Health through gardening Plant psychology

Why Your Plants Make You Happy

Hands planting in the earth

By Wenxin Ye

How do you feel when you are taking care of your plants? How do you feel when you’re gardening? When you tend to your garden, you are nurturing and helping a living thing grow. This allows you to turn your stress and frustration into something beautiful that provides comfort and joy. It’s an excellent way to cope with negative feelings.

Below are some known benefits of plants that are directly or indirectly making you happy: 

Garden room
  1. Provides a better environment. Plants can help purify the air and eliminate air pollutants, providing you with a healthier environment that benefits your overall well-being. It turns out dirt is good for you, too.
  2. Better mental health. Studies have proven that people who spend more time outside in nature have better mental health and a more positive outlook on life.[1] When you are positive, you see the world differently.
  3. Increases attentiveness and memory. Being around plants, whether at home or work, helps improve memory and attention span by 20% and can increase concentration.[2]
Pots of seedlings
  1. Reduces stress and anxiety levels. Studies show that people who spend time cultivating plants have less stress in their lives.[3] This may be because caring for plants suppresses sympathetic nervous system activity and promotes comfortable, relaxed, and natural feelings.
  2. Enhances mood and sharpens focus. According to a 2016 study, by placing more than three indoor plants in homes or in businesses can enhance the mood and sharpen the focus.[4]
  3. Increases productivity. Similar to the enhanced mood and sharpened focus, this study suggests that the presence of plants in the workplace can increase productiveness.
  4. Sparks creativity. People are 15% more creative when surrounded by greenery and natural elements.
  5. Improves relationships. Caring for plants can help to improve relationships between people and increase concern and empathy toward others. You learn how to be gentle, patient, understanding and aware of small changes, just like how you are interacting with people. 
Front door with plants

When you’re taking care of your plants, your plants are taking care of you, too. Plants are often used to decorate our space, but they also have many known benefits to our physical and mental wellness, they even help you live a longer life. Now that you’re aware of the ways houseplants and gardening can make you happy, maybe you’ll be inspired to add more to your plant family! If you haven’t started planning anything yet, here is a quick guide on gardening opportunities during Covid-19


[1] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44097-3

[2] https://news.umich.edu/going-outsideeven-in-the-coldimproves-memory-attention/

[3] https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing

[4]https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261513561_The_Effects_of_The_Number_of_Indoor_Foliage_Plants_on_Productivity_Stress_and_Attention

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

3 comments on “Why Your Plants Make You Happy

  1. This is so true! I love going into my room and seeing all my plants, it makes me so happy 🙂

  2. coonwoman

    After several years without any houseplants or gardens, I’m slowly working my way back to having plants indoors. So far I have some moss & lichen, plus two carrot tops I’m hoping will bloom and give me some seed. Going in to greet them each new day as I turn on their lights makes me very happy – I hope I’m returning the favor by breathing heavily on them every day, and catching rainwater for them (now that the snow’s gone!). ;o)

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