Fickle as they can be, houseplants have a lot to offer. They bring a touch of nature into homes, brighten up spaces, and can even make for chic home decor. But even as artificial plants grow in popularity, science suggests that sticking to the real thing has serious benefits, especially when it comes to mental health.
The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health’s recent review of 42 studies found that even being in the presence of indoor plants can demonstrably improve mental and physical well-being.
These studies included experiments comparing participants performing activities in rooms with or without plants. Participants in rooms with plants outperformed their plant-less peers across the board, exhibiting lower levels of physiological stress, faring better on cognitive tasks involving focus, sorting, or memory recall, and sustaining greater pain tolerance when holding their hands in ice cold water.
The aesthetic appearance of plants plays an important role, too, with further research suggesting that people respond most positively to lush, green plants with rounded and dense foliage. Luckily, plenty of familiar houseplants fit the bill: Parlor palms, asparagus ferns, baby’s tears, and waffle plants all add fresh, easy-to-maintain pops of greenery to your indoor jungle.
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