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The Joy of Houseplants


When it comes to small changes that will increase your joy, adding a houseplant or two may be just the trick. I recently looked around at my apartment (that I’ve lived in for fifteen years) and said, “This place needs life.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy about my roommate (or flatmate for you in the UK), but I felt something was missing. So I started a journey this spring and summer, albeit a small one.

I bought a grow-your-own-strawberries kit. That turned into gifts of a hanging strawberry plant, sunflower seed kit, and succulents. Still, that was all on our balcony. Inside, I felt we needed more so we bought houseplants.


Let’s talk about some of the benefits of indoor plants: oxygen, routine, and joy.

Oxygen is Awesome

Plants are amazing. We breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. They breathe (I know it’s metabolize) carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. This is a win-win or symbiotic relationship. Humans need plants. Plants need humans.

There is quite a bit of controversy about whether or not houseplants filter or clean air, but oxygen is good enough for me. If that isn’t, keep reading.

“The numerous benefits of greenery in the built environment include metabolizing human respiratory products (carbon dioxide) and increasing oxygen concentrations.”


Routine is a good thing.

Two weeks ago, my roommate and I went to a home center and bought four houseplants: two for the living area and one for each of our rooms. In the last two weeks I have felt so much calmer.

I even named the plants (Wendy has yet to name hers). The two in the instagram postare Ivy (left) and Gail (right) and the one in my bedroom is Florence. I wake up and I say, “Good morning Florence.” I make my coffee and greet Ivy and Gail. And, of course, strawberries I grew from seed are named Mary and Rhoda, who are next to Phyllis a transplant.

View this post on Instagram

It was time for some live plants.

A post shared by Bridget Willard (@bridgetmwillard) on

As a freelancer working at home, it feels good to have a non-work routine. Every Sunday I take down the hanging houseplants and give them a good watering in the bathtub. Every other day, I’m watering my strawberries, sunflowers and even succulents.

The science says it lowers stress. I believe it.

“Our results suggest that active interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress compared with mental work. This is accomplished through suppression of sympathetic nervous system activity and diastolic blood pressure and promotion of comfortable, soothed, and natural feelings.”


It’s about Joy.

Our brains are wired to like green. Photos with green and blue remind us of nature. We are supposed to be there. This is why walks in the woods, boating on the lake, and tanning at the beach are important parts of our self-care.

Of course, we can’t always be on vacation. So bring a bit of green inside. You’ll have something to take care of, more oxygen in your space, and a good ear for the odd chat. In the end, it’s about joy in the little things.

“And joy, not marginal air pollution, is the real reason to own a plant.”

Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic

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