Popular house plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes

Green.  Have you ever met someone that doesn’t like the color green?  It might not be their first choice in wall paint, but years of research have primarily confirmed our brain’s naturally positive reaction to just about every shade of green.  Be it the calm of a dark forest or emerald green, or the stimulation that comes with a bright lime green or chartreuse; the color carries very few negative connotations. Hold the paintbrush though.  An even better way to surround yourself with green without painting the walls is keeping a few house plants.

Now go forth, give your brain a boost, and create a living room or office jungle!

Your Brain on Plants

Being around plants, even fake ones improves cognitive function.

Many studies have been done on the way nature affects the brain and not a single one had anything bad to say.  Most people are aware that nature makes us happy and much of that has to do with being surrounded by so much green.  Bringing nature into your home or office is a great way to enjoy those benefits without having to go outside.

Bringing nature in your home or office is a great way to enjoy those benefits without having to go outside. Studies have shown that your brain on plants is calmer, sharper, and happier.  Foliage reduces stress and helps you recover from mental fatigue. After taking a walk in nature versus an urban environment, subjects proved to be able to stay focused for longer. The walks also sharpened their memory and boosted their creativity and overall mood. Having plants inside, or even having a nature view will give your brain the same results.  ​

No green thumb?  Fear not! Turns out placebos work almost as well in this regard.  A highly realistic artificial plant in your line of vision will actually do the trick.  Just don’t forget to pretend to water it.
“My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them” – Mitch Hedburg

​Your Body on Plants

Those positive effects on your brain will trickle down to your body.   In hospitals that had real or artificial plants in the rooms of patients saw that those patients had lower blood pressure, asked for less pain medication, and were often released sooner. 

Unfortunately, to feel the full benefits of your body on plants the fake ones won’t do the trick since plastic doesn’t photosynthesize. Through photosynthesis on the scale of a house plant only produces trace amounts of oxygen, that isn’t the only thing plants do for the air we breathe in our homes or offices. Although studies have shown that some plants can remove volatile organic compounds from the air, the jury is still out on how much of an impact they actually make on indoor air pollution. We do know, however, that plants increase humidity in the home. When you water your plants, they return the favor.  Plants release up to 97% of the moisture they take in. A study by Washing State University saw a reduction in dust by about 20%, which is especially great if you don’t like dusting. Increased humidity is also good for your skin and your lungs. It reduces the likelihood of catching a common cold and other respiratory diseases. It is recommended to have one medium to large plant for every 100 square feet to feel the effects.

​Plant Killer, Qu’est-ce Que C’est?

It is possible to keep house plants even if you are forgetful and don’t have much time, you just have to choose the right ones. To get the most out of the mental and physical benefits, plants with large green leaves are recommended.  Here are a few to get you started.

Snake plants, or mother-in-law’s tongue, come in a variety of sizes and shapes

Snake Plant – Set it and forget it.  This devoted house plant can handle dry air, just about any level of sunlight, and the best part is that you only need to water it every 2-6 weeks. Add watering it to another monthly routine, like paying a bill.  Want more snake plants? Propagate your snake plant with a leaf cutting. Keep this one out of reach of your pet. Though not likely to kill her, it’ll give her an upset belly.

Spider plant “babies” easily propagate

Spider Plant – Also good in almost any light condition and only need weekly watering. This guy will sunburn easily, so if they get direct sunlight it’s recommended to mist the leaves with water.  The best part about spider plants is they are easy to propagate. Pinch off their little babies when they start to grow roots and put them in water until they establish and then pot. You buy one plant and the next thing you know you’ll have ten! Felix and Fido-friendly as per the ASPCA; mildly hallucinogenic so it might make your cat trip though.

Calathea comes in a variety of shapes and colors

Calathea Plant – Don’t put this guy in the window! This plant is a good way to brighten up a darker room.  They like to be watered about once a week, so keep it on the same schedule as your spider plant. Calathea also doesn’t harbor any grudges against your pets and won’t harm them if consumed.