Plants are nature’s notification to give yourself more space in this world.
I’m not a mom to a countless number of plants yet, but I’m on my way to that title.
Initially, when I began to adorn a small corner of my house with tiny, leafy plants and a few succulents, it was solely for the purpose of accessorizing and livening up my house.
However, after dedicating time to nurturing my plants on an almost daily basis, I began to realize that they’re more than just a means to reach my household aesthetic goal.
After all, I had to look out for them as I would myself.
Much like every other being, plants require a certain amount of attention in order to thrive. At times when I wasn’t doing my best, the brown, shriveled ends of my plants’ leaves reflected my pain and vice versa.
Psychological benefits of plants
Besides instantly boosting a home’s aesthetic, studies show that being surrounded by greenery can help with cleaning the surrounding air, creating a sense of well-being, and enhancing your life.
When I realized the correlation between plants and self-care, I researched my current plants (as well as others I plan to add to my home).
Turns out, my gains aren’t arbitrary. Plants can reflect our lives in more ways than one and help us acclimate during difficult times.
But not all plants bring joy, especially high-maintenance ones. Some also speak to us in hard times more than others.
I rounded up a list of plants and dug into their personalities. Find out which ones are calling out to you based on their benefits, as well as efforts and attention you want to give.
1. For a reminder to break toxic ties, try aloe vera
Aloe vera is probably my favorite house plant simply because it has so many benefits and is easy to care for. If you’re the type to give a lot (emotionally, monetarily, or physically) to others, you and aloe vera may make the perfect pairing.
While you can cut off the leaves to
Aloe vera and you: During the repotting process, you may have to trim away any dead pieces that are no longer contributing to its growth.
Doing this can serve as reminder of your own growth: as you approach different life stages, you sometimes have to let go of who or what may be stopping you from thriving.
And as you continue to learn more about yourself and experience new things in life, it might be necessary to replant yourself. Make choices that help you continue to grow into the person you want to be.
Caring for aloe vera
- Where to put it: To take advantage of aloe vera’s benefits, place this power plant in the kitchen or bathroom, which is where most household chemicals are. Because aloe vera can grow to be a very large plant, it’s common to have to replant it in a bigger pot where it’s able to continue to grow to its fullest capacity.
- How to care for it: This low-maintenance plant does well being watered on a weekly basis and soaking in some sun. Not a lot of light? It can still work its magic under indirect sunlight when placed on a window sill.
2. For a reminder to relax and stay calm, try lavender
This plant is very easy on the eyes, smells delightful, and is the source of one of the most popular essential oils. For those who forget to unwind or take a few seconds for themselves, especially at the end of the day, lavender (and its powerful scent) is for you.
Although it’s not considered to be a traditional houseplant, lavender offers
Topically, it’s also great to add to your beauty routine due to its
Lavender and you: Close your eyes and take in a few deep breaths whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed or when you want to get a good night’s rest. As you inhale the relaxing scent, it’ll help calm you down.
During the warmer spring months, move your lavender plant outside as it helps the plant to catch some fresh rays of sunshine. While you’re at it, take in a few moments outside to get your own dose of vitamin D as well.
Caring for lavender
- Where to put it: Place your lavender plant on a night stand in your bedroom so it’s one of the last things you see before drifting away to sleep.
- How to care for it: It’s best to keep the plant in a bright area and water it when the soil is dry to the touch. Too much watering can shorten its life span.
Side effects of lavender essential oil
Always dilute lavender oil before applying directly to your skin. Research shows that it may be a hormone disruptor.
3. For a reminder to maintain a work-life balance, try peace lilies
Here’s another natural purifier to add to the list: peace lilies. This gorgeous plant improves the flow of energy in the home as it neutralizes harmful indoor chemicals. It’s also believed to help people flourish mentally, physically, and spiritually.
If you’re into astrology, you’ll appreciate that peace lilies have a delicate and gentle appearance but are extremely strong and deep-rooted, akin to the energy exuded by people born under the Cancer zodiac sign.
Peace lilies and you: Peace lilies symbolize peace, tranquility, prosperity, purification, and solitude. Because peace lilies have such powerful symbolism, speak positive affirmations to your plants. Only say what you, yourself, would want to hear.
Caring for peace lilies
- Where to put it: Keep it in your bedroom or work office to help balance all of the energies in your space. If talking to your plant is a little out-of-the-box, let its presence be a reminder to you to think life-affirming thoughts.
- How to care for it: This beautiful plant requires indirect sunlight and water once a week or when the soil is dry to the touch.
4. For a reminder to survive and thrive during hard times, try a snake plant
Known to provide a strong protective energy in your space, snake plants are extremely durable and require very little attention in order to grow.
For easy-going folk who need a reminder of how resilient they are when times get tough, snake plants are here for you. Snake plants are easy-going and the ideal plant to keep in observation. Meaning: they require little attention and still thrive under a little pressure — just like a Libra!
This plant is unique because it has the ability to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen at night, meaning that if you live in an area with no air flow, having quite a few snake plants around you may help sanitize the oxygen in your space!
Snake plants and you: Snake plants serve as a reminder that even when you may feel alone or experiencing a difficult time, you can still choose to grow through and survive even the hardest situations.
When you see this plant, find a quiet spot in your home to sit down next to it, close your eyes, breathe in the cool, clean air it provides, and find your peace.
Caring for snake plants
- Where to put it: Keep your snake plant in the bedroom where you’re likely to get most of your rest or any other room in your home. One of the most beautiful things about this plant in particular is that no matter where it’s placed in your space and even if it’s neglected for a few weeks, it will still provide you with clean air as it grows resiliently.
- How to care for it: Simply water it every couple of weeks to keep the soil moist. It’s pretty hard to kill, which makes it an easy plant to care for regardless of experience.
5. For a reminder to stay present, try a eucalyptus
This popular plant is known not only for its distinct, pleasant aroma, but also for its ability to help treat asthma, colds, and congestion.
Eucalyptus and you: For those who need a reminder to appreciate the present and what the day will bring, the eucalyptus is the ideal plant. Take a few moments to inhale its healing and powerful scent. Doing this brings you back into the present moment.
Remember that this present moment is all you have. Don’t think about what happened yesterday as you can’t change that, and don’t concern yourself with tomorrow’s to-do list because all you have is this very moment. Enjoy.
Caring for eucalyptus
- Where to put it: If you find yourself feeling a little under the weather, you can create a eucalyptus “bath bouquet” to bring to the shower. By placing a eucalyptus bundle around your shower head and allowing the steam and heat to rise, it’ll release the plant’s fresh fragrance into the atmosphere.
- How to care for it: Eucalyptus requires full sunlight and needs to be watered regularly.
Besides instantly boosting a home’s artistic appearance, studies show that being surrounded by such greenery can help clean the surrounding air,
Benefits of plants
- Lowers levels of anxiety. Constantly seeing and being around plants helps people feel more calm and relaxed, thus decreasing levels of anxiety.
- Increases attentiveness and memory. Being around plants, whether at home or work, helps improve memory and attention span by 20 percent and can increase concentration.
- Increases productivity. This study shows that employees were more productive when just a few houseplants were added to their workspace.
- Reduces stress levels and boosts mood. Caring for plants can
reduce physiological and psychological stressas compared with mental work. This may be because caring for plants suppresses sympathetic nervous system activity and promotes comfortable, relaxed, and natural feelings.
- Sparks creativity. People are 15 percent more creative when surrounded by greenery and natural elements.
When I struggled mentally and found it hard to take care of myself, my plants suffered because I wasn’t caring for them either. However, when they’re happy and green, it usually means I’m more attentive to myself and taking care of my physical and emotional needs.
When I am able to witness the way my plant’s leaves naturally unfurl to receive the sunlight, I get an instant boost of happiness. It reminds me to do what I find fulfilling, instead of solely focusing on my obligations. It’s a reminder to always keep going and keep growing.
Shawna Davis is a wellness journalist and the founder and creator of the wellness lifestyle blog, Froing and Flowing. Beyond the blog, she is a certified yoga instructor, wife, dog mama, and natural hair enthusiast who’s passionate about health, wellness, and natural beauty. You can follow her on Instagram.
- Aloe vera [Fact sheet]. (2016).
- Averett N. (2016). Healthy ground, healthy atmosphere: Recarbonizing the earth’s soils.
- Chignell B. (2018). Seven benefits of having plants in your office.
- Claudio L. (2011). Planting healthier indoor air.
- Hashemi, S. A., et al. (2015) The review on properties of aloe vera in healing of cutaneous wounds.
- Health and well-being benefits of plants. (n.d.)
- Lavender [Fact sheet]. (2016).
- Lee M-S, et al. (2015). Interaction with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress by suppressing autonomic nervous system activity in young adults: A randomized crossover study.
- Nieuwenhuis, M, et al. 2014. The relative benefits of green versus lean office space: Three field experiments.
- Orayn, A. (2016). Topical application of aloe vera accelerated owund healing, modeling, and remodeling: an experimental study.
- Plants clean air and water for indoor environments. (n.d.).
- Silva, G.L., et al. (2015) Anti-oxidant, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory effects of lavender essence oil.
- Wolf KL, et al. (2015). Metro nature, environmental health, and economic value.
- Woelk, H. et al. (2010). A multi-center, double-blind, randomised study of the Lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder.