Hooray for Houseplants

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Summer’s on its way out and the cooler evenings are forcing us back inside.

Which makes this the perfect time to talk about the unsung heroes of our homes and offices – the humble houseplant.

Plants in your home or where you work have lots of terrific benefits for your physical and emotional health. BecauseĀ houseplants breathe in the carbon dioxide we give off, it’s pretty obvious that we needĀ them around. But houseplants also work to remove many airborne toxins from the air as well.

Then there are the psychological benefits. According to an article published this year in Psychology Today, studies show that having potted plants around – particularly green, leafy ones – have a calming effect that can boost our mood, our creativity and even how well we interact with others.

Not to mention that there are so many different ways to display plants in your home. In addition to the almost endless variety of traditional plant containers, there are terrariums, hanging kokedama (Japanese-style plants in circularĀ moss balls), even glass beakers, like the one I have on my desk with succulents in it. A friend of mine recycled a purse she wasn’t using anymore and turned it into a planter.

If you are new to houseplants, there are some ones that are pretty fool-proof like succulents, pothos or spider plants. Spiders and golden pothos are also among the plants recommended for their air-cleaning benefits. Others are:

  • Philodendron (many varieties)
  • Dracaena (many varieties)
  • English Ivy
  • Mother in law’s tongue
  • Peace Lily
  • Chinese Evergreen

To get the full benefits of houseplants you want to have enough around that you can see one or two from pretty much anywhere in your house, but not so many that it feels cramped. I’d recommend about 15 or so for a home of 2,000-square-feet.