From improving the air quality in your home to easing anxiety and depression, there’s little indoor plants can’t do. Here’s how to pick the perfect houseplant for you, based on your personality.
There’s no denying it – when it comes to mental health, our society has a serious problem. Around three million Australians are currently living with some kind of anxiety or depression, and considering everything from social media to contraception has been linked to poor mental health, it’s not really that surprising. And while some people manage their symptoms with clever accessories like meditation headbands and weighted blankets) or alternative therapies like reiki, studies show indoor plants could be just the thing you need to put your mind at ease.
According to UK researchers, people who are exposed to green spaces – like a park or a few cleverly placed indoor plants – are happier, have better self-esteem and experience greater life satisfaction. And while adding some houseplants to your abode could be an easy way to help improve your mood, not everyone was born with a green thumb – but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the benefits. Simply pick your houseplant based on your personality and you’ll have a thriving indoor jungle (and healthier frame of mind) in no time.
For the traveller… Mother-in-law’s tongue
Not only will a mother-in-law’s tongue seriously up your Insta game, this hardy plant will do just fine when you’re out of town. Also known as a snake plant (or the more scientific sansevieria), mother-in-law’s tongue thrives when it’s not over-watered and can handle low light, which means it’s perfect for the jet-setter. Just remember to draw the curtain and give it a quick drink before you head out the door.
For the trailblazer… Olive tree
Already have a fiddle-leaf fig? Bagged a monstera ages ago? Get yourself an olive tree. Traditionally grown outside, this Mediterranean beauty is a world away from the jungle vibes currently dominating Instagram, which makes it the ideal plant for the trend-setter. Its delicate leaves and spindly branches will give your living room or bedroom a rustic feel, and it’ll thrive when placed next to a sunny window.
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For the high-achiever… Aloe vera
This resilient succulent isn’t just good at cooling sunburn, it’s also a champ at soothing cuts and can give your expensive air purifier a run for its money. According to a study by NASA, aloe vera can help reduce the amount of formaldehyde in the air, and it’s also said to smooth away wrinkles when applied to your skin. To make the most of aloe’s health benefits, keep it in a bright spot indoors and only water when the soil is dry.
For the type A… Calathea
If you’re the ‘fussy’ one in your friendship circle, then consider the calathea your spirit plant. As well as scoring 10/10 for appearances, calatheas have a reputation for being a little (*cough* very) particular. They don’t like to be too wet, but they don’t like to be too dry, either, so ensure their soil is moist but not soggy. They grow best in humid conditions and dappled sunlight, and if you can cater to their needs, they’ll purify your air and decorate your home.
For the flaker… Zanzibar gem
Always forgetting about your lunch plans and somehow managed to kill an air plant? Say hello to the zanzibar gem. The perfect plant to liven up any dark corners in your home, the zanzibar gem is used to living on dimly lit forest floors, is pretty much impervious to pests and can tolerate sporadic watering, which means it’s basically indestructible. Seriously. It’s more likely to die if you pay it too much attention, so if you want a green space without all the work, this is the plant for you.
For the busy bee… Devil’s ivy
If you want a plant that can match your go-getter attitude, devil’s ivy has your back. Also known as golden pothos, devil’s ivy loves to grow and grow and grow – but it’s relatively low-maintenance, so it won’t eat up too much space in your diary. Simply pop it in a spot that receives indirect sunlight (although it’ll do just fine by a shady window), water it when the soil’s dry and voila! Did we mention its trailing vines are pros at removing pollutants like benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene and formaldehyde from the air, too?
For the worrier… Lavender
Nothing can soothe anxious thoughts better than a good sniff of lavender – so sit it front and centre in your kitchen or bedroom. Not only will the purple flowers make you feel like you’re living carefree in the south of France, their aroma has been proven to nix stress and settle frazzled nerves. Just keep the plant in a bright, sunny spot and use its blooms to make calming teas, heat packs and bath soaks.
For the helper… Monstera
Arguably the most popular indoor plant in design right now, the monstera isn’t for the faint-hearted. These tropical plants require someone who can give them the attention they deserve (like frequent dusting and regular misting of their leaves), and since they’re sensitive to excessive sunlight, you’ll also need to give them plenty of shade. If you can put in the work (who are we kidding, you were born for this), the monstera will reward you with clean air and all the zen vibes.
For the social butterfly… Spider plant
Just like you, spider plants hate being alone – which is why they’re constantly growing themselves new friends. As well as being super easy to propagate, spider plants are also easy to take care of, making them perfect for the person who goes out a lot. Throw a little heat, wind, water stress or shade at the spider plant and it’ll bounce right back once. Plus, its gorgeous leaves are a great conversation starter for when you’re entertaining friends.
For the daydreamer… Fiddle-leaf fig
Is there anything more romantic than a fiddle-leaf fig? Not on this planet. While it might have surged in popularity a couple of years ago, this versatile fig suits just about any home and any room, so it’s no surprise it’s played a starring role in many of your home renno fantasies. Be sure to water it weekly (but not too much) and give it bright, indirect sunlight and it’ll gift you with new foliage, fresh air and dreamy aesthetics all year long.