(Photo by Vadim Kaipov on Unsplash)

(Photo by Vadim Kaipov on Unsplash)

A house plant can add a great pop of color to a home, but did you know that it can also do wonders for your life in other ways? From adding a sense of routine and responsibility, to boosting mental health, to improving indoor air quality, there’s no shortage of compelling reasons to pick up a few house plants to add to your space. The best house plants are easy to take care of, pleasing to the eye and add a pocket of life to your home.

According to new research results, millennials and members of Gen Z consider houseplants the “new puppies” — but without the mess and major responsibilities that comes with a real pet. In fact, a majority of young adults think of their growing plant collections as actual pets! According to a 2021 poll’s 1,111 respondents, the typical houseplant keeper has at least four plants, the oldest of which is five years-old. Two-thirds of respondents prefer just buying houseplants over gardening because they’re easier to care for. In fact, most respondents spend just five minutes each week tending to their plants.

Beyond being easy and affordable to care for, plants can have real benefits for mental health and wellness. Researchers from the University of Hyogo in Japan say that small potted plants around the office can go a long way towards relieving employee stress. The research team observed workers’ psychological and physiological stress levels before and after a small plant was placed on each one of their desks. An overwhelming majority of employees displayed significantly lower pulse rates after taking a three minute break and interacting with their desk plant, indicating a noticeable drop in stress levels.

Your physical wellbeing may also reap some benefits, as research shows adding a few potted house plants to your home or office can go a long way toward improving indoor air quality. A new study from researchers from the University of Birmingham and the Royal Horticultural Society reports that common, everyday houseplants can cut down on indoor air pollution significantly. Study authors exposed a group of houseplants to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a common pollutant. In certain situations, the plants were able to eliminate as much as 20 percent of the nitrogen dioxide all by themselves.

Regardless of why you’re in the market for a new house plant, you’ll be sure to enjoy the many benefits that come with them. But if you weren’t born with a green thumb and are just now venturing into the indoor gardening space, you may want a few pointers on where to start. The good news is, there’s a house plant for everyone, from beginners living in dark apartments to advanced horticulturists with beaming natural light. To get you started, StudyFinds searched the internet for reviews of the best house plants for all kinds of shoppers. This list includes the most frequently recommended plants, but be sure to let us know your favorite in the comments below!

Plant on desk next to laptop computer and smartphone
Desk setup with a house plant (Photo by Mikey Harris on Unsplash)

The List: Best House Plants, According to Experts

1. Snake Plant

If you want a plant that will make a statement, look no further. But while it certainly draws attention, it won’t actually require much as this plant is surprisingly easy to care for. “It’s the striped and twisting sword-like leaves that makes this plant so dramatic,” claims Homes & Gardens. “Tough and extremely drought tolerant, it is often referred to as mother-in-law’s tongue – and makes the perfect showstopper on a side table or sitting neatly in a corner.”

plant in white pot in front of window
Snake Plant (Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)

“The plants only need to be watered when the soil is dry, grow in any kind of light, and generally ‘thrive on neglect.’ The snake plant was included in [a] sweeping NASA study of indoor plants, and has been shown to remove toxins from the air over time,” says Good Housekeeping.

“Available in a number of different varieties, this cheery plant with cool patterns grows straight up, which makes it a great choice for people with small spaces,” adds Forbes

2. ZZ Plant

This unique and eye-catching plant makes a wonderful addition to any room. And thanks to its low maintenance needs, it’s a great choice for a new plant owner. “Fancy a houseplant that looks like no other? Then the ZZ plant or ric-rac plant is a must,” says Homes & Gardens. “Dark glossy slender leaves with distinct undulating edges, it makes a real impact placed on its own on a side or coffee table.”

green leafy plant in white pot in front of window
ZZ Plant (Photo by Kadarius Seegars on Unsplash)

“It can withstand all sorts of less-than-ideal factors, like infrequent watering or dry air. And, most importantly for apartment dwellers or those who live in other shady spaces, the ZZ plant can easily tolerate low-light environments,” explains Forbes. “Attractive as a standalone plant or grouped with other plants, the ZZ plant is a happy option for the kitchen or bathroom.”

Better yet, this plant will give you more than what you paid for. If you care for it well, you may end up with multiple ZZ plants around your home. As The Spruce says, “this houseplant can easily be propagated to create more plants by dividing the rhizomes.” 

3. Peace Lily

Just as the name suggests, a Peace Lily brings a calming and serene beauty to any space it’s placed in. Ideal for an intermediate plant caretaker (or a beginner up to the challenge), this beautiful bloom will thrive with a little TLC. “The beautiful white flowers of the Peace Lily symbolize peace, purity, and sympathy,” lists The Spruce. “Usually blossoming during spring, a robust plant can bloom even twice a year, so you have months to admire the flowers.” 

white flower
Peace Lily (Photo by Maria Elizabeth on Unsplash)

“The epitome of elegance, the Peace lily, with its glossy tear shaped leaves and pure white flowers is one of the most popular indoor plants,” claims Homes & Gardens. “Effortlessly chic, they radiate tranquillity and simplicity but can be a little temperamental at times. They prefer moist soil, but the good news is that these plants will tell you when they are thirsty as the leaves will droop. Pop it next to the shower for the occasional boost or mist with a water spray.”

Make sure you keep up with caring for your peace lily, and you’ll enjoy its blooms for years to come. But keep them away from your furry friends and children as they can be toxic! “Peace lilies can live for years and continuously produce broad white flowers that resemble a white peace flag,” adds Good Housekeeping. “They’re easy to take care of and don’t need much light, so they’re perfect for shady spaces. Just keep them out of reach from pets and small children.”

4. Spider Plant

If you need a plant that will clearly communicate its needs with you, a spider plant is your match made in heaven. It’s a perfect introduction to caring for a plant that’ll be sure to show you ropes in a way that’s easy to understand. “Despite their name, spider plants are quite pleasant to have around the house,” says Forbes. “They come in a variety of colors and patterns, and they give very clear signs (wilting dramatically) when they need to be watered. Don’t worry, though—they’ll perk right back up when given a drink.”

three plants in white pots on wooden stands in living room
Spider Plant (Photo by House Method on Unsplash)

You can take a deep breath knowing your spider plant is making the air around you healthier for you every day. “Spider plants are known to help purify the surrounding air,” explains Good Housekeeping. “NASA research examined the leaves, soil, roots and microorganisms of several houseplants and found that plants can act as a natural air filter to reduce pollutants. The study indicates that spider plants removed 95% of toxic formaldehyde from the air in a sealed Plexiglas container over a 24-hour period.”

Just like the ZZ plant, your spider plant may quickly become your spider plants. As Women’s Health explains, “a fun fact about spider plants? These fast-growing shoots produce smaller ones off to the side that you can then replant. Also, they thrive best in partial, indirect sun: Easy enough, right?”  

5. Monstera

Once you’ve gotten your bearings taking care of easier plants, you may be ready to move on to the striking monstera. This beauty requires a bit more attention than some of the others on this list, but it’s well worth it! “In the plant popularity stakes, nothing has overrun our homes and Instagram faster than the Swiss Cheese Plant, aka Monstera Deliciosa,” claims The Spruce. “The ‘it’ plant with deep green, heart-shaped, cut-out leaves is native to rainforests in Central America yet has adapted well to urban, indoor living.”

green plant in white pot held in hands
Monstera (Photo by Feey on Unsplash)

“One of the best-loved and most popular house plants, monsteras are exotic beauties that will reward the grower with broad leaves with little effort,” adds Gardeners’ World. “Grow in a bright spot out of direct sunlight and water regularly while in active growth. Best grown with a moss pole so they can climb.”

The tropical origins of this plant means it loves a humid environment. Place it in a bathroom with a window to really see it thrive! “It’s an indoor plant that makes a big impact and looks fantastic. Indoors it can grow up to 78 inches (2m) high, but the size of pot will limit its growth,” explains Homes & Gardens. “Preferring warm temperatures of between 64-80℉ (18-27°C), it can tolerate chilly conditions down to 53℉ (12°C), but avoid cold drafts.”

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About Anna Landry

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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1 Comment

  1. Hoi Polloi Boy says:

    As a guy with 20+ retail nursery business and an avid house plant gardener I’m totally in agreemen with he best houseplant list.