants were used in hospital settings.
These are some of the best indoor plants to increase your well-being…
“Spathiphyllum, or peace lily, is an excellent choice for both beginning and experienced plant parents, and will thrive in a bright location out of direct sunlight. This showy plant should be watered weekly or whenever the soil feels dry to the touch,” says Claire Bishop, head of houseplants at Dobbies Garden Centers (dobbies.com).
“If your plant isn’t flowering, water it, feed it, and move it to a brighter spot for a beautiful addition to your home that will not only brighten your interiors but your mood as well.”
Mary recommends pothos, an easy-to-grow bushy specimen that thrives in low light and neglect, purifying the air of toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide. She also helps eliminate odors and is said to soothe tired eyes, she notes.
Hedera helix (English ivy) also makes a good air purifier: it grows in partial shade and is a low-care plant, and its long vines make it ideal for shelves and mantels.
“If you’re looking to give your home a touch of greenery without spending a fortune, smaller plants and ferns are a fantastic option. Adiantum (maidenhair fern), nephrolepis (sword fern), and phlebodium fern varieties are typically inexpensive and will elevate any room in your home,” suggests Bishop.
“Dypsis lutescens is another wonderful option and comes in a variety of sizes, making it ideal for homes of all styles and will instantly enhance any space.”
Bishop calls houseplants “great additions to your home office, to liven up your work environment and make it more productive.
“If houseplant care isn’t your forte but you still want to feel its benefits, consider a sansevieria (snake plant). These whimsical plants can go without water for up to a month, so they require very little attention, making them perfect for those just beginning their plant journey.”
“To promote wellness in your bathroom and give this space a zen look, use houseplants to create a spa-like atmosphere,” says Bishop. “Ferns, with their air-purifying qualities, thrive in a humid environment, making them ideal for your bathroom.
“Plant your ferns in well-draining soil and keep them moist by misting them weekly. If your fern is looking dehydrated, you can submerge it in a sink or bucket of water to bring it back to life. Just submerge your pot in the water and then remove it, allowing it to drain completely before placing it back in a bright spot.”
Mary recommends orchids for the bedroom, which have symbolism for prosperity and positive energy growth and can improve sleep, promote relaxation, and enhance feelings of calm and peace, she says. They also don’t need a lot of watering and can flower for long periods and bloom again after resting.
Another good choice for the bedroom is sansevieria, which thrives in low light, photosynthesizes even at night, and is easy to grow, he recommends.
The money plant (Crassula ovata/jade plant) exudes positive energy, says Mary, and is believed to bring good luck, growth, prosperity and wealth, while also releasing plenty of oxygen.