Plants/ Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Plant power: the benefits of housing indoor plants

We have all at least tried to introduce plants into our homes, even if we manage to kill a cactus in under a week. Even those of you who have purchased a fake plant to add a pop of colour to your space, it’s undeniable that it not only looks good, but makes us feel good too. As a plant lover, I find great enjoyment in keeping my indoor jungle alive, watering it from time to time and watching it thrive in the sunlight.

At Warwick University, the amount of green space we have is limited, so for many of us, it’s important to have as much access to plants as possible. This includes sticking some greens in our university rooms, not only to provide physical benefits, but to improve overall wellbeing amidst the unpredictability of university life.

House plants make us feel good, not only by looking after them, but by creating an environment that emulates outdoor spaces

In terms of physical wellbeing, plants can significantly improve your health if introduced into your space. First of all, they improve the air quality in our homes. It’s no surprise that the plant market has thrived in recent years, as more people work from home, there’s an increasing demand for fresher air circulating the house. There are many objects in homes that we wouldn’t suspect to affect the air we breathe. Even the mildest cleaning products, and even your carpets can release pollutants – specifically, volatile organic compounds. Plants can help to combat this by reducing the number of pollutants in the air, particularly plants like ivy and dragon trees.

Plants are also very helpful in combatting sneaky allergies that may affect your day-to-day wellbeing. Common allergies include dust and mould, and plants can help to reduce the number of allergens floating around your house. Those who are hay fever-prone should avoid pollinated plants like lavender and orchids.

We have seen how plants can boost your physical health, but in terms of mental wellbeing, the benefits of purchasing plants in your indoor space have been discussed extensively. Quite simply, house plants make us feel good, not only by looking after them, but by creating an environment that emulates outdoor spaces. A Scandinavian study considered the positive implications of housing indoor plants and discovered that they improve focus as well as reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. This in turn, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, physically relaxing our body and making a more peaceful environment, not to mention the satisfaction that nurturing a plant creates. To add to the mounting list of benefits that plants bring, they provide aromatherapy in your home. The typical suspects are at play here, including lavender and eucalyptus, which give off a lovely scent. However, any indoor plant can make the air around you smell nice and fresh.

If you didn’t think it could get any better, it does. Nothing makes us feel more at ease than a good night’s sleep, which plants can also help with. Some plants such as gebera daises and spider plants provide more oxygen than others, even when the sun isn’t shining. Extra oxygen can improve your quality of sleep, leaving you feeling more well-rested.

Keeping plants in your space can be more than just a hobby; it can significantly improve your wellbeing

With all this said, as you’ve obviously run to the shops to get yourself a new houseplant after reading this, you may be wondering: “How do I actually look after it?”. Plant care depends significantly on what you’ve purchased, but generally speaking, houseplants like sunlight. However, some don’t like direct sunlight, so generally try not to fry them on your windowsill. Watering is, of course, another crucial element to keeping your plant happy and healthy so try to avoid overwatering. You can prevent this by making sure there are drainage holes at the bottom of the inner pot, and if you think you’ve given it too much water, take it out of its outer pot and let it drain in a sink for a while (maybe when your flatmates aren’t looking).

In essence, keeping plants in your space can be more than just a hobby; it can significantly improve your wellbeing. Particularly with the spring months arriving, a splash of green is the perfect way to boost your room and your mood. So, happy planting everyone.


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