Being surrounded by plants can help us feel more calm and relaxed, thus decreasing our levels of anxiety. Nurturing and caring for our plants can reduce our stress levels and boost our mood. Gardening and caring for plants can help people turn away from their negative thoughts or emotions. Studies show that all plants provide these mental health benefits.
Our lives can be quite busy and sometimes we are too sedentary, with a lot of time spent behind screens. Taking care of plants or gardening can be a chance to practice true presence in the here-and-now, we can focus on something pleasant and worthwhile. Plant care helps us focus on the present moment and can provide a feeling of accomplishment. This process is called grounding. When we are grounded, our heart rate slows down, our breathing becomes more full and our muscles relax as they become more oxygenated.
But be careful, starting out with a ton of plants could become overwhelming. Just one plant can make a difference.
Start small and add to your plant collection as you become comfortable and confident with your new friends. It’s important to remember that like with any new skill or hobby, taking care of houseplants or growing a garden comes with a learning curve. Give yourself a little grace. It will take time, energy, and investment to learn what your new plants need, such as sunlight, soil preferences, moisture levels, and proper potting methods. That’s why we suggest the following plants to begin your new plant obsession
Starting off with an easy, no frills plant is best. Sword-shaped with dark green leaves and often mustard-yellow or white stripes make the snake plant stand out. It’s very easy to care for, thrives in spaces with low sunlight, has visual appeal, and it filters the air. This plant is very forgiving if you forget to water and if you don’t have a lot of sunlight making it the perfect first plant.
When you see this plant, find a quiet spot in your home to sit down next to it, close your eyes, breathe in the cool, clean air it provides, and find your peace.
Pothos have pretty oval heart-shaped, waxy leaves and are very adaptable plants. They grow long vines that can trail from the pot downwards or they can climb and be supported with a trellis to grow upwards. These plants are also easy to care for, filter the air, and look beautiful cascading down a bookcase or shelf in your home.
Pothos are easy to propagate as well which means you can take clippings of the plant and grow a new plant. This can be a very good activity that can help with anxiety levels and depression. Try it!
Lavender is a beautiful herb that attracts plenty of pollinators, such as bees and butterflies when planted outside but you can grow them inside during the winter months. Lavender is known for its relaxing scent - it has a calming effect, aids in reducing stress and promotes sleep. Clippings can be dried. Place them in a pretty bowl on a table or in a little sachet in a drawer or in your closet. You can even sprinkle them in your bath. In the spring, move your lavender plant outside to your patio to enjoy the sunshine which will help you get your daily dose of vitamin D as well.
Fresh herbs such as basil, thyme, parsley, chives, mint or any other herbs that you might use in cooking can be wonderful to grow on a bright kitchen window sill. The experience of growing, picking, and using herbs that you have grown yourself has a positive impact on your mental health, creating positive sensory experiences as well as a sense of accomplishment. They can also just look very pretty in your home. It is great to just smell the leaves, without even needing to make a tea or drink (think fresh mojitos
) or use them in your next meal.
Aloe vera is one of our favourite house plants because it has so many benefits and it’s so easy to care for. You can cut off the leaves to herbally treat skin wounds (burns, cuts, scars, and inflammation) Aloe vera is a powerful plant that can purify the air around you. It’s not the same as an air filter, but it can help with detoxing your air of harmful chemicals.
As with any plants, you may have to trim away any dead pieces that are no longer contributing to its growth. Doing this can remind us of our own growth. As we as approach different life stages, we sometimes have to let go of who or what may be stopping us from thriving.
Peace Lily is another natural air purifier to add to our list. This gorgeous plant improves the flow of energy in our homes as it neutralizes harmful indoor chemicals. It’s also believed to help people flourish mentally, physically, and spiritually. Peace lilies symbolize peace, tranquility, prosperity, purification, and solitude. Because peace lilies have such powerful symbolism, speak positive affirmations to these plants. If talking to your plant is a little out-of-the-box for you, then let its presence be a reminder to you to think life-affirming thoughts. Peace lilies help balance all of the energies in your space.