Psychological Benefits of Having Plants in Your House and Workspace

Plants aren’t just nice to look at. Study after study has shown that greening up your home and workplace can improve your emotional and psychological well-being.

Plants in your environment can increase feelings of comfort and lessen feelings of stress, according to a 2020 article by Healthline, and their presence may be linked to increased productivity. Additionally, a 2021 study published by Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, which polled 4,205 participants about the impact of indoor and outdoor plants on their psychological state, found that having vegetation at home during the COVID-19 lockdown “was correlated with more positive emotions,” whereas respondents living in smaller, plant-deprived homes with minimal natural light experienced negative emotions more frequently.

If you’ve been thinking of bringing more greenery into your home or workspace but haven’t taken the plunge, below are just a few of the benefits you may be missing out on.

6 Stress-Relief Benefits from Plants

Psychology Today reports that having access to indoor and outdoor green spaces has a profound impact on individuals’ mental health. Not only does access to plants improve your mood, but it can also lessen the effects of stress, improve cognition, and improve your overall sense of well-being. Other benefits of having and caring for plants include the following:

1. Plants Can Help Reduce Feelings of Anxiety

A smiling person waters their office plants.

A small-sample study conducted by Japanese researchers found that individuals working in the presence of plants experienced reductions in their stress and anxiety levels. According to the researchers, adding small plants in offices and workspaces was shown to promote workers’ mental health.

2. Houseplants Can Improve Air Quality

High school science teachers often cover photosynthesis, the process by which plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release it in the form of oxygen. In addition to producing oxygen, AirQ reports that plants have also been shown to filter airborne pollutants by absorbing them into their leaves. Once pollutants are absorbed and neutralized, they’re released back into the air as harmless byproducts.

3. Caring for Plants Promotes Self-Care

There are numerous medicinal benefits associated with working with plants. Having something to care for, including plants and/or flowers, has been shown to promote feelings of positivity. Country Living reports that doctors in the U.K. are prescribing plant care as a means of improving patients’ health and well-being.

4. Indoor Plants Improve Memory and Retention

A 2019 study conducted by the Department of Animal and Plant Assisted Therapy at the Graduate School of Agriculture and Animal Science at Konkuk University found brain scans of participants who studied in the presence of live plants, as opposed those who studied in the presence of artificial plants or photographs of plants, showed higher levels of attention and concentration.

5. Having Plants Has Been Shown to Boost Self-Esteem

Several research studies have shown individuals who interact with nature, both indoors and outdoors, have experienced reduced feelings of anger and depression, according to Psychology Today. Another study, published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture, found that people with plants also experienced increased creativity and improved self-esteem.

6. Having Plants Can Improve Feelings of Happiness and Positivity

Plants have numerous subliminal effects that improve happiness and lift the spirit. Individuals with plants at home, in their offices, and/or in their study spaces often report being happier, more positive, and more relaxed. A study conducted by researcher James Wong found being in the presence of plants boosts peoples’ moods because houseplants’ vibrant colors can reduce stress and improve individuals’ sense of self-worth, according to Mirror UK.

Best Plants for Offices and Workspaces

Adding plants to your home, office, and workspace is easy, as long as you understand the types of plants that are the best fit for your environment. Below are just a few types of plants that are ideal for small spaces and rooms that don’t get a lot of natural light — and won’t grow too big for your desktop.

  • Succulents: Succulents don’t take up much space and are easy to grow. These stress-relief plants are low-maintenance and come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.
  • Devil’s Ivy: Devil’s ivy is an ideal choice for office environments. This evergreen plant thrives in bright environments that lack direct sunlight, and since it’s nearly impossible to kill, it’s a great option for aspiring plant owners who are just starting out.
  • Zamioculcas: Zamioculcas, or ZZ plants, are also quite easy to care for. Not only do they thrive in rooms that don’t get a lot of light, but they can survive weeks without water.
  • Nerve Plants: Nerve plants thrive in warm, humid environments. They do well with bright light and indirect light, but they can also grow in shaded spaces. These plants also grow well in dish gardens, hanging baskets, and terrariums.

Imitating Nature: The Benefits of Artificial Plants

If you’d like to add plants to your workspace but have the opposite of a green thumb (or your office doesn’t allow them), even artificial plants and photos of plants can improve mood and mental health. Verywell Mind and EHomeMart report that adding fake plants to your environment has been associated with the following benefits:

  • Lessened feelings of stress
  • Lower levels of anxiety
  • Improved mood
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Enhanced productivity

Relieve Stress by Adding Plants to Your House or Workspace

The benefits of owning plants are multifold. Not only has it been shown to boost productivity, increase creativity, and help people feel more relaxed, but plants of all types and sizes help beautify spaces. If you’re preparing your home (or home office) to double as a study space as part of a plan to further your education, discover how Maryville University’s diverse selection of online degree programs can help you create a path toward your future.

Recommended Reading

At-Home Workout Ideas for Students

How to Make Stress Work for You

College Student Wellness Guide for Remote Learners


Affinity Health, “How Indoor Plants Can Help with Mental and Emotional Health”

AirQ, “Do Plants Help to Improve Air Quality?”

American Society for Horticultural Science, “Potential of a Small Indoor Plant on the Desk for Reducing Office Workers’ Stress”

Country Living, “Doctors Are Prescribing These Plants to Help with Anxiety, Depression, and Loneliness”

EHomeMart, “Do Fake Plants Improve Mental Health?”

Forbes, “Greenery in Your Home Reduces Stress, Improves Health”

Gardening Know How, “Fittonia Nerve Plant: Growing Nerve Plants in the Home”

Get Growing Foundation, “Mental and Emotional Health Benefits of Indoor Plants”

Healthline, “7 Benefits of Indoor Plants”

Hillside Atlanta, “How Plants Improve Your Mental and Physical Health”

Inc., “Doctors Are Now Prescribing Houseplants for Anxiety and Depression”

Journal of Environmental Horticulture, “An Update of the Literature Supporting the Well-Being Benefits of Plants: A Review of the Emotional and Mental Health Benefits of Plants”

The Little Botanical, “A Guide to the Best Plants for Your Office”

MDPI, “Real Foliage Plants as Visual Stimuli to Improve Concentration and Attention in Elementary Students”

Mirror UK, “Adults Feel Happier and More Productive When Surrounded by Houseplants, Research Finds”

Psychology Today, “11 Ways Plants Enhance Your Mental and Emotional Health”

The Sill, “The Benefits of Having Plants in Your Home or Office”

Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, “Particularities of Having Plants at Home During the Confinement Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic”

VerywellMind, “What Houseplants Can Do for Your Mental Health During Lockdown”

Be Brave

Bring us your ambition and we’ll guide you along a personalized path to a quality education that’s designed to change your life.