Houseplants offer a variety of mental and physical health benefits

Karsyn Lemmons

Indoor plants are making a comeback as popular house décor, but what you may not realize is that these photosynthesizing friends offer more for your room than just an aesthetic.

Not only can certain houseplants help to improve the environment you live in, they can help to improve personal well-being. In a study conducted at the Agricultural University of Norway, individuals with plants indoor plants appeared to experience fewer occurrences of dry skin, colds, sore throat and dry cough compared to individuals living in rooms without plants.

Spring has officially begun, and local Austin nurseries have already started to expand their selections of indoor plants. Before choosing a plant, it’s best to be well-informed on what a certain plant will require and what benefits it has to offer. Christian Rodriguez, an employee at The Great Outdoors, says different indoor plants have varieties of benefits.

“They improve the quality of your air,” Rodriguez said. “Houseplants are known to remove a number of pollutants. The Peace Lily is somewhat of a super plant. It’s able to remove quite a few toxins from the air and even fight mold.”

Some plants are kept simply for their beauty and contributions to mental health. This is the case for Ritvik Bhattacharjee, biomedical engineering sophomore, who says his orchid collection helps him maintain a more positive mental health state and provides a rewarding experience.

“I love houseplants,” Bhattacharjee said. “There are numerous houseplants to fit every type of environment, and the care and attention given to houseplants rewards you with lots of healthy-looking leaves and/or beautiful blooms.”

Bhattacharjee isn’t the only student who believes houseplants have mental and physical health benefits. Reese Brinkley, human development and family science sophomore, purchased two succulent plants last semester for that specific reason.

“I had two succulent plants. I named one Jeffery and the other Jonathan,” Brinkley said. “They’re something to take care of and have a small responsibility for, and it was fun to make sure they were watered enough and had enough sunlight.”

For people who have decided to decorate with live greenery, Dana Carmichael, an employee at Red Barn Garden Center, said there are a few beginner mistakes people tend to make when introducing house plants to their home that can easily be prevented to extend the lifespan of their plants.

“The number one issue is over-watering,” Carmichael said. “Most indoor plants can go at least a week without watering. How much light they get also plays a role into how often you should water them. More light means watering more often.”

Rodriguez said another factor of maintaining indoor greenery is choosing proper amounts of healthy soil. According to Rodriguez, more soil allows for more moisture retention and a greater chance of developing mold and fungus.

With proper care, indoor plants can last for years to come in this symbiotic relationship. Proper amounts of water and sunlight can result in cleaner air and less pollutants, making you more productive, happy and healthy.