Healthy Home: Benefits of Houseplants
Houseplants are a great way to add vibrancy and invite a little bit of nature into your space. Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, they also offer a number of health benefits (from cleaner air, to lower blood pressure!). Whether you have a green thumb or not (I most definitely do not), don’t be deterred from giving indoor plants a go! Read on to learn about the benefits of houseplants + get some inspiration to create your own urban jungle!
Houseplants: Natural Air Purifiers
Did you know that on average, more than 85% of our daily life is spent indoors? Though we’ll be first to admit we love our creature comforts, spending the majority of our time indoors has several downfalls – especially when it comes to air quality.
In fact, poor indoor air quality has been linked to several health concerns including asthma, dizziness and fatigue. Ongoing exposure to airborne toxins inside our homes also places an increased burden on our liver (which must work overtime to meet the demands of our modern lifestyle!).
So how bad is it? Scientists studying the air quality in homes exposed to air pollution (think: inner city living) found that the air contained elevated particle numbers of dust, pesticides, toxic metals and other pollutants – all substances you definitely don’t want to be inhaling (1).
But here’s the kicker: you need not be living next to a highway to experience poor indoor air quality. Many building materials, paints and household furnishings off-gas and release toxic chemicals into the air. This includes substances such as formaldehyde (a probable carcinogen), benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (2).
But wait – it’s not all doom and gloom. Houseplants are a natural way that you can improve the air quality in your home. Aside from removing carbon dioxide and returning oxygen to the air (hello high school biology), houseplants have been shown to filter out a variety of toxins including formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene and even some heavy metals. The ability and efficiency of plants remove toxins from the air varies amongst species – so it’s best to invest a variety of different plants for maximum benefit!
Natural Mood Boosters
Aside from their air filtering qualities, plants are also a natural mood booster. Especially if you live in a small apartment or urban area, houseplants are a great way to add vibrancy and invite a little bit of nature into your space!
This has been explored in several studies, which have shown houseplants to improve mental heath and reduce psychological stress (3). What’s more, “forest bathing” or nature therapy has been shown to induce relaxation and exert beneficial effects on blood pressure and heart rate (4) – not a bad reason to create your own urban jungle!
Top 10 Houseplants for Air Quality
While I’m by no means a plant expert, several species have been found to be especially effective in improving air quality. This includes (5):
- Areca palm
- Lady palm
- Bamboo palm
- Rubber plant
- English Ivy
- Dwarf date palm
- Boston fern
- Peace lily
My personal favourites also include Monstera deliciousa and Mother in Law’s Tongue (or snake plant). If you have any recommendations (preferably plants that are resilient + easy to grow!), we’d love to see them below in the comments!