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Why houseplants make you happier, according to science

By choosing a nice selection of houseplants, you can turn your home into a soothing and rejuvenating sanctuary that you love to spend time in. 

Houseplants don’t just visually brighten up your home, they can also boost mood and reduce stress.

People who spend between just five to ten minutes in a room with several indoor plants feel happier than people who spend the same amount of time in a plant-free room, Time reports.

Houseplants are an easy way to connect with nature and naturally elicit positive, uplifting emotions. So, by choosing the right indoor plants for your home, you can inject some life and colour into your interiors, as well as boost your overall health, happiness, and wellbeing.  

Indoor plants reduce stress 

Working with indoor plants can lower stress levels and soothe the mind, a study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found. In the study, participants were split into two groups: one group had to repot houseplants, while the other performed computer-related activities.

After repotting the plants, the participants felt calmer and in tune with nature. They also recorded a significant drop in blood pressure and heart rate. In comparison, the other group had a spike in blood pressure and heart rate, and felt stressed, uncomfortable, and alert after completing their computer tasks. This is even in spite of the fact the participants were young men used to computer work.

So, even the care and maintenance involved with indoor plants can make you feel relaxed and happier. 


Purifying the air 

Plants can also boost your health even further as they remove pollutants like carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. High levels of carbon dioxide cause sleeplessness, anxiety, and reduced cognitive abilities (including, poor concentration and memory recall), while VOCs can result in respiratory issues and even potentially cancer. The simple addition of houseplants can therefore help you keep a clear head and maintain overall good mental and physical health. 


Choosing the right plants  

When looking for new houseplants, choose ones that can thrive in the light and temperature conditions of your home. Spider plants, for example, prefer light shade, warmer temperatures, and occasional watering. But, even if you put them in a cooler room with full shade, they’re still pretty un-killable overall.

Or, if you’re happy to give your indoor plants a little more care and attention, a Boston fern may be a good choice. These plants are instantly recognizable thanks to their attractive explosion of draping fronds. Boston ferns need either medium or bright indirect sunlight, along with regular watering in order to thrive.  

In the living room, it’s nice to go for a fun mix of plants to add visual interest — again, just be certain the conditions are right for your chosen plants. In particular, a flowering plant like peace lily is effortlessly gorgeous with large, white flowers that look like peace flags. Peace lilies can flower for years with correct care. Put yours in a shaded spot as it doesn’t need a lot of sun. 

Succulents are also great in the living room as they’re particularly effective at removing carcinogenic irritants from the air. They’re also stylish and low maintenance plants that need just the occasional watering, so it’s no big deal if you neglect them for a while. Place your succulents in attractive concrete or copper planters to really make these beauties pop.


The best plants for happiness 

Although all indoor plants can add life and colour to your home, some plants can potentially elicit positive emotions more so than others. For instance, people generally consider plants with rounded leaves to be particularly beautiful and soothing, a survey by the University of Reading and Royal Horticultural Society found.

Weeping fig, with its large, shiny green oval leaves, and devil ivy (this one has heart-shaped leaves) were found to be the top two plants considered most attractive and uplifting. Plants like palm can also trigger happy memories. This is because they automatically make you picture tropical vacations, sandy white beaches, and sunny weather.  


Indoor plants are an effective way to lower stress and boost your mood. By choosing a nice selection of houseplants, you can turn your home into a soothing and rejuvenating sanctuary that you love to spend time in.