Plant lady is the new cat lady. And unlike cats, plants take a lot less work to take care of. The hardest part of being a plant mom is the act of planting your new babies in pots and soil appropriate to their size, root structure, and water needs. From there, all you have to do is remember when to water them and put them in the sun!
Not only are plants beautiful, they’re also good for you. Recently, I’ve been trying to expand my collection from being predominantly made up of succulents and cacti, to plants that improve my health, wellness, and mood. I was a bit hesitant because I didn’t want to accidentally kill any of them, but a few weeks ago I took the plunge and I’m already feeling the positive effects.
More plants means more oxygen. While humans breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, plants do the opposite: absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. At least during the day. When it’s dark photosynthesis is flipped, meaning your plants are now absorbing oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. However, some plants: orchids, epiphytic bromeliads, gerbera daisies, and succulents, take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen at night, making them the perfect plants for your bedroom.
Plants not only make oxygen, they also purify the air in lots of other ways. English Ivy removes airborne mold from the air, cutting down on allergies and other mold-related illnesses. Boston ferns, peace lilies, aloe vera, snake plants, azaleas, and mass cane all absorb toxins like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, benzene, and cigarette smoke from the air. By improving air quality, these plants (and others) contribute to healthier lungs and healthier bodies, positively impacting your energy levels and mood.
It sounds weird, but bear with me. I’ve struggled with dry skin my whole life, and have a massive collection of lotions, oils, and humidifiers to prove it. While I was researching which houseplants I should try out, I learned that houseplants help to increase the humidity in any closed off space, from the planet to your apartment. Plants absorb water through their roots that then evaporates through their leaves in a process known as transpiration, releasing water into the air. Studies have shown that increased humidity not only decreases dry skin, but helps with colds, sore throats, coughs, and can help decrease the survival and transmission of the flu virus. All plants do this, so you can’t really go wrong with any plant you pick, but bigger-leafed plants like dieffenbachia do this best. An easy plant to take care of, that also helps to purify air, is golden pothos.
As a freelancer, my home is my office. Because of this, it’s sometimes hard for me to find a healthy work-life balance, and I find myself being stressed often. While adding plants to my home, I made sure to pick plants that were known to help with stress and productivity. Colorful and flowering plants in general are known to make you feel better, uplifting your mood through pops of color. I ended up picking primroses and orchids because they were easy to take care of, but anything from crotons to African violets and flowering maples are good for your home. Plants with fragrant flowers like jasmine and small citrus trees can also help to calm you (and can even contribute to your pantry).
There are certain plants that are specifically known to improve memory and relieve stress. Lavender is one of these. The scent is known to help with restlessness, nerves, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. I’ve never been a very good sleeper, so I placed a lavender plant in my bedroom and so far it’s seemed to help me sleep better. Another herb that helps with stress and productivity is rosemary. Rosemary improves concentration and memory, making it great for your home office. Even better, you can use it in lots of different recipes if you enjoy cooking like me.
These are just a few of the ways houseplants can benefit our lives. There are also dozens of plants that can be grown and implemented into your life and diet to improve your health. While indoor plants do require watering, and sometimes movement around your apartment to account for seasonal sunlight, taking care of them is relatively easy. Additionally, research has shown that the act of taking care of a plant actually improves your move and helps in the process of healing. Before doing my research, I didn’t realize how many houseplants had healing properties, but now that I do I’m never going back!
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