It’s well established that common houseplants can help improve the air quality of your home and the mood of those who reside within it. But there are a few blooms that can enhance your environment in additional ways. Worried you don’t have a green thumb? Try these five plants first.
Lavender is more easily grown outdoors, but if you’re diligent in caring for the plant, the light, flowery fragrance it deploys can be worth it. And the good news is there are smaller varietals that are better suited for indoor use. If you find a sweet spot and your lavender thrives, you can enjoy therapeutic benefits including easing anxiety and stress as well as inducing sleep. The other benefit of having the live plant around the house is the beautiful bursts of color in the flowers.
Grow tip: It can’t be overemphasized that lavender loves sunlight. It’s best not to attempt to grow this plant if there isn’t a sunny spot in your home.
This hearty, fragrant tree isn’t often thought of a houseplant, but in the right conditions (most important, ample sunlight) it can thrive indoors and infuse the air with a cooling, calming scent, similar to mint. Due to its highly antibacterial, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, the tree is thought to help cleanse the air and aid in respiratory health. If you’ve got a household filled with active kids or pets, this plant may also deodorize particularly smelly areas.
Grow tip: Eucalyptus trees can grow quickly, and they are easily transplanted to a sunny spot in your yard.
There are hundreds of varietals of geraniums, so spend a little time researching the best one for your particular environment, meaning the light, temperature and moisture levels in your home. In the same vein, geraniums can produce a range of fragrances, many of which have been used as perfumes for centuries. Aside from a pleasant, sweet smell, like many of these plants, geranium scents are thought to induce calming effects.
Grow tip: To have the healthiest plant possible, pluck degrading blooms to make room for new growth.
A relatively low maintenance, high-producing plant, peppermint is perfect for adding a clean, refreshing scent to any space. It’s thought to promote calmness and ease, making both the bedroom and bathroom (next to the bathtub, perhaps) overlooked but ideal spots to put a hearty pot of this herb. That’s not to say you should ignore its culinary potential. Because this plant does best when regularly pruned, occasionally pick off a few leaves to make a tea that aids in digestion and can act as a natural decongestant, or add a few leaves to your next batch of flavorful pesto.
Grow tip: Peppermint likes water and doesn’t tolerate drier climates for long.
Well-known for being an integral spice in Italian dishes, this easy-to-grow plant produces an energizing fragrance thought to stimulate the senses. It’s traditionally been grown near a kitchen for culinary purposes, but the herb can add a bright scent to any room you choose. Like many aromatic plants, there are many different varietals, each with a unique smell and taste, so choose whichever suites your palate.
Grow tip: Oregano performs well in full sunlight, but can manage in partial shade. It’s good for a home that gets less than the ideal eight to 10 hours.