Indoor Potted Plants Benefit Your Physical and Mental Health
Posted on: Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Millennials are putting off marriage and kids longer than any generation before them did, but their adoption rates are up – not of babies, mind you, but potted plants. According to an article in the New York Times, 31 percent of houseplant sales in 2016 were made by millennials. Five out of six people who picked up gardening that same year were between the ages of 18 and 34.
Ian Baldwin, a business adviser for the gardening industry, has a theory. “This group has more college debt and, as a result, are renting homes instead of buying,” Baldwin said. “Houseplants are a low-cost way to have a green space at home.”
Of course, all this greenery has bigger benefits than beauty. Researchers are finding more and more evidence that indoor potted plants offer benefits for mental and physical health. For those lucky enough to live close to nature, those benefits can be had by interacting with your surroundings – but when four out of five Americans lives in an urban setting, and spend 90 percent of their time indoors, potted plants are the next best thing.
Numerous studies suggest that interacting with nature in some form can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, encourage faster healing and increase overall happiness. Even people who work in an urban office setting may benefit from a little bit of extra green. Spotting trees from a high-rise window or keeping potted plants at your desk can lead to increased job satisfaction and a higher level of commitment.
Use Indoor Potted Plants to Clear the Air
Everything in your home and office, from the carpet, paint and drywall to the copier, releases contaminants into the air. Combine that with a lack of ventilation, artificial lighting and everyday stressors, and you have the perfect combination for what experts call sick building syndrome.
The condition affects people who spend too much time inside, and results in ailments like headaches, skin and sinus irritation, nausea and fatigue. Want to help clear the air? Add a plant or two to your surroundings.
NASA researchers conducted a study on the matter in 1989 while researching ways to curb pollution in confined spaces like the space station (or your office). They found that ordinary daisies, chrysanthemums and other common potted plants were able to remove as much as 90 percent of certain toxins from the air in just 24 hours.
Use Indoor Potted Plants As Inexpensive Therapy
Studies have repeatedly shown that the act of taking care of plants can take our mind off of negativity, relieve stress and provide an overall calming effect. In fact it’s so good for your brain, that it’s even thought to help lower the risk of dementia by as much as one-third.
Indoor potted plants are also a great way to unplug from technology for a few minutes. Afterall, it’s hard to operate your smartphone when both thumbs are focused on fertilizing, pruning and watering your botanical babies.
One recent study was able to demonstrate that a group of people in their early twenties experienced a massive decrease in blood pressure and other physical stress symptoms when they followed a computer-related task with an indoor gardening session. The results suggested that tending to indoor potted plants, “Reduced physiological and psychological stress, especially in comparison to mental tasks performed using technology.”
Use Indoor Potted Plants To Help Stay Grounded And Give Yourself A Mental Boost
Here's a list of five indoor potted plants we’ve curated that will not only help you breathe deep, but offer lessons in mindfulness to boost your mental wellbeing.
- Aloe Vera
Physical Health Benefit: The clear, gel-like substance found in the inner part of aloe vera leaves can be applied directly to the skin. According to WebMD, people typically use it to help treat minor burns, sunburn and frostbite, psoriasis and cold sores. You should talk to your doctor first in case you have any allergies.
Mental Health Benefit: During the repotting process, you will have to trim away any dead pieces that are no longer contributing to the growth and health of the plant. Doing this can serve as a reminder of your own growth. As you move through different stages in life, sometimes you have to let go of who or what may be stopping you from thriving. As you continue to learn more about yourself, it may be necessary to transplant yourself and put down new roots. Make choices that help you continue to grow into the person you want to be.
Caring for Aloe Vera: Aloe vera plants need to be watered thoroughly and their soil left to dry just slightly (about 1 to 2 inches deep) between watering. They do very well with lots of sun but can turn brown if they get too much of it, so keeping your aloe vera plant in indirect sunlight is best.
Physical Health Benefit: Lavender is easy on the eyes, smells wonderful, and is one of the most popular additives to essential oils, cosmetics and more. The floral smell is effective at decreasing anxiety and providing a calming atmosphere, and the flower itself has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Mental Health Benefit: Close your eyes and take several deep breaths to inhale the scent when you’re feeling overwhelmed or want to get a good night’s rest. As you breathe in the relaxing scent, it will help calm you and remind you to stretch and relax. During the warmer months, move your lavender plant outside so that both it and you can benefit from a little vitamin D.
Caring for Lavender: Lavender plants prefer well-drained soil and lots of sunlight. They also need thorough watering, but be careful not to overdo it. Aim to water your lavender plant when the soil is nearly dry.
- Peace Lilies
Physical Health Benefit: This pretty and powerful potted plant is a master of air pollutant removal. It works hard around the clock to absorb ammonia, benzene, xylene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene throughout your home. This is a flowering plant and will produce pollen, so those with allergies should take that into consideration.
Mental Health Benefit: Peace lilies symbolize peace, tranquility, prosperity, purification and solitude. Because peace lilies have such powerful symbolism, speak positive affirmations to your plants. Only say what you, yourself, would want to hear.
Caring for Peace Lilies: Peace lilies should be planted in a pot with all-purpose soil and kept slightly moist throughout the entire year without overwatering. They can thrive in both low and bright light, but do best in shaded areas.
- Snake Plant
Physical Health Benefit: The snake plant (also known as the Mother-in-Law’s Tongue) is among one of the most popular choices for improving indoor air quality. It actually gets most of its job done at night, converting carbon dioxide into oxygen as you sleep. Snake plants also remove all sorts of toxins from the air including trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, toluene, benzene and xylene. To optimize its air-purifying power, consider getting several waist-high plants to place around your home.
Mental Health Benefit: Snake plants are hardy and require minimal care. Keep them as a reminder that even when you feel alone, or are experiencing a difficult time, you can still choose to grow through and survive even the most challenging situations.
Caring for Snake Plants: Simply water your plant every couple of weeks to keep the soil moist. It’s pretty hard to kill, which makes it one of the easiest indoor potted plants to care for regardless of experience.
Physical Health Benefit: The oils from eucalyptus are harmful if ingested or applied to skin directly, but when properly mixed or extracted, it can be used to help treat asthma, colds, congestion and other respiratory afflictions. Hang a bundle behind the head of your shower to let the steam fill the room with its scent.
Mental Health Benefit: If you’re stressed out thinking about what tomorrow may bring, take a few minutes to close your eyes and inhale the powerful scent of eucalyptus to ground yourself in the here and now, and remind yourself that you can only control what’s happening in the moment.
Caring for Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus will grow best in full sun with regular watering. If planted outdoors, eucalyptus will flower with fragrant blooms that are great for attracting bees and other pollinators.
Let the Experts at SummerWinds Help You Pick Your Next Indoor Potted Plant
Whether you’re looking for herbs to keep in the kitchen, air purifying variety for the bedroom, or just something to make a statement in the living room, let the gardening experts at SummerWinds help. They can help determine which indoor potted plant is best for you depending on the level of care you can provide, and the amount of sunlight your brightest windows bring in.