Houseplants are a simple and fun way to brighten your home during the long dreary days of winter. They help beat the winter blues and provide some health benefits too.
The holidays are over and soon the winter doldrums will set in. Almost everyone has experienced the winter blues, and some struggle with them more than others. Houseplants can help in several ways.
For many, just having something green and growing is enough. Houseplants are a reminder that spring is around the corner and life springs anew. Varieties such as Pothos, Philodendron, and Sansevieria (also known as Mother In Law’s Tongue or Snake Plant) are good choices because they will take the lower light of a winter day in stride while providing interest and color.
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Just be sure to keep variegated types near a southern or western window so they won’t lose that color, and make sure they are protected from direct sunlight as it can burn the leaves.
Don’t stop with a little green either. Flowering houseplants add a touch of spring and can really brighten a room. African Violets, Jasmine, Kalanchoe, and even Geraniums are perfect for adding color and as a bonus they are all easy to care for.
Forcing bulbs is another option for indoor color, with Amaryllis and Paper Whites being the most popular. Keep in mind that flowering plants need more water than their foliage only counterparts.
Growing houseplants can be very therapeutic. Studies have shown that houseplants reduce stress levels, which can lead to greater immunity against colds and flu, and one recent study also showed that hospital patients who had at least one houseplant in their room had lowered pain levels.
Having green and/or flowering houseplants around lifts the spirits. The simple action of caring for plants works to take the focus off of one’s self, which helps break the repetitive thinking associated with depression and anxiety.
Caring for houseplants also provides a sense of nurturing and accomplishment, both of which help one feel better about oneself. Growing houseplants is also a fun and relaxing activity, and is a part of many rehabilitation and mental health programs at hospitals around the country.
In the winter, our homes are usually shut up tight and heated with hot, dry air. This leads to an increase in indoor air pollution, which causes everything from a stuffy nose to breathing difficulties.
Heated homes also tend to have low humidity levels, which lead to itchy, dry skin, sore throats, and even nosebleeds. Houseplants can help. Several varieties have been shown to purify the air around them, removing toxins such as formaldehyde, and they add oxygen as well.
Houseplants also provide humidity, especially when grouped together. Regular misting or humidity trays will help if there are not enough plants to group together or a lack of space.
When adding houseplants to the home, be sure and keep them away from heating sources and fireplaces, and out of reach of pets and children. To learn more check out our library of articles!