It's National houseplant week! Hurrah! To celebrate, we take a look at the best houseplants to boost your mood during the darker months by bringing nature inside.
Aside from looking pretty and being one of the things that can make a house a home, numerous scientific studies claim that indoor plants offer two potential benefits for us: improved mental well-being and improved physical health (i.e. they support fitness and general health).
Some of the psychological benefits of house plants include a general uplifting of mood, reduced stress levels and even an increase of pain tolerance. And some reported physical benefits include a reduction in fatigue, headaches, and blood pressure as well as improved air quality.
So which house plants should you choose and how can you benefit best from them?
Despite an ongoing discussion about the types and numbers of plants needed in your home to gain any health benefits from them, it's fair to say that it's a case of the more the merrier. The more plants you have in your home then the more likely it is that air quality and overall wellbeing will improve.
Search volumes for “house plants delivered” have risen by 400%, and “buy houseplants online” by 200% since lockdown, so it seems that we are continuing to be a green-fingered lot despite the pandemic.
The Aloe Vera is a fantastic succulent that is widely known for its health and beauty benefits. They are generally easy to take care of and are perfect (as most succulents are) for those of us who regularly forget to water our little green friends. One of the best things about the Aloe Vera is its anti-inflammatory properties. Breaking open one of its leaves and rubbing directly onto the skin will provide a quick and easy solution to help heal burns, cuts and other irritations. A handy tip is to keep one of the leaves in your freezer during summer so you can treat sunburn with it. Aside from its medicinal qualities, they look fantastic and don't require too much fuss. Watering can be as little as once every two weeks, but if you do over water then simply allow the soil to dry while the plant recovers in a protected place away from direct sunlight.
Bit fiddly compared to the other plants on the list if you want to get the best out of one. For indoor growing, you need to ensure this gets maximum light. It will do best in a south-facing window or where it can get a minimum of three to four hours of direct sunlight per day. Completely drench it when watering and allow the soil to become slightly dry between waterings. However, over-watering and allowing the soil to stay constantly moist may cause rot and under-watering will cause it to react with yellowing lower leaves. Fiddly? Yes, but worth it.
Placing lavender in the bedroom will see you benefit from its incredibly relaxing scent, reducing your stress levels and enabling you to sleep better.
Are you terrible at keeping plants alive? Try a snake plant – this thing will live in spite of you. They are not picky when it comes to light requirements. Bright indirect light is ideal though they also do well in low light as well as direct sun. Water once every ten days, or whenever the topsoil is completely dry. Be careful not to wet your snake plant’s leaves, they don't like this. Incredibly hardy, snake plants are the perfect choice for someone looking for a low-maintenance yet cool looking addition to their home or office that will also purify the air.
One of the most common house plants found in the UK. Easy to grow, fantastic at air purification and look good too when in bloom. Make sure you keep the soil moist to avoid drying out and browning leaves. If you can, use filtered, room-temperature water as they can be sensitive to regular tap water. As they are a tropical plant, you should be keeping them in a room that has a temperature of around or above 60f (16c). And remember to keep them away from pets and small children as they contain calcium oxalate which can cause irritation if eaten.
Monstera plant/Swiss Cheese plant
This mood-boosting fella can usually be found plastered all over your Insta feed. However, aside from looking fantastic, they are another expert at purifying the air, making your home healthier. They can do this in three ways:
1: Massive leaves = greater efficiency in removing carbon dioxide and expelling oxygen.
2: Massive leaves = better at trapping dust and removing airborne particles.
3: Massive leaves. Mist (lightly spray with water) their massive leaves every week and it will add humidity to the air, alleviating conditions such as dry skin and respiratory problems that are aggravated by dryness.
(Ok, so the benefits are pretty much centred around it having massive leaves, but that isn't a bad thing)
In addition to this, they are relatively low maintenance and need interior temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 C.) or warmer.
More commonly an outdoor plant, seen growing up buildings, trees and anything else it can get its roots in to, English Ivy makes a fantastic, gently trailing indoor pot plant. Thriving in any light conditions, it’s suitable for virtually any home. It’s a fast grower and absorbs mould in the air, helping to purify your home. It also contains properties that help you to stop being restless, meaning you can enjoy a better night’s sleep.
So there you are, a few plants to help boost your mood and make your home look great.