Houseplants are an inexpensive way to improve the appearance and health of your home. Sure, you can invest in all sorts of expensive air purifiers, air fresheners, and decor to accomplish the same thing but houseplants are cheaper, don’t consume electricity, and give you additional benefits that you just can’t get from air fresheners or decorative doo-dads. Here are six benefits of having a home (or office) filled with plants.
Beauty/decor: This one is obvious. Plants can make a home more attractive. You can find plants that enhance your decor. If you’re going for a tropical look, look for brightly flowering plants or cousins to the palm tree family. If you’re going for a rustic feel, look for evergreens. Want a desert feel? Cacti are for you. Even if you’re not going for a specific look, a bit of greenery adds color. Cleverly placed plants can hide damaged walls or floors or other unsightly problems.
Improved air quality: Studies show that plants improve air quality. They are great at removing toxins that accumulate in homes. Think you don’t have toxins? Think again. Every home has toxins that are emitted by paint, carpet, detergents, furniture, plastics, and many other byproducts of our mass-produced lifestyles. In nice weather you can open some windows, but when the weather is bad, plants are still working at removing toxins from your air.
Improved mood: Plants have been proven to make people happier. Hospital patients with lots of plants or a garden view recuperate faster than those without. Office buildings that are full of plants have been shown to have happier workers. People who routinely walk in nature report higher happiness levels than those who don’t. If you can’t get out in nature, filling your home with plants will lift your mood.
Fight colds: Partly because they remove toxins and partly because they increase humidity, plants can reduce the incidence, duration, and severity of colds.
Enhanced creativity and productivity: Office buildings that are full of plants have workers that show higher levels of creativity and productivity. If you have a home office, you can accomplish the same thing. Even if you don’t have a home office, plants in the home can help you be more productive and creative in your everyday life.
Relaxation: Plants are relaxing. Just looking at them can calm you down and bring you in touch with nature. Caring for them can also be relaxing. Watering, potting, and trimming can calm you down and take you away from your hectic world for a little while. Plants also benefit if you talk to them. What better way to work through your problems than by talking to something that won’t argue or judge you?
Yes, houseplants do require maintenance. You need to provide them with adequate water and sunlight and you may need to repot them occasionally as they outgrow their current pots. Your plants may also benefit from fertilizer, and some plants need to be trimmed occasionally for optimal growth. For some plants, such as Bonsai trees, the maintenance is part of a larger practice of meditation. Caring for any plant can be relaxing, though. All in all, houseplants require little work for the benefits they provide. (They are far cheaper than pets!)
You can buy all sorts of plants or grow your own from seed. You can get plants that flower or ones that don’t. There are plenty of small varieties and some that grow to be small trees. Even if you think you are allergic to plants, there are many houseplants that are suited for those with allergies. If you have kids or pets, make sure to get non-toxic varieties. If you need help choosing some plants, visit a nursery with knowledgeable workers. They can steer you toward plants that meet your needs. Soon you’ll be on your way to a healthier, prettier home for a fraction of the cost of other alternatives.