Why Have We Become So Obsessed With Houseplants?

Why Have We Become So Obsessed With Houseplants?

Whether you have been a long-time plant enthusiast or are new to the green thumb, it’s clear that there’s been a dramatic increase in our obsession with houseplants. A quick search for succulents on Instagram brings up more than six million results alone. Why do we love them so much, and what are their benefits?

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Russell.

Houseplants: a proven form of therapy.

Caring for indoor plants is not just about making your home more attractive, though it certainly does. Studies have shown that a hobby is also an excellent form of therapy. Research suggests that simply looking at plants has a calming effect and can help reduce anxiety and depression. Watching a plant thrive under your care gives you a sense of satisfaction with minimal effort. Taking a few minutes a day to check on your plants, nurture and water them allows you to focus on something other than the stressful news of the day. This is likely why it has become such a popular hobby during the stress of the pandemic.

Studies have shown that plant therapy improves mental health.

Here are some reasons why:

  • It releases feel-good hormones — Tending to plants indoors or outdoors serves as a reminder that we are connected to nature. Studies have shown that it increases our levels of dopamine and serotonin, which makes us feel good. It can also promote your healthier sleeping habits, leaving you feeling refreshed.
  • It helps with relaxation — Tending to plants can provide an escape from life’s stresses and gives you the satisfaction of something beautiful to look at and care for. The tasks involved with taking care of plants are often routine and repetitive, such as watering, pruning or propagating. Their rhythmic, mindful nature allows you to free up thoughts and clear your mind and can even be compared to meditation.
  • It promotes a sense of responsibility — Being responsible for making sure another living thing can develop and flourish promotes a sense of ownership and appreciation.
  • It gives satisfaction with minimal effort — You may feel intimidated by the thought of caring for beautiful extravagant plants, but don’t be. Start out small with a couple of easy-to-maintain plants. This easier first step might prove a rewarding experience and could encourage you to try your hand at more temperamental plants.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Russell.

Purify your air through your houseplants.

Houseplants act as effective natural indoor air purifiers. A NASA experiment, published in 1989, found that indoor plants can scrub the air of cancer-causing volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene. (NASA researchers were looking for ways to effectively detoxify space station environments.) Additional research has also found that the soil microorganisms in potted plants play a part in cleaning indoor air.

Here are a few plants to buy for air purification, and most of these are very easy to care for:

  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
  • Peace Lily
  • Spider Plant
  • Rubber Tree
  • Lemon Button Fern
  • Pothos
  • Philodendron
  • Aloe Vera

So whether you are a novice or a long-time plant enthusiast, there are clear benefits and rewards associated with owning and tending to houseplants. Add some color and liven up your home this winter with these beauties and reap the many benefits!

Looking to purchase houseplants in North Carolina? Check out our list of the best nurseries in the Triangle. And if you’re shopping for new quarantine hobbies, make sure to visit our Lifestyle coverage of activities around the Tar Heel State!