Man standing against white wall holding plant in white pot in front of his face, surrounded by more green plants
Image by Sanni Sahil

Benefits of Houseplants

When I feel anxious or stressed, I go to the nearest hiking spot and follow the paths through various trees and foliage. It only takes a minute before my breath deepens and my mind clears.

It’s no secret that nature has positive effects on us. Some doctors are even prescribing houseplants as an anxiety treatment. When you bring a plant into your home, nature becomes part of your everyday life and your mind and body will thank you.

Here are some benefits of houseplants:

  • Plants improve air quality by producing oxygen and reducing toxins. Fresh air improves mood, productivity, focus, and creativity. It can also help you avoid illness.
  • Plants can help block out background noise from busy streets or annoying neighbors.
  • Plants are aesthetically pleasing. They add color and life to a room, making them excellent decor.
  • Taking care of a plant is a great hobby and can help take your mind off the things that are bothering you.
  • Watching a plant grow is a rewarding experience. When you nurture a plant, it will love you back in its own little way.

Ready to add a plant to your home and start feeling calmer?

Here are 6 houseplants that help with anxiety.

*All plants listed except jasmine are toxic to dogs and cats, so please keep this in mind if you have pets!

1: Aloe Vera

Aloe plant (long green leaves with spikes along the edges) in a blue pot on a windowsill.
Image by Tristan Gevaux

Putting an aloe vera plant in a room can help purify the air of irritants like formaldehyde and benzene. Pure, clean air = less stress. 

When you cut open an aloe leaf, you can extract the gel and rub it onto burns and minor wounds. Aloe soothes the skin and promotes healing, making it a popular ingredient in skincare products.

Aloe is famously resilient, which is great news if you’re looking for something low-maintenance or have bad luck with plants. Ancient Egyptians noticed how hard it was to kill an aloe plant and gave it a nickname: the “plant of immortality.”

Self-Care and Anxiety Tips

Apply some aloe on your next self-care night and feel how your skin calms down. Notice your body’s ability and willingness to heal. Know that your mind can do the same.

Plant Care

Light

Try to keep it in bright, indirect light.

Temperature

Keep the plant around 55 - 80°F. Your home is probably already there.

Water

Water it every 3 weeks, and even more infrequently in the winter. Check that the soil is completely dry before watering it. Water deeply and thoroughly.

2: Lavender

Lavender plant (small purple flowers at the end of long green stems) in a clear cup against a white background.
Image by Olga Tutunaru

Lavender is a popular essential oil and is a common ingredient in many bath and spa products. It’s known for its beautiful purple color and calming scent.

Studies have shown that the smell of lavender not only produces calmness in the brain, but it also lowers heart rate and blood pressure. 

Try keeping it in your bathroom. When you take a shower, the steam will reach the plant and unlock its aroma.

Self-Care and Anxiety Tips

Find a comfy position. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and breathe in the scent of lavender. As you exhale, imagine all your worries flowing out of your body and drifting away.

Plant Care

Light

Keep it in the brightest spot of the house, preferably a south-facing window. It needs a lot of light to thrive.

Temperature

In spring to mid-fall, keep the plant at 70°F during the day and 50 - 55°F at night. In late fall through winter, lower these temperatures by 5°.

Water

Water it when the top layer of soil becomes dry, but never let it dry completely.

3: Chamomile

Chamomile flowers (white flowers with large yellow centers) in a clear vase by a window.
Image by Rodion Kutsaev

Chamomile tea is my go-to drink before bed because it immediately relaxes my body and makes me sleepy. 

The sweet scent of chamomile is soothing. When consumed in tea form, the warmth adds to the calming sensation.

One study found that anxiety levels significantly decreased in people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder when they consumed chamomile every day. They had lower blood pressure and reported a better general sense of wellbeing.

Self-Care and Anxiety Tips

Make yourself a cup of chamomile tea before you go to bed - you can even use your own fresh flowers. Hop into some comfy clothes and sit down with a book or whatever makes you happy. Take time to sip your tea slowly and enjoy each moment.

Plant Care

Light

Ideally, place it in full sunlight near a south-facing window. At the least, make sure it gets partial sunlight.

Temperature

The plant should be kept at 65 - 80°F.

Water

Water it about once a week. Keep the soil moist but never wet.

4: Jasmine

Jasmine plant (small white flowers with green leaves) in a tin sitting on wooden planks.
Image by congerdesign

Jasmine is another plant whose flowers emit a calming fragrance. It’s also consumed as tea.

Jasmine helps you get a peaceful night’s sleep, making it perfect for insomnia and nights when anxiety keeps you up. A full 8 hours of quality sleep will leave you feeling refreshed in the morning and do wonders for your anxiety.

Self-Care and Anxiety Tips

Place your jasmine plant beside your bed. Lay down, close your eyes, and inhale the flower’s scent. Relax the muscles in your body and focus on your breathing to clear your mind before falling asleep.

Plant Care

Light

Place the plant in direct sunlight if you can. Partial shade is okay for part of the day.

Temperature

Try to keep the temperature between 60 - 70°F.

Water

Water the plant a couple of times per week during the warmer months, when the top inch of soil feels dry. In the winter, once a week should be enough.

5: Snake Plant

Small snake plant (large green flat leaves with lighter green edges) in a clay pot on a table.
Image by Kara Eads

Don’t let the name of this plant fool you. It won’t give you anxiety like a snake might! Snake plants make wonderful floor plants but also work on a tabletop or windowsill. With so many different varieties to choose from, it's easy to find the perfect snake plant for your room.

Snake plants are exceptional at cleansing the air. NASA found them fit to purify the air in space stations.

They also produce oxygen into the night, which boosts energy in a room. This can really help when your anxiety makes you feel drained.

They can also help relieve headaches, a common symptom of stress and anxiety.

Self-Care and Anxiety Tips

The next time you need an energy boost, sit by your snake plant and do some breathing exercises. Picture the plant providing you with energy. Know that it’s okay to take what you need.

Plant Care

Light

Snake plants will do fine in almost any light, but they do best in indirect light or partial shade.

Temperature

The plant does best between 70 - 90°F.

Water

Let the soil dry completely before watering it. In the winter, this may mean watering it as little as once a month.

6: Peace Lily

Peace lily plant (tall white flowers and green stems and leaves) in a white vase sitting on a wooden table.
Image by Max Williams

The aptly named peace lily offers several benefits. The most obvious is its beauty. It has white petals that stand up straight, a symbol of purity and hope. The flower is said to resemble the flag of surrender.

According to Feng Shui, the peace lily is perfect for the home or office because of its harmonious and peaceful energy. It rids the space of negative feelings and conflict.

As another plant on NASA’s list of top air purifiers, it does an exceptional job of removing toxins from the air. It also absorbs moisture in the air that may cause mold and other irritants. 

Self-Care and Anxiety Tips

Let the peace lily be a reminder of the peace and tranquility inside you. Every time you see it, take a few deep breaths and try to access that place.

Plant Care

Light

Peace lilies are best kept in indirect light or shade. They can even survive in a windowless room if absolutely necessary.

Temperature

The ideal temperature is 65 - 85°F. It thrives in humidity.

Water

Water the plant at least once a week and don’t let the soil dry fully. If the plant starts to droop a little, it’s time to water it.