Houseplants continue to surge in popularity, with many of us keen to turn our homes into indoor jungles. Filling the home with plants inevitably helps enhance our connection to nature, but many don’t realise that beyond adding a splash of colour and visual interest to your décor, bringing the outdoors in will benefit well-being in a multitude of ways.

Plants inspire creativity, they have the ability to reduce stress, aid relaxation and boost mood, as well as improve air quality, so it’s little wonder we all get so much enjoyment from incorporating them into our homes.

Plants also release water vapour into the air, increasing humidity levels, which can help with respiratory and skin health by counteracting the drying effects of heating systems. They can also help to reduce airborne dust levels – fantastic for those that suffer from allergies.

Not only that; a number of common houseplants have healing properties and can be used either topically or ingested to soothe everyday ailments from burns to indigestion.

And with winter on the horizon, there’s no better time to boost your well-being by embracing houseplants at home.

Must-have plants no home should be without this winter

Mood-boosting plants

The money plant features fleshy, glossy and smooth, circular leaves and is said to bring prosperity and good luck in life. Used extensively in Feng Shui – essentially the practice of harmonising the human existence with the surrounding environment – it makes for a traditional mood-boosting addition to a home.

If you want to make a statement, opt for the easy-to-care-for but visually impactful bird of paradise, which boasts glossy dark green paddle-shaped leaves and elegant stems. And once the plant reaches 2 metres in height you will be treated to beautiful bright blooms.

Jasmine plants in the home are hugely popular and for good reason. On top of being a beautiful houseplant, its small, white flowers are known for their soothing fragrance, which can help you relax and eliminate stress.

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Plants with air-purifying qualities

The yellow-tipped, green-striped snake plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is fantastic at filtering the air of common airborne toxins including formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene which are all commonly found in homes after decorating. Make the most of this succulent’s ability to release oxygen at night – which could help you breathe more easily whilst sleeping – by keeping it in your bedroom.

English ivy is the perfect low-maintenance plant to keep high up on a bookcase or shelf, enabling you to make the most of its beautiful tumbling vines. It thrives in any light conditions, is a fast grower and best of all, helps to purify the air.

Another low-maintenance addition to the home is a rubber plant. Its large, glossy leaves absorb and break down airborne chemicals, while also eliminating bacteria and mould spores in the air. Rubber plants can reach up to eight feet tall when well cared for, so are well worth investing in as a future statement piece.

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Healing plants

No home is complete without an aloe vera plant. On top of being an attractive, air-purifying plant, the soothing gel that can be squeezed out of the leaves boasts cooling, anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, it’s one of the most natural remedies for sunburn or burnt skin and is rich in antioxidants and minerals that boost the skin healing process.

A peppermint plant is another must-have addition to any home and is widely used in homoeopathy to ease digestive problems, the common cold, sinus infections and headaches. Having the ability to quickly serve up a soothing fresh mint tea or tincture at home is not something to overlook – especially with winter on the horizon.

Lavender is a common houseplant thanks to its beautiful purple blooms and enchanting smell, however, it also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to treat anxiety, fungal infections, menstrual pain and nausea. In fact, the smell is said to be an effective sleep remedy, so is ideal to keep in the bedroom.

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Plants to feast on

Many people don’t realise how easy it is to grow fruits and vegetables at home. Most will flourish in a sunny spot on the windowsill if watered little and often.

  • Chillies: Boasting high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants, chillies are the perfect addition to your winter diet. So, whether you’re a spice fiend or prefer a milder dish, there are many different varieties of chilli that can easily be grown at home.
  • Tomatoes: From salads to soups and sauces, tomatoes are one of the handiest kitchens staples to have on hand and are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K, plus the antioxidant lycopene – which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease. They grow best in a warm, sheltered and sunny environment, so try investing in an ‘indoor’ greenhouse that can sit on your windowsill.
  • Microgreens: Small in size but big on nutrients – containing up to 40% more phytochemicals (beneficial nutrients and components) than their full-grown counterparts. What better way to boost your well-being in the middle of winter?
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Pet-friendly plants

A house isn’t a home without an abundant leafy, striped spider plant; not only hugely underrated houseplants but also pet friendly. Pretty much impossible to kill, the resilient spider plant is great at filtering airborne toxins such as carbon monoxide and xylene. And you only need to invest in one spider plant that you can easily propagate in the future; during the summer they produce tiny white flowers on long stems with baby spider plants called ‘pups’. The pups look like tiny spiders, hence the plant’s name.

Picture broad, dark green, fan-shaped foliage on tall stems and you have the broad lady palm. Non-toxic to pets, with a range of air purifying qualities, this is one of the few plants that can also reduce levels of ammonia, commonly found in a wide range of cleaning products.

Basil, Britain’s most widely sold herb, is both pet-friendly and delicious – try adding it to winter salads, soups and traybakes. Basil plants are easy to look after and will grow happily on a sunny windowsill. Pet-friendly with a fresh fragrance and a sure-fire way to boost the flavour of any dish – what more could you want from a houseplant?

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