7 Houseplants to Beat the Winter Blues

©. (Photo: New Africa) Monstera deliciosa and faux fur throws help brighten up the winter months.

Because of their many benefits for mind and body, houseplants are a great way to get through the short days of winter.

I'm a winter woman – I love the frigid air, the snow, the coziness of it all. But the sunsetting-at-4:28-pm business is a bit disconcerting, and for a lot of people, the diminished sunlight is truly problematic. I used to quip that the best way to get through winter is with sunlamps and vodka ... to that I should add a more efficacious solution: Houseplants!

The benefits of houseplants are really pretty amazing. From filtering the air and increasing oxygen levels to boosting healing and increasing focus, these humble organisms are some very hardworking allies. (See more on their benefits in the related stories below.) Meanwhile, just their presence in the house can turn up the happiness level. One study from the University of British Columbia concluded that by pondering the nature around you, general happiness and well-being will increase – even if that "nature" is living in a pot on your windowsill.

With all of this in mind, I think it's officially time to add some houseplants to the prescription list for winter blues. Here are some great ones to start with.

1. Spider plant

spider plant

© Isabel Sala Casteras Plants help us heal, as woowoo as that sounds, I know. But really, they actually have been proven to help surgery patients recover. One study recommends them as a “noninvasive, inexpensive, and effective complementary medicine for surgical patients.” The researchers found that patients with houseplants had lower systolic blood pressure, and lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue as compared to patients without plants in their rooms.

Meanwhile, in their famous study of houseplants, NASA concluded: “Both plant leaves and roots are utilized in removing trace levels of toxic vapors from inside tightly sealed buildings. Low levels of chemicals such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde can be removed from indoor environments by plant leaves alone.” Among the plants the agency studied, spider plants performed especially well. It is also an awesomely generous plant in that it sends out its little plantlets, which can be snipped off and started as new plants.

2. Monstera deliciosa

monstera deliciosa

© Piamphon Chanpiam Also known as the Swiss cheese plant, Mexican breadfruit, or hurricane plant, Monstera deliciosa really is a delicious monster. Known for its large, split and glossy green leaves, this big beauty hails from the tropics and loves to take over your house. Well not really, but it really does get big – what better way to beat the blues than by pretending you're in a jungle?

3. Tilandsia: Air plants

©. Konstantins Pobilojs

© Konstantins Pobilojs For the person who is too busy to tend to green things, plants from the Tillandsia genus are fascinating wee creatures that don't need soil and don't make a lot of demands. And they are so cute and enchanting, I always think of them as little pets. I know that whenever I muse on mine, my spirits are always lifted.

4. Pilea: Chinese money plant

Originally from the southwestern Yunnan province of China, Pilea peperomioides, is also known as the Chinese money plant because of its promise of wealth and abundance. And sure, money is good, but this quirky beauty also promises happiness because just look at it! Those lilly-pad-meets-UFO leaves can't help but inspire a smile. The one shown above seems to be pretty massive: I've seen them a lot smaller, but what a goal to strive for. Pilea is super simple to grow from cuttings, meaning a whole flock of them is easily within reach.

5. Aloe vera

aloe plant

© Photography by Adri Just having houseplants in the home can go far in helping to keep dry skin moisturized – who knew? (See more here: 5 houseplants that help alleviate dry skin.) But sap from the ever-healing aloe vera plant can actually be used topically as a really great, all natural lotion of sorts – or as Katherine calls it, "your new favorite moisturizer." There is something delightful about a summery-looking succulent providing moisture to a winter-parched human.

6. Jade plant

CC BY 2.0. Cheryl

Cheryl/CC BY 2.0 Jade plants are gorgeous. But they don't just sit idly by – they are usually included in the group of plants that work extra hard in removing indoor air pollution. And that's not all. In the practice of feng shui, jade plant is a good luck charm, symbolic of growth and renewal, and especially for bringing financial wealth.

7. Fern


Petr Kratochvil/Public Domain We picked ferns as a great option in our selection of shower plants that want to live in your bathroom, but they would be happy in other rooms as well. They are especially well-suited for winter moods because they are just so lush and gorgeous – and they bring the woods inside when it's too cold to go out.