You want to care for something, but maybe you’re not ready for a pet (or child) or you’re allergic or the landlord forbids them. Adopting an indoor plant could be a better way to go. There are many health benefits that come from house plants, like air purification and improved memory.
Not only do plants have a lot of health perks, but some are super easy to take care of, especially if you’re not much of a “green thumb.” In this blog, learn about the health benefits you’ll get from indoor plants, five low-maintenance plants to get if you’re ready, and how to care for them once you adopt.
Health Benefits of Indoor Plants
We know the benefits of nature, so it’s obvious that we’d get the same benefits from indoor plants. They do everything from purifying the air to reducing stress levels. Here are four (among many others) health benefits of indoor plants.
Indoor Plants Purify the Air
Move over plastic air purifiers, plants are prettier and do the job. Plants purify the air by removing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen. They wipe out toxicants by metabolizing them and then releasing harmless by-products. Plants also absorb heavy metals into plant tissues, which is something we obviously shouldn’t be ingesting.
Indoor Plants Help Reduce Stress Levels
While meditation and yoga are great stress reducers, another option to add to your stress-relieving repertoire is a plant. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology tested the psychological and physiological benefits of interaction with indoor plants versus a computer task.
They measured the participants’ heart rate variability and blood pressure while they repotted an indoor plant and while they performed a computer task. The study showed that the participants’ interaction with the plant lowered their psychological and physiological stress whereas the computer task increased it.
If you want to lower stress, repotting a plant is a surefire way to do that!
Plants Benefit Your Well-Being
Plants naturally make us happier, whether that’s walking through parks or woods, or caring for a plant at home. Spending 2+ hours around nature per week has been shown to increase people’s well-being.
One study had 60 participants take a 50-minute walk in either a natural or urban environment. Before and after their walk, participants had to complete psychological assessments for cognitive and affective functioning. The people who walked in nature decreased their anxiety, lowered rumination, and increased working memory.
If you can’t take an hour-long walk in nature every day, get yourself a plant so you can get close to nature as possible from home.
Plants Can Improve Concentration and Memory
In a different study, the University of Michigan assessed whether spending time in nature increased someone’s memory. The researchers took two groups and had one group walk in an urban setting while the other group walked in a natural setting for 50 minutes.
The same group was reassessed a week later by walking in the location not visited the first time. There were significant memory improvements seen by the participants who walked in the natural setting.
Having a cute plant next to your desk may actually help you remember to send that email or complete that task you keep neglecting.
It’s clear that being around nature helps us, whether it’s improving concentration, decreasing anxiety, or cleaning the air we breathe. If you’re sold on adopting a plant based on its health benefits, keep reading to learn about five low-maintenance indoor plants.
5 Low-Maintenance Indoor Plants
If you’ve never cared for a plant before, it can feel a little intimidating at first. Like, “How do I not kill it?” We get it. We’ve been there. With that said, here are five low-maintenance indoor plants that you’ll actually have to try to kill—they’re that bulletproof.
There are no actual spiders that come with this plant, thankfully. It’s named “Spider Plant” because of its slender leaves that spill over the pot and the other little plantlets it creates. They come in green or variegated varieties and they’re extremely adaptable. The Spider Plant loves moisture, your bathroom is the perfect spot for it. Plus, it purifies the air.
Light: Moderate to low light. Give it indirect sunlight.
Water: They like to dry out thoroughly between waterings.
Pet-Friendly: They’re non-toxic, but some reports say they can be mildly hallucinogenic to cats (like catnip). It can also cause an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea. So be cautious where you hang it.
Want a more tropical theme in your home? The Bamboo Palm plant is perfect for your tiki bar. A healthy Bamboo Palm will have dark green leaves and stand erect. If you have a hard time remembering to water plants, this one is perfect for you because it hates soggy soil.
Light: Except for direct sunlight, this plant likes all light.
Water: Keep the soil moist, but have drainage. It doesn’t like too much water.
Aloe Vera Plant
Yes, the plant you use its insides for your sunburns when you’ve gotten too much sun at the beach. The biggest benefit is if you adopt an aloe vera plant, you’ll always have some aloe for your skin.
It doesn’t just heal your skin, it also helps purify the air. If the leaves are turning brown, cut them off to keep the plant healthy. And if you want some aloe for your skin, again, cut off a leaf and separate the gel from the stalk.
Light: It likes bright, indirect sunlight
Water: Water sparingly because it likes drier conditions. Use a planter with a drainage hole so the soil doesn’t get too soggy.
If you’re an excellent communicator, you’ll appreciate the Philodendron Plant. Watch for their signals—they’ll tell you what they need. Plus, they’re perfect for inexperienced plant owners because they’re super adaptable.
Light: They like bright, indirect sunlight. If you see too many leaves turn yellow, it’s getting too much sunlight. Alternatively, if the stems grow long and leggy with gaps between the leaves, it likely isn’t getting enough sun.
Water: Let the top inch of soil dry out between waterings. If the leaves droop, you’re watering it too much or not enough.
Pet-Friendly: Unfortunately, no. It could make your pet’s mouth, tongue, or lips swell or cause vomiting.
Known as the “Swiss Cheese Plant” because of how the leaves look, is a tropical plant and is used in a lot of art because of how it looks. If you want a unique-looking plant, pick yourself up a Monstera—it’ll make a statement in any room.
Light: It likes bright-to-medium indirect light. It doesn’t like direct sunlight but you can teach it to acclimate.
Water: Let the soil dry out between watering, so every 1-2 weeks.
Pet-Friendly: It can cause issues to pets and humans if consumed, so it’s best to keep the Monstera out of reach.
Caring for Indoor Plants as a Beginner
Like we said earlier, it can feel intimidating to adopt a plant, not knowing what you have to do to keep it alive. Here are some tips to get you started with your first indoor plant.
Consider the lighting and space in your place
Plants that like bright light do best in south-facing windows, like the aloe vera plant. Plants like the Philodendron and Monstera thrive in partial shade or moderate light, so place them in east- or west-facing windows. Then you have your snake plant, which will do best in north-facing windows.
If your plants aren’t flowering, growing, or losing their leaves, it means they aren’t getting enough light. Alternatively, if the edges of leaves scorch, bleach out, or look dull, then your plant’s getting too much light.
Also, if you don’t have enough space for a specific plant, consider getting something smaller.
Think about how much you spend at home
If you’re rarely home or travel often, you may not have the time to care for a plant. We listed some plants that can go 1-2 weeks without water so if you’re home often enough to get them watered, then you should definitely invest in a green roommate.
Otherwise, maybe hold off until you have a schedule that fits with taking care of a plant.
You shouldn’t water on a fixed schedule. It can mean over-watering or not watering enough. Instead, check the soil and water when needed.
When you do water, the best time of the day is in the morning, except when it's cloudy. Plants like room-temperature water. Cold water can shock the plants, just like when you step into some frigid water. It’s not a fun feeling.
Finally, use filtered water if your tap water has high amounts of minerals or chemicals, like Fluoride. It can brown the leaves of your plants.
Fertilizing your indoor plants
First, make sure you follow any instructions included with whatever fertilizer you buy. Generally, indoor plants respond well to feeding though.
While balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) works well for houseplants, nitrogen-rich fertilizers promote greater foliage growth. Do some research on the plant you want to adopt to see what it prefers.
Pests on indoor plants
Sometimes, pests can cause issues. You tend to see them when you bring an outdoor plant inside, say, for the winter, or when you bring home a new plant. To get rid of bugs, you can push a garlic clove into the plant’s soil. This should help get rid of them.
Happy plant adopting!