Psych Central

Midweek Mental Greening

I read an interesting article over at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer a few weeks ago about the mental health benefits of all things green (we’re talking actual living plants this time, folks – not recycling and cutting down on carbon footprints).

In the article, Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz (or, the You Docs – the guys behind, outline some of the benefits of being surrounded by leafy green plant life and why city dwellers (or anyone who lives in a not-so-green area, really) should consider welcoming a new green addition or two to the family.

Such benefits included lowered blood pressure, reduced stress, lung protection, and fewer sick days.

I’ve never been big on houseplants. Don’t get me wrong – I love them and would have them in every room if I could keep them alive. But, apparently my family’s green thumb skips a generation every so often. The only one I’ve ever had success with has been a six-foot tall fake “tree” that my mother pawned off on me when I left the nest a few years ago – one that I’ve dragged with me to every apartment and house since.

Apparently, just the look of a plant is beneficial, too – I love that thing.

Anyway, frustrated with my…what do you call the opposite of green thumb? and feeling adventurous (I’m starting my first veggie garden this year – why not try to keep a houseplant alive, too?), I did some houseplant research that should benefit a variety of folks.

The mental health benefits of a houseplant shouldn’t be thwarted by the frustration and stress of trying to choose one and keep it alive, after all.

The Best Houseplants for Beginners: This article lists numerous houseplants that are great for those just beginning to cultivate their green thumbs, as well as general plant care requirements and the features that make them excellent choices.

24 of the Easiest Houseplants You Can Grow: Better Homes and Gardens is always a good resource for these kinds of things, and this article about 24 different houseplants, their growing conditions, and their best features lives up to that standard.

Homegrown Healing: Take a look at this Prevention article to find out which houseplants are best for which rooms. (Lavender in the bedroom? No surprise there.)

Top 6 Blooming Houseplants: As its title suggests, this piece showcases the best plants to choose if you want a houseplant with a pretty, fragrant bloom. Aside from acting as a one-stop shop for everything with a root, is super cool because it allows you to search its plant encyclopedia for just the right plant based on type, best environment, light and humidity requirements, and skill level (yours). Already decided which plants you want? The houseplants section over at offers an extensive list of plants great for indoors, as well as information about how to care for them.

So, what about you? Have any stories about how your own green thumb has benefited your mental health? Share with us!



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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Mar 2009
    Published on All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2009). Spruce Up Your Mental Health: Bring the Green Indoors. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 17, 2014, from


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