Scientific studies suggest you can make your home feel brighter and happier by decorating your space with houseplants—for real.1 Oh — and adding other natural elements like flowers and branches does not hurt, either.
Here are 11 uplifting houseplant ideas.
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Houseplants are Good for Your Mind and Body
Plants purify stale indoor air so you can breathe easier. But their uplifting effects does not end there.
Scientists say, just being around houseplants, flowers, and even artfully arranged branches (more on that later) can significantly boost your mood and reduce stress.2
While experts have not pinned down exactly why this happens, in a nutshell, they suspect humans are hard-wired to connect with nature and other life-forms for the mutually beneficial feel-good benefits. For instance, taking care of houseplants can increase your happiness. No kidding!
Want to make your entryway more inviting? Antonia Schmitz, who pens the German lifestyle blog Craftifair, says adding a few houseplants to her foyer added a welcoming touch. See her plant-filled home on Instagram.
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Mother Nature’s Powerful Air Fresheners
The best plants for you should suit your lifestyle and particular needs. For instance, let’s say you are looking for something fuss-free with superior air cleaning skills. Consider the low-maintenance snake plant. It is an evergreen with tall sword-shaped leaves that thrives in dry conditions and indoor temperatures that range from 40 degrees to 80 degrees.
To keep this hardy plant looking its best, it needs medium to bright indirect light and water, about a 1/4 cup, every few weeks.
When it comes to airborne toxins, it is one of the top five plants for improving indoor air quality according to NASA researchers.3
The snake plant has one more superpower. While most plants do not release fresh oxygen at night, it does.4 Did you know purified air can help you sleep better? Interior plant designer, Lisa Muñoz of Leaf and June says that is why she has two snake plants bedside. Be warned, her Instagram page may turn you into a full-fledged plant addict.
Are you allergic to mold? The English ivy plant can seriously reduce the amount of airborne mold in your space.3
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This Leafy Beauty Has a Secret
Ceropegia Woodii (Rosary Vine) is another lovely option to grow indoors. It is also incredibly striking — those beautiful trailing vines of heart-shaped leaves are positively swooning worthy.
The plant can handle chilly indoor temperatures above 45 degrees and flourishes under bright but indirect sunlight.
Warning, overwatering will certainly kill it. Before doing make certain that 30 percent of the soil (starting from the top) is dry. You can use a moisture meter to gauge when it is time to water.
While these plants are almost always in hanging planters, Marlous Cutter from Oh Marie! says a tilted planter like the one shared above adds a dose of playful visual interest.
Looking for a plant that will not kill your furbaby? The white edged Swedish ivy plant (shown here) is nontoxic to pets.
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This Herb Plant Will Help You Deal With Cold Weather
A peppermint plant can uplift your spirit big time, particularly in the winter. It is why Elske Leenstra, a plant-loving blogger keeps one in her minty-fresh kitchen.
Research by neuroscientists published in 2008 revealed that peppermint’s aroma boosts mood, memory and also mental awareness.5 We also love the fact that this plant is easy to grow year-round indoors — just remember to keep the soil moist.
What is our favorite reason for growing a peppermint plant? A fresh sprig of mint will make your favorite, hot winter beverages, like hot chocolate, another mighty mood booster, more delicious.
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Branch Out With Eucalyptus
The scent of recently harvested eucalyptus branches can calm overworked minds while easing mental fatigue.6 Do not invite nasty toxins that can pollute indoor air into your home. When buying, look for options that are both herbicide-free and pesticide-free.
Fresh cut eucalyptus branches will dry out naturally without water. Afterward, you can display them for up to one year.
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Bring the Spirit of Spring into Your Space
Springtime weather is a huge mood booster.7 So it makes sense, decorating with houseplants can capture the spirit of spring at home year round.
There is also scientific proof that cute home accessories, including planters, can also uplift your spirits. That is why choosing a planter that also brings out the best in your plant, is a small but worth it victory according to Styling Bolaget, the home styling company that decorated this 300 square foot Swedish apartment.
For example, feast your eyes on this Alocasia Polly plant. We could gaze at those scalloped, heart-shaped leaves for days. See the attractive planter? It adds visual interest to the room and flatters the plant’s beauty.
When it comes to plant care, the Alocasia Polly is a little needy. A significant need to know, it will die if kept on a sunny and drafty windowsill. Bright, but indirect sunlight, and room temperature hovering between 60 and 70 degrees are both key for its survival. Lastly, frequent misting is a must when indoor air gets dry in winter.
Unlike the Swedish ivy, many conventional plants (including the Alocasia Polly) are potentially poisonous to cats, dogs and other creatures if consumed. Learn more here.
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Sick of Succulents?
Sick of succulents? Say hello to their prickly cousin the cactuses. Just like their fleshy leafed relatives, these plants come in many weirdly, incredible sizes and shapes, minus the leaves. Instead, most have sharp needles to repel hungry or thirsty predators.
There are around 2,000 types of cactuses, and most of them are in the succulent family (but many succulents are not cactuses- go figure.)
The mini cactus is a small space favorite. Its compact size makes it possible for anyone to create a modest windowsill garden. They are also really low maintenance — not to mention super adorable.
Barbara from Green Obsessions explains how she used a marker to create these whimsical planters for her mini cactus jungle.
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Coffee Cups Make Great Planters
Many types of cactuses and succulents have root systems that stick to the top of the soil. When these plants are small, they can thrive in vintage coffee mugs like Marij Hessel, from My Attic shows in this photo.
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Trees for Urban Dwellers
Just because you live in a small apartment and do not have a yard does not mean you cannot grow a tree.
The rubber tree is a resilient indoor favorite that is also low maintenance. The trick is to start with a small young one that you can adapt to your space with pruning.
To keep this plant happy, it needs indirect sunlight in a spot that does not go below 55 degrees or above 80 degrees. During the winter it should be watered once per month when the top soil feels dry. Springtime and summer the soil should be kept moist, not waterlogged, with weekly watering.
You will also want to give this tree’s leaves a little extra TLC by wiping with a clean damp cloth every month. Why? Consider it payback. Each leaf cleans the stale indoor air by scrubbing out nasty airborne bacteria and icky mold spores.8
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Coffee Pot Terrarium Equals Happiness
Behavioral studies on the topic of gardening have consistently linked the activity to increased happiness.9 But who says you have to dig in the dirt to boost your serotonin levels? Instead, when the weather outside is downright frightful, you can keep your chin up with an easy to make air plant terrarium.
For air plants to thrive there are three must knows. First off, they do not need soil. Second, to keep them hydrated submerge them in a bowl of water for at least four hours. No worries about over watering. They only absorb what they need. Afterward, let them dry off for several hours. Third, they need plenty of indirect sunlight and a light misting every few days.
Enid, the passionate plant blogger behind A Charming Project, says she loves air plants because they are hard to kill. She also appreciates that you can control how big air plants get with regular grooming. To do, just trim their leaves and roots. No worries, it will not hurt them. See how Enid made a coffee pot terrarium for her mini air plants.
Flowers are Powerful
It is a no-brainer that receiving flowers can make you feel fantastic. But you may not know just displaying a fresh bouquet evokes positive feelings.
According to a 2005 study, psychology experts say the presence of flowers affects social behavior much more than you think from combating depression to soothing agitated or anxious behavior.10 And it makes sense. It is hard not to smile when you see a bright and colorful arrangement like this one created by the plant-loving bloggers at PRCHTG.