A study has shown that healthy, happy plants can make us happier and more relaxed. However, we are less likely to be happier if the plants are dead or dying.
Joint research from the University of Reading and RHS has shown that sickly plants should not be allowed to grow in homes or offices. This will prevent them from causing depression.
The study was published in the journal Building and Environment. It examined which plant types are most likely to improve people's well-being.
Participants were asked to rate the beauty and appeal of common house plants such as a cactus or weeping fig, bird’s-nest, and snake plants. They also had to estimate how they would improve indoor air quality.
The study included a neglected palm that was used because it was the least appealing and least preferred by participants. Participants also found the appearance depressing and unhealthy.
On average, the neglected palm was 1.5 times more depressing than the healthy plants in the study.
Studies have shown that individual plants are not effective in removing carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. However, many plants within a home can help.
The study revealed that people believed that healthier plants would improve the air quality, while more beautiful and interesting plants could increase their well-being. However, unhealthy plants can cause them to feel stressed and have poor air quality.
The most sought-after varieties were weeping fig trees, palms, and Devil's ivy. A cactus, which is divisive and has more snake plants, and the striped Calathea, were less popular.
The study revealed that Calathea and Sansevieria (snake plants) had leaf markings that some participants found to be stressful because they were associated with dangerous insects and snakes.
The study concluded that indoor plants should be attractive and interesting to maximize the well-being of building occupants.
“People don’t like unhealthy plants and some people find it worse. We need to give them the knowledge to grow them or expand the range of plants that are easy to grow.
Participants shared their concerns about taking care of plants and the possibility of them being killed accidentally. This adds to the stress that comes with owning them.
Dr Blanusa said: “Choosing plants that are simple to care for and maintain with the proper support – such the use of selfwatering containers for thirsty plants like peace lilies, Spathiphyllum Wallisii), or choosing plants that require less water such as Zamioculcas – will ensure they remain healthy and continue to provide these health benefits to our well-being.”
Janice is a full-time mom who likes to write on a range of topics in her spare time. She specializes in the Home, Garden, and Recycling topics. Janice is our Lifestyle and positive vibe expert. She keeps the office running.