I love nature, and plants have always fascinated me. In this post, I want to outline some of the benefits of keeping house plants, and reasons why you might want to try it too! But first, here’s a little bit of background on my love of plants.
My family has kept indoor plants for all my life, and I remember being attracted to them even as a young child. When I was a teenager, I began keeping and tending to my own house plants in my bedroom. I can’t remember exactly when or how this started, but I was probably gifted a plant or two, and it went from there.
At some point, I bought a book called ‘The Practical Encyclopedia of Houseplants and Plant Care’ which I still own and occasionally refer to now. It features all the common varieties of house plants, and how to care for them. I used to look through this book on a regular basis and plan which plants I would like to buy, as well as looking up how to care for the ones I already owned.
This book is quite old now, but there are many similar books around, and you can easily pick up plant books very cheaply from a charity shop or second hand book shop. And of course, the internet is an unlimited resource when it comes to learning about any topic, including plants!
A particular aspect of plant growing that has always fascinated me is propagation (the fancy word for breeding plants). I love growing new plants by taking cuttings, planting seeds, and through other methods (some of which have been more successful than others!).
So, on to the benefits of keeping house plants:
1. Plants are beautiful
There’s no doubt that plants are visually appealing. They are a great way to decorate and brighten up a room. Living and working in beautiful surroundings can really lift your mood and make you feel cheerful. It’s like having a garden indoors! If you live in a flat or don’t have a garden, owning house plants can be a great way to bring some nature into your living space.
You can make a statement by choosing plants that match your style and personality. Perhaps you would like to fill your home with delicate plants with beautiful, perfumed flowers, or you might find that large, bold foliage plants are more your style. Get creative and make plants a part of your decor!
2. Plants clean the air
The air in our homes is often surprisingly polluted! Evidence has shown that certain types of house plant are really great at absorbing and removing common indoor pollutants, such as formaldehyde and benzene, from the air. This can of course benefit your health. The following plants are easy to grow, and are supposed to be especially effective at cleaning the air:
- Peace Lily
- Spider Plant
- Snake Plant
- Aloe Vera
Even if you are not sure about these claims, and whether house plants could really be that effective at cleaning the air, surely there is no harm in investing in a couple of these plants and giving it a try!
Of course, plants also take in carbon dioxide, and give out oxygen. So in a small way, by keeping plants you are helping the environment by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. And it’s good to know that your plants are giving out oxygen for you to breathe!
3. Plants are fascinating
I find it amazing watching plants grow, and seeing how they change over time. Plants are full of surprises. Sometimes a plant I have owned for years will suddenly flower, when I didn’t even know that the plant could flower or what its flowers looked like! Other times, I repot a plant into a bigger pot, and suddenly it starts growing like crazy, and ends up looking like a totally different plant! Or a piece of a plant breaks off by accident, and I try planting it just in case it will grow as a cutting. This doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does, and I have a new plant that I wouldn’t otherwise have tried taking a cutting from. Plants never cease to amaze me!
4. Plants make great gifts
A plant that you have grown yourself makes a wonderful and personal gift for a friend or family member. I often propagate my plants, which means I always have a supply of plants I would be happy to give away, and still have plenty of plants left of the same type. Giving a home-grown plant as a gift is a great option if you don’t have time to go shopping or you don’t have much money to spend.
Giving plants as gifts also helps to thin out your collection if you start to get overrun with plants! Sometimes I collect and grow so many that I start running out of space to keep them. I have a few friends who are always glad to receive a few of my spares, which frees up space for me to grow more!
You could even make a bouquet of cut flowers as a special gift. Outdoor plants are usually more suited for cut flowers, as they usually produce more flowers. But there may be some types of indoor plants that will produce enough flowers for you to cut. For example, you could pick a small, delicate bunch of African Violets, which would be especially effective if you have various different coloured violets in flower at the same time.
5. Plants are fun
As I mentioned earlier, it’s a lot of fun watching plants grow, and seeing how they will surprise you! It can also be fun to build up a collection of plants, especially if you can find some rarer varieties that aren’t normally sold in the garden centre.
If you have friends who like growing plants too, it can be fun to swap plants and share cuttings. This way, you can both widen your collection by getting new types of plants that you don’t already own!
6. Plants are good for your mental health
Having plants around you is great for boosting your mood! When I am looking after my plants, I find that I get totally absorbed in the task and all my other thoughts or worries leave my mind. So if you want to bring a bit more relaxation into your life, growing plants could be a great hobby for you.
7. Plants are educational
If you have children, or work with them, growing plants is a great way to teach children about life, science and nature. As a project, you could get them to plant a seed and nurture it as it grows into a plant. This would teach them responsibility, and the importance of caring for living things.
Growing and tending to plants is also a satisfying skill to develop yourself, and it can be very rewarding to see your plants flourishing in your care.
8. Plants are useful
As well as all the uses already mentioned, plants can have some very practical uses within the home:
You can grow herbs such as basil, parsley and mint on your kitchen windowsill, and pick the fresh leaves to use in recipes. The freshly picked herbs will be extra tasty and healthy, and there is something special about cooking with ingredients you have grown or tended to yourself. Other edible plants that you can grow indoors are:
- Chilli plants – these are very easy to grow from seed.
- Citrus trees – these are more difficult to grow, and need lots of warmth and light so it is best to keep them in a conservatory if you have one!
You can use plants as a natural air freshener – choose a plant with nice smelling blooms, and keep it in your bathroom!
Have I convinced you to invest in a plant or two?
You don’t have to have a house full of plants like I do, especially if you don’t like the idea of spending a lot of time tending to plants. But even just picking out one or two plants that you like can really brighten up your space, and potentially provide some or all of the other benefits mentioned above. If you can’t afford to buy a plant, ask a friend if they will kindly give you a cutting of one of their plants that you admire.
Of course, many of the points I have mentioned apply to outdoor plants as well. So why not get outside and spend some time in the fresh air, tending to your garden or exploring your local park? (Don’t go picking all the flowers though!)
An important note: if you have pets, be aware that certain house plants can be toxic to them. Do a little research into this to make sure you only choose plants that are safe for your pets!
I’d love to know if you already keep house plants, and any additional benefits you have found from keeping them. Let me know in the comments!