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Published: June 8, 2024

How Houseplants Can Improve Your Health (and the Six Plants You Should Have in Your Home)

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Somehow, the tiniest room in our home has become the central hub of relaxation, exploration, and enjoyment. Initially designated as a small office space, this room at the front of the house has evolved into a solarium for plants. Cascades of warm sunshine and a hum of energy from all the shared life consume this abbreviated space full of sunshine, shade, and enough heat to feed the souls of our plants ‒ especially my monster pothos, Sonny.

Sonny was gifted to me from my surgical training program following my daddy’s passing. My dear Sonny has traveled across four states, enduring nine years of surgical training and the negligence that comes along with being associated with a physician-mom-wife and professional plant neglector. He now has a family of calatheas, philodendron, ferns, succulents, orchids, Christmas cacti, oxalises, dracaenas, begonias, snake and air plants, Aglaonema, Syngonium, and a stubborn Anthurium that has refused to rebloom for two years.

The Benefits of Houseplants

Plants reduce stress.

Taking care of plants, allowing yourself time to relax and reflect, and simply walking amongst your plant babies are enough to improve your mood. A Japanese study explored the effects of forest bathing, called shinrin-yoku. Researchers found that spending time in nature reduced blood pressure, lowered stress levels, and provided an overall calming effect among participants. Houseplants offer an easy way to bring the outdoors inside and benefit from the relaxing effects of nature.

Plants purify the air.

Through photosynthesis, plants work to purify the air around us. In 1989, NASA conducted an air-purification study to determine which – if any – houseplants were most effective at removing common household pollutants from the air. The results? Many plants are incredibly efficient at reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, removing up to 87% of airborne toxins each day.

Plants improve creativity and productivity.

Houseplants can increase creativity levels, help with focus on tasks, and improve memory. One study found that spending time in “natural environments and nature-related stimuli [was beneficial] to cognitive performance, in particular on executive cognitive tasks with high demands on directed attention processes.”

Six Plants for Your Healthy Home

If you’re wondering what types of plants to introduce into your space, explore the following selections that work for experienced plant parents and newbies alike.

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

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This plant loves to be watered infrequently ‒ every two to three weeks. Pothos does well in indirect light (two to three feet from a window with bright sunlight) or medium shade. Bottom line: it’s low maintenance for those who are afraid they won’t pay enough attention to their plants.

Snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata)

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The snake plant/mother-in-law’s tongue/Saint George’s tongue thrives on neglect! My two babies are in a shady bathroom and a basement office with muted sunlight; I water them every three to four weeks. This plant is also considered good luck, according to the principles of feng shui.

ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

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Water it no more than once a month – period! The ZZ loves sun or shade and constantly grows in any season. However, this plant will die promptly if overwatered.

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema)

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This plant has the most beautiful foliage and is very affordable. I’ve never witnessed these beauties wilting, even after a week of neglect. Water when the top two inches of the soil are dry; keep it in the sun or shade.

Rubber plant (Ficus elastica) and baby rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia)

Image via Shutterstock

These plants can tolerate bright, moderate, or indirect light. Water these beauties every one to two weeks, when the top two inches of soil are dry.


Image via Shutterstock

Succulents love the sun and thrive with minimal water. You can hydrate succulents when the soil is completely dry. There are exceptions to this rule, so be sure to read the care tag that comes along with the plant or check out a video on YouTube.

Plant the Seed for a Healthy Future

Our botanical paradise has brought such cheer to our home. Everyone around me has caught the bug of growing, planting, and loving the joy that taking care of another organism and helping it bloom creates. That energy spreads all over and infects everyone it encounters. Happy planting!


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