The Health Benefits Of Houseplants
An increasing number of us are proud plant parents, flaunting an indoor oasis bursting at the seams with luscious greenery. No matter whether you’re a plant keeping pro or you’ve just entered the wonderful world of indoor agriculture, you can’t deny that houseplants are indeed having a bit of a moment in the spotlight, partly thanks to Instagram’s surge of green-fingered Influencers.
It’s no wonder we love them so much - adorning our homes with an abundance of flourishing houseplants adds a touch of zen while embracing the natural world, bringing the joys of the outdoors, indoors! Our strong connection to nature is clear to see when adding houseplants to our humble abode, watching them bloom, and reaping the benefits that come with it.
And we don’t just love houseplants for their lush foliage (although that is a big part of it!). Houseplants are much more than just their aesthetics, as they have a strong influence on our health, too. From the healing powers of the aloe vera plant to the air purifying properties of the peace lily, houseplants are proven to help you live a healthier and happier life. Want to liven up your home with a selection of stunning houseplants but aren’t sure where to start? No worries! Read on for all you need to know about the best indoor plants to improve your health - and how to keep them alive!
It’s true - houseplants are great for your mind, not just your Instagram. Researchers have been encouraging people to tend to plants as a form of self-care for years, and if you’re an experienced plant parent, it’s easy to see why. Tending to plants is one of the most therapeutic things you can do, and that moment you notice your favourite plant has sprouted a tiny new leaf is one of the best feelings. It really is an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment - and those small moments of pride can add up to big things!
Spending time away from our phones to tend to our plants is known to relieve stress and produce a calming and relaxing effect on our minds. Not only this, but they also encourage us to take better care of ourselves! As we habitually care for and nurture our plants, even if it’s just a few minutes a day, we are more likely to apply the same nurturing energy and extra attention to ourselves. From dusting off your plants’ leaves to watching them grow a little more each day, creating a sanctuary filled with houseplants is sure to make you feel more at peace and happier in your home.
Those that aced science class at school will know all about photosynthesis, the act of plants absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen into the air. But did you also know that this increase in oxygen promotes purer and healthier air quality? Houseplants detoxify and purify the air in our homes by releasing moisture vapour - about 97% of the water that they take in, no less! As well as this, many plants can also filter out common toxic chemicals and pollutants that inhabit our homes. Clever!
This extra oxygen in our homes is also shown to increase sleep quality. Yes, you heard that right! An increase in oxygen levels helps you breathe easier and enjoy a more restful night's sleep, too. As photosynthesis stops at night, plants that continue to release oxygen through the night, such as spider plants and English ivy, will keep you breathing clean air while snoozing from dusk to dawn.
So, now we understand the health benefits of creating an urban jungle! But, before going shopping crazy, let’s do our research into which plants will suit your lifestyle and how much maintenance you’re committed to when creating your very own green oasis.
The low maintenance one
The Dracaena Trifasciata, also known as a snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue (we're not saying anything!), is one of the most popular plants for improving the air quality in your home. Not only does it remove harmful toxins that are found in our homes, but they also release oxygen through the night, making it a great addition to your bedroom. While it prefers plenty of bright light, it can endure low lighted areas too. In fact, the snake plant is incredibly hardy and can thrive quite happily almost anywhere (even if you happen to neglect it a little). Take care not to overwater, as the roots will rot if the soil is left too moist. Snake plants are poisonous to cats and dogs, so if you have any furry friends, pop your plant well out of reach!
The everlasting flower
Orchids are among some of the most popular houseplants, and it’s easy to see why! With a wide range of stunning colours, from dusky pinks to punchy purples, they look beautiful placed anywhere around the home. When looked after properly, orchids can flower up to twice a year. They make an ideal gift alternative to flowers, as there’s no time limit on how long you can enjoy the beautiful blooms for. The orchid’s roots are very small, so they can usually stay in the pot that it was bought in, saving you the time from regular re-potting. Orchids absorb carbon dioxide from their surroundings and release oxygen well into the night, making them a great addition to your bedroom.
Technically a succulent plant, the aloe vera plant is both stylish and practical. Aloe vera purifies the air of formaldehyde and benzene - harmful chemicals commonly found around the home. The gel found inside the plants is not only naturally anti-bacterial, but it also works wonders for treating minor cuts and burns, and is also thought to improve skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. This magical houseplant also provides plenty of benefits when ingested and can be harvested to be turned into juice, too.
The elegant peace lily brings peace and positive energy and is an incredibly low-maintenance houseplant. Not only are they proven to combat harmful household chemicals and carcinogens, but they're also highly effective at absorbing excess moisture and mould spores from the air! Place your peace lily in a shady spot, out of the way of direct sunlight, and keep the soil moist without overwatering. Peace lilies are poisonous to both humans and pets, so place them well out of children and dogs' reach.
The miniature garden
A terrarium is a small or medium-sized glass container filled with succulents and pint-sized plants. Think of it as a mini-greenhouse! Terrariums allow you to create your own mini ecosystem with minimal care and maintenance while benefiting from all the good plants can provide us. As different plants require different amounts of water and soil, it helps to plant succulents and cacti together and fern and tropical plants together. These plants thrive in a sunny spot but out of direct sunlight and need a light mist every few weeks, taking care not to overwater.
Top tips for healthy houseplants
Taking care of your plants is a mix between a science and an art, and it’s no doubt a commitment. But the time and energy you invest in your greenery, you’ll receive two-fold. When your new plant children are settling in, there are a few extra things you can do to make your houseplants feel a little more at home.
We suggest starting with low-maintenance plants that are easy to care for before moving onto more expert choices. Only choose plants that match the warmth and lighting conditions of your home, and avoid putting plants too close to air conditioners or radiators. These are common plant killers! Chances are, your plants’ roots will have nearly outgrown their pot by the time you bring it home, so think about re-potting them not long after settling them in. Only choose plant pots that have good drainage to avoid root rot.
Find the care instructions for your plants and get to know your new housemate - tropical plants won’t have the same needs as subtropical plants! Don’t overwater - if anything, it’s better to underwater than overwater. You can see when a plant is a little dehydrated and increase the water as necessary, but you can’t take away what you’ve already put in. If you’ve read up on the care instructions but still aren’t sure, test the soil with your finger before giving it some water. If the soil sticks to your finger, it’s a good indication of moisture and you don’t need to water the plant. On the flipside, if your finger is completely dry with no soil stuck to it, it’s time to give your plant a good drink. As a general rule of thumb, the thicker the leaves, the less water a plant needs. It’s also important to regularly prune the dead leaves, which encourages the plant to put its energy into healthier leaves.
Finally, stop moving your plants around! Plants get used to being in one space and the warmth and lighting they get in that spot. Plants need stability, so moving them around disrupts and stresses the plant. If your houseplant seems happy enough where it is, then the chances are that’s the best place for it.
Ready, set, grow!
Ready to introduce more houseplants into your life? With International Plant Appreciation Day right around the corner (Tuesday, 13th April), there’s truly no better time than now to hone in your houseplant horticulture skills! Who knows, you may even surprise yourself - and your green-fingered guests - with the results.
Giving the gift of greenery? Gone are the days of short-lived floral bouquets from the supermarket! With the ability to freshen up the home and the health of its owner, not to mention last a very long time with the right care and attention, houseplants make a wonderful treat to your loved ones, whatever the occasion.
So, whether you’re shopping for a friend or family member, or looking for the perfect plant to elevate your home, browse our full range of houseplants now. Be honest with yourself, a few plants may perish - but it’s not the end of the world. You live, and you learn - taking whatever you’ve learnt straight back to OnBuy’s houseplant section (or, failing that, our artificial plant section!).