7 Health Benefits Of Houseplants

Nothing adds more beauty and comfort to our homes and offices than the lush flowers and foliage of indoor plants.

Bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, offices... There really isn't a room a houseplant can't enliven. Just add light and water, and you've got not only a beautiful space but a cure for the winter blues.

Really, I mean it.

Houseplants will keep you healthier and happier. Multiple studies have found that indoor plants can offer psychological and physical health benefits,* including:

  1. improving your mood
  2. reducing fatigue
  3. lowering stress and anxiety
  4. improving office performance and focus
  5. boosting healing and pain tolerance
  6. minimizing the occurrence of headaches by improving air quality
  7. easing dry skin and respiratory ailments due to dry air

Many houseplants absorb toxic substances such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene, found in man-made materials that are known to "off-gas" pollutants into the air in your home, school, and office. In addition, a study done at Virginia Tech led researchers to conclude that houseplants can reduce indoor dust by up to 20%.

Indoor plants release water vapor into the air, which increases humidity. This can help improve respiratory and skin health by offsetting the drying effects of heating systems.

They also increase oxygen levels in the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen during photosynthesis.

According to a Seattle Times article, you can maximize these effects by placing plants "in your 'breathing zone,' within 6 to 8 square feet of where you normally sit or lie."

NASA, who has done extensive studies of the role of houseplants in cleansing the air, hoping to capitalize on these benefits for future space stations, recommends 15-18 houseplants for a 1,800 square-foot house. See the houseplants NASA recommends to clean the air.

While not all of us have room for quite that many plants, even just a few can be effective. Dr. Virginia Lohr, a professor of horticulture at Washington State University, suggests that filling as little as 2% of the room with plants will make an impact.

For more indoor plant care tips, read our indoor plant blog posts and visit our NW Gardening Tips page.

Editor's Note: A version of this blog post was published in October of 2014 as 7 Important Health Benefits of Houseplants.

*Information drawn from the following sources: