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The Psychological Benefits of Plants

desk at home - working at home

For decades, our work culture in the United States has revolved around “the office.” Though our offices take various forms—such as school buildings, high rises, retail storefronts, factories, etc.—most of them have one thing in common. Most offices are made of brick and mortar. In 2020, many of those workspaces shifted to include homes. According to a 2021 study conducted by Owl Labs, “Around 62% of employees aged 22 to 65 say they work remotely at least occasionally.” For many of us, our homes are where we work, and then we transition to unwinding and engaging with family and friends later in the day.

 

While many people report working from home provides better work-life balance, there are some downsides to this new arrangement. Whereas we used to leave our work “at the office,” we’re now leaving our work at the kitchen table and then, soon after, setting the same table for dinner. The inability to leave the office behind brings some of the stress of work right into our living spaces. 

 

The good news is that the longer our workforce exists in this new arrangement, the more we learn how to make it work for us. To that end, quite a bit has been written about how to improve these psychological shifts. 


The Psychological Benefits of Plants

psychological benefits of plants - woman with plant

 

One area we can improve how we cope with stress is through plants. The main psychological benefits of plants include stress reduction, reduced symptoms of depression, higher productivity, and improved concentration in schools and workplaces. 

 

Whether we are at work or at home, plants actually help us in our day to day lives.


House Plants Promote Stress Relief

One of the most glaring examples of this finding is demonstrated at the Amazon headquarters in Seattle, WA. The company built greenhouses larger than any we’ve seen elsewhere so their employees could have a green space in which to take breaks, hold meetings, and walk their dogs mid-workday. According to CNN Business,  “Amazon invested in a dome filled with 40,000 plants [...] The retail behemoth knows the science and believes that exposure to nature has a measurable impact on employees' mental and physical health, and therefore on their performance.”

 

At PlantingTree, we’ve understood the connection between nature and a heightened sense of well-being since the moment we began our business. It’s one of the reasons our founders loved to make quality growing easy and accessible to everyone. No steep learning curves. No dirt in the car on the way home from the garden center. Instead, plants shipped straight to doorsteps to avoid frustrations.

 

office desk with plants - psychological benefits of plantsPlants promote stress relief, and so does the act of planting. When we’re connecting to cell phones and computers, we often subject ourselves to complex news stories, disruptive discussions, and virtual ideas that keep us in our heads. When we’re connecting to nature—by taking a walk, sitting in our gardens, or simply taking the time to enjoy our house plants—our attention stops swirling about our minds and lands on something real. Our plants are alive, connected to the earth, and they interact with at least four of our senses, which has a grounding effect. 

 

 

Psychology Today reminds us, “Spending time in natural settings helps speed up recovery from mental fatigue, slow down heart rate, reduce high blood pressure, and lower anxiety.” Nature brings us back into the present moment, the here and now, where we don’t feel the pressure of the past or the anxiety of trying to deal with imagined events in the future. 


House Plants and Depression  

If you’re reading this blog, you most likely love to be outdoors! We understand because we do too. Sometimes, however, there isn’t time to take a quick walk or even enjoy a luxurious afternoon reading a good book among your beautiful landscaping. To that end, here are some house plants you can start enjoying right away. 

 

Kimberly Queen Fern

Kimberly Queen Ferns are a natural air purifier. They filter out many toxins in the air while adding healthy oxygen to your home. Kimberly Queen Ferns will thrive just about anywhere in your home as long as you take care to avoid drafts.

 

Clean air and elevated levels of oxygen promote deeper, fuller breathing. As you may already know, deeper breathing leads to feelings of well-being. Also of note is that ferns are great in outdoor containers and are hardy house plants. This means you can relocate them as the seasons change. 

 

peace lily
Another house plant we recommend is the Peace Lily Plant. Besides being low maintenance, these plants symbolize Hope, Peace, Prosperity, Tranquility, and Purification. The Peace Lily is on NASA's list of top 10 air-cleaning plants. This fantastic natural air purifier doesn't just add oxygen to your home; it filters and removes toxins, including benzene, formaldehyde, ethylene, and ammonia.

House Plants and Higher Productivity

According to the online magazine, Inc., “[A] recent British study showed that people saw significant health benefits from just two hours a week outdoors. This evidence points to the fact that even just a few potted plants around your home or desk could have a real effect on your well-being.”

upright elephant ear

 

The psychological benefits of plants extend to our ability to focus. One of our favorite choices for a substantial pop of color and a heightened sense of connectivity to nature is the Upright Elephant Ear

 

While these gorgeous plants are perfect for planting around your pool, or anywhere else you want to add a touch of serenity and drama to your yard, they’re also perfect for pots. They’re low maintenance, hardy, and they gently sway with even the slightest breeze coming from open windows. The size, color, and movement of the Upright Elephant Ear will make you feel like you’re outdoors even when you’re working from home. 

Arabica Coffee Plant

 

We’d be remiss if we didn’t discuss the obvious psychological benefits, including higher productivity, of the Arabica Coffee Plant. The main hallmarks of this plant include oxygen, energy, and beautiful aromas that will fill your home. 

 

The Arabica Coffee Plant is a gorgeous house plant with shiny, deep green leaves. White, jasmine-scented flowers blanket your plant before transforming into coffee cherries, which are the fruit of the coffee plant. Each cherry produces two coffee beans, and your plant can produce hundreds of cherries. The coffee fruit starts out green and transitions to red as they ripen over nine months. Coffee plants are natural air purifiers. So they offer the bonus of cleaning the air in your home.

 

As you begin to plan your indoor garden, we’ll leave you with these words from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life—no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair.” Happy planting!

 

You May Also Like:

Air Purifying Plants

Indoor Plants for Beginners


Sources: 

Inc Magazine, CNN Business, Psychology Today
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