Houseplants with Surprising Benefits

07/14/2022 | Ken Davis Houseplants

by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener

Audible Stories Provided by
Woman Holding a Snakeplant

Houseplants are just what the doctor ordered, from young retirees moving into their dream home to those able to work from anywhere, spending more time at home. Interior landscaping, what professionals call decorating with houseplants, is gaining popularity with homeowners. Biophilia, popularized by biologist Edward Wilson, is the innate tendency to seek out connections with nature and other living things. According to this term, humans are more disconnected from nature than ever before, which explains the increased popularity of decorating with and caring for houseplants.

The benefits of nature are well documented. Like a walk through the forest or sipping a glass of wine in the backyard with friends, houseplants positively affect our mental health. It turns out houseplants positively affect our air quality, mood, and even our mental health, and here are the reasons why:)

Plants Purify the Air

Plants are excellent at removing toxins from breathable air and improving air quality. Studies by NASA found plants remove over 80 percent of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) every 24 hours. VOCs are chemical compounds found in household items like paint, carpet, toys, etc. They evaporate and compromise air quality, posing health risks. Common VOCs include formaldehyde, acetone, ethanol, butanol, and benzene, all found in modern, climate-controlled buildings. Scientists found using one large houseplant per 100 sq.ft., or two smaller plants, noticeably improves air quality.

Moody Boost

Plants positively impact your mood. A significant body of research has demonstrated a link between improved mood and the presence of plants. Daily stress is reduced when interacting with houseplants. Even placing one’s hands in potting soil improved mood. ‘Outdoorphins’ are my nickname for tiny microbes acting as natural antidepressants in plants and their soil.

A Productivity Kick in the Plants

Interior Landscaping is the focus of Big Tech and many larger companies, with a 70% increase in productivity reported. Offices decorated with plants found fewer sick days are taken and scores higher on general work satisfaction surveys. A study done in England found when classrooms were decorated with houseplants, students showed more attentiveness and attendance than in classrooms without plants.

Increased Mental Health

Plant Therapy is more than a buzzword. Research shows the absence of plants in our lives is linked to increased stress, anxiety, and even depression. Alternatively, spending time in spaces with many plants has a therapeutic effect. It leads to feelings of calmness and reduced stress. Caring for houseplants has also been shown to reduce feelings of loneliness and depression and instill a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

Background Noise be Gone

Your mental and physical well-being is enough, but there’s more. Noise reduction is another tangible benefit for those living in noisy apartment buildings and living by busy roads. Thanks to their dynamic surface area, plants reduce background noise through sound absorption. Several factors influence your plants’ effective noise reduction. The number of plants, their size, the density of the foliage, and the surface area of your plants reduce sound decibels.

Plants Regulate Humidity and Temperature Better

It is well known outdoor plants regulate your home’s temperature by providing shade in the summer with solar gain in the winter. Inside, houseplants regulate the temperature of your home as well. Through photosynthesis, plants emit moisture into the air, helping to cool and warm a room depending on the temperature. Adding humidity makes the air feel warmer in a cold room because moist air holds more heat. Studies found adding plants reduces temperatures by 10 degrees in warm rooms. Keeping the leaves of your houseplants clean and free of dust is vital to ensure they can photosynthesize adequately and continue to release moisture into the air.

Cat in a TV Set among houseplants

Houseplants Make Great Decor

There are endless possibilities when decorating with houseplants. Adding houseplants to almost any room in your home makes the room appear bigger, warmer, healthier, and more inviting. Plants are living art and bring natural character to homely spaces.

Stacy Teaching Garden Class

Free Garden Classes at Watters Garden Center Saturday @ 9:30 am

Every Saturday morning at 9:30, I host free garden classes correct for our garden season. Here are the free classes for the next few weeks.

July 16 @ 9:30 am – Avoid these Common Pest at All Cost

July 23 @ 9:30 am – Privacy Screens and Barriers

July 30 @ 9:30 am – Edible Landscape with Trees & Berries

Until the next issue, I’ll be helping local gardeners Interiorscaping with better houseplants here at Watters Garden Center. Ken Lain can be found at Watters Garden Center throughout the week, 1815 Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his website at or