10 Houseplants to Boost Well-Being

Houseplants on a windowsill that are good for wellbeing

Treehugger/ Lesly Junieth

A lot can casually be said about a plant’s ability to brighten up a room and bring good health, but some houseplants have the research to back up the claims. Whether you seek an improved mood with the aid of lavender or better air quality with the aid of a spider plant, these houseplants can help you on your way to feeling healthy and refreshed.

Here are 10 houseplants to boost your well-being.

Warning

Some of the plants on this list are toxic to pets. For more information about the safety of specific plants, consult the ASPCA's searchable database.

1
of 10

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender sitting in a rose cup on a table by a window

Joanna Alderson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and are looking for a natural remedy, consider the use of this fragrant herb. Research suggests that lavender essential oil may help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. A native of the Mediterranean, lavender not only has healing properties, but it smells good, too, and is often used in sachets and potpourris.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: Dry to medium.
  • Soil: Average, dry to medium, well-drained, and alkaline. 
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
2
of 10

Bromeliad (Neoregelia carolinae f. tricolor)

Blooming bromeliad next to a bright window

Daniela Duncan / Getty Images

A native to Brazilian rainforests, the bromeliad plant has a proven ability to purify the air. In a study working from NASA findings, Vadoud Niri, Ph.D. from the State University of Oswego at New York found that of all the plants tested, bromeliads were the most powerful at “removing six of the eight studied VOCs,” or volatile organic compounds, from the air.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Part shade to full shade.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Sharply-drained potting mix.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
3
of 10

Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

Jade plant, lucky plant, money plant or money tree, (Crassula ovata)
mikroman6 / Getty Images

Dry skin and itchy eyes caused by low humidity can be uncomfortable, but houseplants like the jade plant can help reduce the loss of moisture in the air. A study at Kansas State University showed that the presence of jade plants can actually slow down evaporation rates, acting as a natural humidifier. If you choose to keep a jade plant in your home, place it in a bright spot near a window.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Part shade.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Well-drained, loamy potting mix.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
4
of 10

Orchid (Dactylorhiza hatagirea)

A bright pink orchid planted in a clay pot on a table

Leslie Banks / Getty Images

Not only are orchids pretty to look at, but they can be a useful medicine for achieving quality sleep. According to a study called A Critically Endangered Perennial Orchid from the North-West Himalayas, the orchid Dactylorhiza hatagirea has a “broad range of phytochemicals which exert a wide range of beneficial effects,” including treatment of insomnia.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Part shade.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Fertile, consistently moist but well-drained.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
5
of 10

Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

Dozens of small chamomile flowers with a puffy, yellow center and small white petals face towards the sun

Leora Knight / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’re having difficulty with sleep, consider drinking a relaxing tea made with the flower heads of this beneficial houseplant. In a review published in Molecular Medicine Reports, chamomile was described as a “mild sedative” that could help ease anxiety and insomnia. Place your chamomile plant near a sunny window.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun to part shade.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Average, medium, and well-drained.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
6
of 10

English Ivy (Hedera helix)

English ivy plant on windowsill next to a bowl of fruit and lantern

Aliyev Alexei Sergeevich / Getty Images

The woody vine English ivy is well known for its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory. In a study published in Phytomedicine, scientists were able to prove that English ivy blocked “inflammation mediators” in rats. For relief from inflammatory conditions like arthritis, consider drinking a tea containing extracts of English ivy.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Part shade to full shade.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Rich, moist, and well-drained.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
7
of 10

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

A lush, green spider plant in a hanging pot

 FeelPic / Getty

Although its name might not bring positive thoughts to mind, the spider plant can, in fact, improve your well-being. In a NASA study on air quality, scientists concluded that toxicants “can be removed from indoor environments by plant leaves alone.” Spider plants performed especially well in this task.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Well-drained.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
8
of 10

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum)

A potted Chinese Evergreen plant with foot-long pale green leaves with dark green markings

Forest and Kim Starr / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

An evergreen perennial, the commonly called Chinese evergreen boasts an impressive ability to purify the air of intoxicants. The plant was shown to remove both benzene and formaldehyde from an indoor environment. While the Chinese evergreen can withstand some periods of slight dryness, do not allow it to completely dry out.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Part shade to full shade.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Well-drained and peaty.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
9
of 10

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

Boston fern in hanging planter

aon168 | Getty Images

A terrific plant for pedestals or hanging baskets, the Boston fern can both brighten up a room and pury the air you breathe. In a study by NASA researchers, it was discovered that the Boston fern was effective in removing formaldehyde from the air. If you choose to keep one in your home, place it in a location with relatively high humidity.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Part shade.
  • Water: Medium.
  • Soil: Peaty, soil-based potting mixture.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
10
of 10

Aloe (Aloe vera)

Aloe vera plant on a beautiful wood table
Carlina Teteris / Getty Images

This commonly used perennial wonder plant contains medicinal properties that soothe cuts, scrapes, and sunburns. The sticky sap located inside aloe’s succulent leaves is applied directly to the wound and should provide immediate relief. Aloe has been found to contain “antioxidant capacities” as well. Grow your aloe plant in a dry, sunny spot, like a south-facing window.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: Dry.
  • Soil: Sandy and well-drained.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.