By Kelly Grigg

I ventured off travelling a few years ago and let an acquaintance stay in my apartment. When I returned, her gift to me (other than maintaining my apartment splendidly) was 10 beautiful potted plants. I was overjoyed by this very generous gift—at first. But that joy quickly turned into panic. I’d seldom been successful at keeping plants alive! Would I be the same plant murderer I’d always been and waste this beautiful inheritance? Or would I have better luck this time around? 

Fortunately, my luck took a turn (give or take a few casualties), and boy, am I glad of it. I’m especially grateful now that I know more about the benefits of decorating with plants. 

Warning from the author: While there are countless benefits to decorating with plants, I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest you choose them wisely. Select them based on how much time and effort you want to put into caring for them, and the amount of light that your space received.

If you’re just starting out as a plant parent, research and talk to the shopkeeper from whom you’re buying them. Make sure they’ll fit into your home (re: lighting options, etc.) and your lifestyle. I can’t travel without hiring someone to water my plants a few times a week!

Warning over—onward, green-fingered gods and goddesses! 

Giving Us Oxygen And Purifying The Air

Probably the most widely known advantage of houseplants is that they’re excellent houseguests. They don’t just take, take, take (carbon dioxide); they also give, give, give (oxygen)! 

Most plants handle this task during the day, but some, such as Aloe Vera and the Sansevieria (or Snake plant), do so at night. This makes them the perfect bedroom companion (well, aside from the ideal bedmate, but I digress). 

As if providing us oxygen to breathe wasn’t enough, plants also clean it for us! If you want to get sciencey about it, look up the phytoremediation process. This is where plants extract pollutants in the air, like metal remnants, which we definitely do NOT want to inhale. Plants are simply fantastic at reducing chemicals and toxins in the air.

They Look Good

Can you name any other decor in your home that benefits your health and looks gorgeous simultaneously? (Well, maybe a super sleek massage chair, but that’s pricey!) Plants are a relatively inexpensive way to create a glorious aesthetic. 

Hanging plants (in fabulous macramè baskets, for example) and large potted plants can supremely freshen up your decor. 

Reduce Stress, Provide Tranquillity And Improve Well-Being

When asked to imagine a tranquil environment, many of us envision nature. A calming beach, forest or waterfall, perhaps. But we can’t always head outdoors when we need some chill time. Bringing plants into our home creates a soothing atmosphere and reduces feelings of being trapped.

In addition, caring for plants can give us a sense of purpose and fulfil any natural urges to care for something. I’m here to tell you that this was a lovely surprise for me. I now have over 40 (!) house and balcony plants that I tend to, and I find serenity when I water and weed them. A welcome surprise for this child-free woman!

Reduce Noise

Yep, you heard (or didn’t hear) me! I live on a noisy street, so my balcony is lined with plants. Broad leaves, branches, and stems (especially ones with super thick and coarse bark) are excellent noise absorbers. 

The bigger the plant, the more noise gets absorbed. Plus, they take up more space and can fill an empty corner gorgeously!

Provide Free Food

There are tonnes of plants you can grow in your kitchen for consumption! Scallions and strawberries look great and taste even better. Herbs are pretty easy to grow, and adding a pinch of them, like cilantro or rosemary, can significantly spruce up a meal. 

Are you into the baby kale craze? Try growing it or other micro-greens like spinach and arugula indoors to add to your salads. 

Keep Insects Away

Okay, I have to admit that this was news to me! I figured plants would attract critters if anything (and note they sometimes do). But do not fear! There are oodles of plants that look and smell terrific, such as lavender which repels moths, fleas, flies and mosquitos (the last of which also fear basil)! Peppermint isn’t just good for tea, either. It actually sends spiders and ants crawling away. Some plants even feast on flies!

Being a bit of an entomophobe, this reason alone has sold me on adding to my houseplant decor. Bye-bye, buggies!

There is simply no way to address all of the benefits of plant decor in one short article. But believe me, they’re worth additional time and research. So here’s wishing you clean air, serene surroundings and a glorious green thumb!