If you regularly find yourself oohing and aahing over the orchids at your local plant nursery, then don't dismiss your love of plants as a fleeting interest—or as a hobby that only belongs outside. Houseplants aren't just beautiful; they can also improve your health. Better still, there's no rule about which houseplants you can and can't have. If it catches your eye and can live indoors, it's probably good for your health. Here are five ways houseplants can revolutionize your sense of well-being.
1. Houseplants get you moving
If you think houseplants will take up too much time, then you're missing out on one of their most important benefits. Caring for houseplants requires you to get moving to water them, fertilize them, and ensure they always have access to the best lighting. Cultivate a small collection of houseplants and you might be surprised to see how much exercise you get from your weekly watering sessions.
2. Plants remove indoor air pollution
You might not realize it, but your home is teeming with environmental pollution from cleaning products, dust, mold, and outdoor air pollution. Houseplants can help protect you from these dangerous chemicals. In addition to removing toxic chemicals, houseplants increase oxygen levels in your home, making it easier and safer to breathe.
3. Indoor plants keep your lungs healthy
What goes in must come out, even for plants. Research suggests plants release as much as 97% of the water they take in. This produces a humidity increase that's not sufficient to leave your hair in disarray, but which could improve your breathing. High-humidity air is less likely to irritate the respiratory tract, offering relief to people with allergies, those recovering from colds, and children with asthma.
4. Plants can help you heal
Ask anyone who's ever gotten a cold and they'll tell you the same thing: the moment that first sniffle hits, they start counting the days till they're well. No one likes feeling sick, and there's plenty of evidence that plants may improve immunity. Having something pretty to look at can enliven your spirits and reduce depression, strengthening your immune system. One study even found that patients recovering from surgery healed as much as 60% faster if there were decorative plants in their hospital rooms.
5. Houseplants boost your attention
You might think that covering your home in plants is little more than a recipe for distraction—especially if you opt for unusually beautiful flowers and ferns. But not so fast; if you're concerned about your attention span or have a distractible child, plants might be the best investment you've ever made. The mere presence of plants in an office, at least according to one study, can improve motivation and attentiveness. And when you're better equipped to pay attention, you're less likely to miss out on the good stuff life has to offer.