Why do we need Houseplants – The Science Behind


Houseplants are attractive and alluring whether they grow at home, indoor gardens, workplaces or at public spaces. You don’t have to be an environmental psychologist to feel the vibrant energetic vibes of plants and how they make you feel relaxed and one with nature. House plants not only add visual beauty but also have positive effects on your emotional and cognitive health. Do you know as per Scientific research House Plants have the capacity of removing 87% of toxins from the air within a span of 24 hours?  Not just that, potted plants are known to be the best mood boosters. 

Houseplants benefit us scientifically, emotionally and physically as well. All you have to do is park them silently in our homes or workplaces and watch them unfold their magic. No wonder, as you talk to a plant or just look at it lovingly it tends to grow faster and emanates happy vibes.  

“If speaking fondly to plants helps them grow, Imagine, what speaking kindly to humans would do.” – Unknown

i. Houseplants are Mood Lifters and Relieve Stress  

As per Studies – active interaction with houseplants in the manner of touching or smelling them cures you of physiological and psychological stress. (A study published in Psychological Anthropology). Now that you know there is certainly a science behind house plants – let us look at how they relieve stress. 

You will be surprised to know that not just the leaves but even the ‘soil’ of the plants act as a daily dose of happiness. This is because the soil contains microbes that release “outdoorphins which are natural depressants. 

Now you will say – I have heard of Endorphins!

What are Outdoorphins?

Peace Lily

Well, ‘outdoorphins’ are similar to endorphins! Endorphins are hormones that make you feel happy and reduce pain during strenuous exercise. Because they release cytokines signalling your brain to further produce more serotonin. However, chemicals that “promote a feel-good factor that has become known as outdoorphins.” Moreover, scientific studies have proven that outdoorphins are mood boosters and combat negative emotions. Environmental Health expert Danica-Lea Larcombe says; the presence of indoor plants can bring about positive changes in your brain’s electrical activity, muscle tension, and heart activity. 

Houseplants like the lavender or snake plant in your bedroom can help you sleep better, ease your stress and calm your mind. If you spend just 5 minutes a day with plants they flood your body with happy and positive feelings. 

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” – Audrey Hepburn

II. HousePlants clean and spruce up the air quality  

We all are familiar with the term photosynthesis from our school days. When plants take in carbon dioxide that we breath out and sunlight together, they produce oxygen. Cleaner air for you and me.  Thus, houseplants go that extra mile to eliminate bad toxins from the air within your walls.  

American Lung Association confirms that indoor air is as polluted and contaminated as the air outdoors. Pollutants are found not only outside but also within the walls of your home and workplace. Little do we realize – airborne toxins and pollutant gases emitted from mechanical equipment and building material pollute the air indoors. 

Some of the most common air pollutants are asbestos, mould, radon, benzene and carbon monoxide. Exposure to them causes dry eyes, asthma, and headaches. Thus, NASA studied the science behind house plants and highly recommend Peace Lily, Spider Plant, and English Ivy to be grown indoors to filter out the toxins. 

Image Source: Pinterest

Do you know houseplants can remove up to 87 % of air toxins in 24 hours!

Research also highlights that rooms with potted plants contain up to 60% less airborne molds and bacteria than rooms without any greenery. Also, about 5 to 10 plants in six to eight-inch planters are enough to clean an 800-square-foot space

“Every day I supply oxygen for up to 4 people. Don’t you think I am worth saving.” – A Tree

III. Biophilic elements improve concentration and level of productivity 

Houseplants at the workplace not only reign the purpose of a decorative item but also help you focus and concentrate better. This increases your productivity levels. The Journal of Experimental Psychology published a study that claimed a 15% increase in workplace productivity, satisfaction due to better office air quality.  Henceforth, adding ‘biophilic design’ elements to your workplace is essential for your business growth. It helps the mind to work more effectively and think more creatively. 

You must be wondering what are biophilic elements! 


The biophilia hypothesis says that Humans have an inherent need to connect with nature and other biotic forms as we have an evolutionary dependence for our survival and personal fulfillment.’  (Click here for full article).Thus, you can create a framework where nature is present in the built environment and used to satisfy human needs. There is a ‘direct experience of nature’ by having tangible contact with natural features like air, water, light, plants, animals, natural landscapes, weather, and fire.

In case you can’t do the above – ‘indirect experience of nature’ has similar benefits, if not the same. You can do this by bringing indoors – elements like natural colors, material, shapes, images of nature, Simulations of Natural Light and Air. Also, called biomimicry resulting in an ‘experience of space and place. 

A whopping 47% increase in productivity and concentration levels were recorded by adding biophilic elements at work (Research at Exeter University, UK). Adding indoor plants also increases memory retention by 20%.  Hence, researchers who studied the science behind houseplants suggest Lucky Bamboo and Gerbera Daisies be placed in your office or at your work desk.

“Plants are chemists, tirelessly assembling the molecules of the world.” – Gary Snyder

House plants act as a natural humidifier 

Without houseplants the air indoors is dry in nature, it is bad news. This is because dryness leads to numerous health concerns such as i) irritation in the lungs leading to respiratory infections, ii) dry mouth, iii) cracked skin, and iv) chapped lips. 

House plants release moisture from all the water they take in through a process called transpiration.  This improves the quality of the air indoors. As per the science behind house plants during transpiration, the water in plants lifts up from the soil and roots. It further evaporates through the tiny pores in the leaves called stomata. Resulting in more moisture in the air. Hence, it acts as a humidifier, retains the required humidity in the room – improving the air quality indoors. 

Humidity levels are high in bathrooms and kitchens at home due to trapped moisture from hot water and cooking. Therefore, if you add houseplants here it will improve your breathing health. 

Try introducing Boston Ferns to regulate dry air, especially during winters. However, if you have kids or pets at home or work (schools or hospitals) be sure of what kind of potted plants to bring home. Animals, especially cats are allergic to pollen found on Lilies.  

“I thought I was pretty cool until I realized plants can eat Sun and poop out air.”  – Jim Bugg

Indoor Plants Boost Immunity  

Houseplants uplift your mood by bringing in joy – but also improve physical health by boosting your immunity, especially when you catch the flu. This is because Phytoncides and other airborne chemicals are present in the plants. They help to reduce the amount of stress and increase your immunity levels. 

How do Indoor Plants Boost Immunity?

They fight infections causing viruses, bacteria, and flu in your body. As per the science behind house plants – green spaces at home or work keep the flu bugs away. When you are at peace you sleep better resulting in an effective immune system. Thus, the more you study the science behind house plants, the more you understand the value it adds to your health and life. 

” A beautiful plant is like having a friend around the house.” – Beth Ditto

Snake Plant

Houseplants Reduce Risk of Diseases  

Houseplants drop the risk of most of the diseases by 60%. Washington State University found that a 20% reduction of dust in rooms happened by introducing house plants indoors. Thus, houseplants can successfully remove particulate matter from the air.  

Close proximity with plants facilitates rapid healing from injuries, especially in hospitals. Kansas State University recognized potted house plants as an effective complementary medicine for surgical patients. Indoor plants are more than welcomed in hospitals and also near the hospital bedside. They have shown positive results in helping patients heal faster. In 2009, patients with houseplants and flowers in their hospital rooms had a high tolerance for pain, lower blood pressure, lower anxiety and fatigue than patients who had no plants in their rooms. Therefore, houseplants are therapeutic in nature.    

“Nature itself is the best Physician.” – Hippocrates

Image Souce: Pinterest

Horticulture Therapy is another way that helps patients in health facilities to heal faster. Horticulture therapy engages individuals in gardening and other plant-based activities, with the help of a trained therapist, to achieve therapy and treatment goals. 

Forest Bathing originated in Japan, is catching up momentum worldwide. Read our article on what it is all about by clicking here.

Different types of Houseplants 

Listed here are the Best houseplants to add to your indoor space.  

  1. Aloe Vera   
  2. Parlour Palm 
  3. Spider Plant  
  4. Cacti
  5. Money Plant 
  6. Dragon Tree  
  7. Philodendron  
  8. Snake Plant or Sansevieria  
  9. Peace Lily  
  10. Succulents 



 A house full of plants leads to a healthier and happier you. Thus, run to a nursery and pick up a few houseplants to place them at your home and work desk. Let the plants spread their zen and fill you with happy thoughts and feelings. 

Those who read the above also Read:

Why crying is good for your soul?

5 ways to Design a Creative Design at Workspace 

7 Steps Guide to Forest bathing: Amazing Healing Power of Nature

Why should we read Books? 










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