How Indoor Gardening Can Help Your Health

Written by Margaret Palmer

With spring right around the corner, why not bring the outdoors inside to get a jumpstart on all the benefits that warm-season plants can bring for your health! Despite the cooler temperatures currently, there are many options available for indoor plants that can be perfect for not only bringing peace and rest to you or your loved one’s mind, but also keeping our minds and bodies active. Fortunately for us, gardening does not have to be a strictly seasonal activity! 

 

Health Benefits of Indoor Plants

Whether it be growing your own herbs inside on your sunny windowsill, or caring for a houseplant perched on your dresser, indoor plants bring a wealth of health benefits for you and your home. 

Mood lifting– we all know that flowers are a great pick-me up, brightening any room that may contain them. However, the same is true for the foliage of just about any houseplant! The texture, shean, color, shape and smell of plants all work together to help reduce stress and uplift spirits. 

Air purifiers– a large number of plants in a small space have the ability to absorb many negative volatile organic compounds (known as VOCs), cleaning the air you breathe. However, if you do not have an indoor jungle just yet, the moisture that houseplants release can improve the humidity right around that plant, and consequently help to improve the air you breathe when standing near it. 

Dietary benefits– growing herbs such as mint and basil can be quick and easy, add great flavor to your food, and also help improve digestion, settle the stomach, serve as an antioxidant source and so much more

Mental health– the smell of lavender or rosemary has the ability to calm nerves and settle anxiety. Additionally, numerous studies have shown that indoor houseplants may help reduce stress and promote a more relaxed state. Caring for indoor plants also helps keep the mind sharp. The motions of potting, watering and pruning can keep the brain stimulated, improve attention, while also serving as a source of stress relief. Many therapists use gardening, indoor or out, to fight depression, dementia and some psychiatric disorders. 

Healing- It has been shown that patients recovering from surgery who had a window in their room had a faster healing time compared to those with no window.

 

Beginner Growing Options

You may be an experienced outdoor gardener, or plant care may be completely new to you.  Either way, there are some great places to begin your indoor plant care journey to reap all the benefits listed above. 

Some lower maintenance houseplants that can still keep your mind, body and mood energized while being more flexible in their care requirements include pothos, philodendron varieties and snake plants. If you or your loved one craves a bloom, orchids and anthuriums provide long-lasting flowers and the potential to re-bloom as long as they are provided a brighter light region of your home. Additionally, amaryllis bulbs are easy to grow as long as you have a sunny windowsill, and then once they are in bloom, can be moved to anywhere in the home to enjoy. Most of these plants can be found at larger hardware stores, grocery chains, and local nurseries in your area. 

Another great option, especially if you or your loved one may be craving a lovely scent and dual-purpose, would be an indoor herb garden. These can be grown on a balcony when warmer, or on a sunny windowsill when temperatures are cooler. Seeds and starts are often readily available from the same larger hardware store and grocery chains where houseplants can be found, and their growth can be quite quick, and therefore very rewarding! There are even grow kits that come complete with a station, light and seeds, if you do not have an ideal spot in your home but crave a taste of the garden during the winter months.  

As you can tell, there are quite a few options to begin turning your thumb green (if not already) while we still wait on the warmer months ahead! Even if you think you kill anything and everything that stumbles upon your door, we promise there is a plant out there that can change your mind! Take the plunge, and get those hands dirty. It does the body (and soul) good!