8 Excellent Houseplants to Boost Your Mood

A woman tends to hanging houseplants

There is no doubt that the global Pandemic served to heighten our awareness of the important role that nature plays in our wellbeing. When our access to green spaces was revoked, we realised just how important our connection to nature is for our mental and physical health. As a consequence, we saw a huge rise in people bringing plants into their homes as indoor gardening became a tool for mindfulness.

The rise of biophilic design saw its popularity fast-tracked as we discovered its potential to bridge the disconnect between our built environment and the natural world. With so many of us forced to stay indoors, biophilic design became the obvious solution that enabled us to regain that connection to nature.

But this isn’t a new phenomenon. There is a raft of research to support the fact that plants are good for our mental health and wellbeing as well as our physical health. Studies have shown that having plants in our built environments lead to measurable improvements in human health.

Plant Life Balance is an app designed to get Australians excited and confident about styling their homes and lives with houseplants — while promoting the health and wellbeing benefits that plants bring. They commissioned a study from RMIT University and University of Melbourne which brought together half a century’s worth of research about plants and human wellbeing.

Plants have the ability to both relax and energise us. Being relaxed improves your mood; you can concentrate longer and you are more productive. Simply seeing plants or being surrounded by them can be an effective mechanism for dealing with stress.

DR DOMINIQUE HES, Plant Life Balance Ambassador and Researcher from Melbourne University

The findings show that plants do indeed make people happy and healthy and give an indication as to how many houseplants we need to get the maximum benefits. In an average 4x5m space, 1 plant improves mental wellbeing a bit, five plants will improve it by up to 60% and for maximum health and wellness benefits, we should aim to add at least 10 plants.

According to ethnobotanist James Wong, being surrounded by plants helps improve people’s moods and wellbeing. He believes that the rich green colour of houseplants can reduce stress levels, pain and improve feelings of self-worth.

James also agrees that having a living thing to concentrate on and nurture acts as a mindfulness exercise, which can further relieve feelings of tension and anxiety.

But which plants are the most effective when it comes to boosting our moods? James has kindly suggested eight hero houseplants that will help give us that much-needed boost.

Fatsia Japonica

A houseplant on a bathroom vanity unit

Image c/o The Flower Council Holland

Hailing from Japan and Korea, the Fatsia Japonica is an evergreen shrub that grows to about 2.5m high and is renowned for its glossy dark exotic looking leaves. Preferring a shaded position, the Fatsia is a robust growing plant perfect for new plant parents. Sometimes called the Umbrella Plant, the architectural shape of the leaves makes the Fatsia an eye-catching focal plant whilst creating a sense of calm through the richness of its green coloured leaves.

Strelitzia Nicolai

Potted houseplants in an industrial style warehouse home

Image c/o The Flower Council Holland

The eye-catching Strelitzia, also known as the Wild Banana or Crane Plant, is recognisable for its broad leaves and towering stems. Strelitzia Nicolai makes a statement in a living or workspace due to its exotic shapes and textures and bright blue and white flowers that bloom in springtime, whilst its bold, smooth leaves bring serenity into the home.

Howea Forsteriana

Potted houseplants on a display cabinet in a white room

Image c/o The Flower Council Holland

The Kentia Palm or Howea Forsteriana, sometimes called the Sentry Palm or Thatch Palm, is a popular indoor palm tree known for its air-purifying benefits. With tall stems and lush, dark green leaves, this plant adds a touch of the exotic to a home or home working space – mentally transporting us to sunnier climes. 

Schefflera Actinophylla

Thi plant is also known as the Umbrella Tree, owing to its broad, lustrous leaves. Native to Australia, Java, and New Guinea, Schefflera Actinophylla is resilient and fast-growing. Not only does this plant look stunning it’s also a hard worker – removing nasty toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene – and helping boost productivity. Perfect for combatting winter lethargy. 

Strelitzia Reginae

Large potted houseplants next to a Hans Wegner chair and foot stool

Image c/o The Flower Council Holland

Originating from South Africa, Strelitzia Reginae is the show-stopping orange flowering relative of the White Bird of Paradise. With vibrant flowers blossoming in Spring and Winter the striking shape resembles a tropical bird – adding a pop of intense colour to your home or workspace to boost mood and remind us of exotic adventures. 

Aspidistra Elatior

Boasting elegant, long-stemmed foliage, Aspidistra Elatior adds a touch of graceful style to homes and workspaces, whilst being easy to care for. A firm favourite since the Victorian era, the Aspidistra Elatior thrives in low light and low air quality and helps to promote better sleep through the long winter nights.

Begonia Maculata

Often called the Polka Dot begonia, Begonia Maculata is a splashy show-stopper that packs a lot of features into its fine form; silver polka dots, crimson undersides and sprays of open bell-like red or white flowers with a bright yellow centre. Introducing texture and a pop of colour to add detail to an indoor landscape and stimulate creativity.

Asplenium Scolopendrium

A houseplant

Image c/o The Flower Council Holland

With lustrous fronds which unfurl in early spring and remain throughout the year, this Asplenium Scolopendrium, also known as hart’s tongue fern, is easy to care for and brings an evergreen injection of vibrant colour and reminder of woodlands into the home. Ferns are a very old group of plants that came along more than 200 million years before the dinosaurs walked the Earth – connecting us to our ancient roots.

Do you find that plants boost your mood? I have at least 20 plants in my coworking space and I can absolutely confirm that they boost my mood. If you need a reminder of which houseplants are on this list, don’t forget to pin this post for later.

8 Houseplants to boost your mood

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