Plants to boost mental health

Posted by Megan Nichols on Mar 1st 2019

You can feel it when you enter the greenhouse. There is something therapeutic and calming in being surrounded by things green and growing. Being among plants uplifts the spirits, eases the mind, and gently pushes all worries aside. Turns out science and our feelings agree, plants are good for us.

Harsh Winter Conditions

Winter’s in Minnesota are long and cold and the days are short, which can exacerbate symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and leave people feeling depressed. We spend most of our time inside, and indoor air is often low quality. Heated air also dries out our skin and sinuses.

How Plants Can Help

Plants remove toxins and carbon dioxide from the air, release oxygen, and increase humidity, making the air healthier for us to breath and better for our skin. The addition of indoor plants has also shown a reduction in sick days and absentee rates in the work place and has helps speed recovery after surgery. Studies show interacting with indoor plants is both physically and mentally beneficial. Caring for indoor plants in the home after a stressful day at work promotes mental well-being. Plus, incorporating plants into the office space can improve mental health and mental function. Being able to view and care for plants decreases stress, increases productivity and creativity, helps us focus, and improves memory retention. Research continues in the area of plants and well-being, and we’ll continue learn more about the importance of growing plants indoors. For now, we know this – we are craving a return to nature, our bodies and our minds benefit immensely from keeping and caring for indoor plants, and we can all become healthier and happier with plants in our lives. Here are a few of our favorites to boost mental health.

Spider plant

Spider plant in black hanging container Easy to grow and care for, self-propagating so you can have more or share with friends, it cleans the air, and is pet friendly. Either green or variegated, this plant is perfect for home or office. Bright indirect light, water when top inch of soil is dry.

Aloe vera

Aloe in terra cotta container Being a succulent-type plant, aloe can handle (and actually prefers) to dry out between waterings so its great for beginning plant parents. The gel produced is widely known to help heal sun burns, too. It loves a sunny window, but will tolerate medium light.

Peace lily

Peace lily One of NASAs top air purifiers, it handles low light so it’s perfect for rooms with North facing or small windows, but it can also handle medium or bright indirect light (no direct sun, it will burn the leaves). Keep soil evenly moist but do not allow plant to sit in standing water.


Dracaena in copper container Easy care, pretty to look at, and a great addition to any room, many Dracaenas have stripy leaves that come in shades of greens and white and even pink. When little they’re perfect for a table top or counter, and larger ones work well as indoor trees. Grow in bright indirect light and let soil dry between watering as they are susceptible to root rot.

Monstera adonsonii

Monstera adansonii Also known as Swiss Cheese Vine (and currently trending on IG) this interesting plant is perfect for a hanging basket. The deep green, soft looking leaves gives us something beautiful to admire and naturally soothes our minds. Grow in bright, indirect or medium light and keep soil evenly moist but not soggy. Yellowing leaves may mean overwatering.

Philodendron selloum

Philodendron selloum in concrete container Big, lush leaves are a significant presence and bring that soothing green color into a space. Larger leaves create higher humidity and can be beneficial for breathing and skin. Low, medium, or bright indirect light, water when top inch of soil is dry.


Lavender Long favored for use in aromatherapy (research confirms its calming effects) lavender is the perfect plant to encourage a good nights rest or a restful evening anywhere in your home. Grow in direct sun and well-drained potting mix. Any plant that brings you joy and calms your mind is worth growing, so feel free to pick the plants that speak to you. Here’s to growing our health!