Your Brain on Houseplants: Consider the Research

Houseplants for better mental and physical health? Here's a sample of studies that, one by one, make a positive case for plant life in the great indoors. (Also please see: "Winter Doldrums? Put Your Brain on Houseplants.")

Paste the article titles below in search engines or use links to find abstracts, full text, and references.


  • "The effect of indoor foliage plants on health and discomfort symptoms among office workers." Indoor Built Environ. 7, 204–209 (1998)
  • "Restorative Elements at the Computer Workstation: A Comparison of Live Plants and Inanimate Objects With and Without Window View." Environment and Behavior, April 1, 2015 47: 288-303.
  • "Psychological Benefits of Indoor Plants in Workplaces: Putting Experimental Results into Context," Hort Science, June 2007 vol. 42, no. 3, 581-587.

Air purification:

  • Original NASA study on air purification by plants.  To get the air-cleansing benefits of houseplants, a NASA study concluded that we need one plant per 100 square feet. Some plants are more efficient purifiers than others.
  • "Removal of benzene by the indoor plant/substrate microcosm and implications for air quality." Water Air Soil Pollution.157, 193–207 (2004)
  • "Efficiency of volatile formaldehyde removal by indoor plants: contribution of aerial plant parts versus the root zone." Journal of the Society for Horticultural Science. 133, 521–526 (2008)
  • "Effectiveness of Houseplants in Reducing the Indoor Air Pollutant Ozone." HortTechnology, 2009 19: 286-290


  • "Stress-reducing effects of indoor plants in the built healthcare environment: the mediating role of perceived attractiveness." Preventive Medicine 47, 279–283 10.1016 (2008)
  • "Nature Contacts: Employee Wellness in Healthcare." Health Environments Research & Design Journal, November 17, 2015 
  • "Effects of Flowering and Foliage Plants in Hospital Rooms on Patients Recovering from Abdominal Surgery." Hort Technology 18: 563-568 (2008)


Mood and Psychological Well-Being:

For those with concerns about microbes on houseplants: