These 15 Houseplants Help Ease Anxiety

plants to calm anxiety

Blanco Bungalow

Sometimes, all you need to lighten your mood is a touch of nature in any space, especially when you call a bustling city home. While it's widely known that there are great mental health benefits that come along with spending time outside, bringing the outside in with houseplants can also be a viable solution. But not all plants and herbs are created equal; some are more calming than others.

We've rounded up advice from plant expert Cara Anderson, founder of Plant Roost Design, and took cues from science to find out which plants are known to improve your mood—whether you already have several plant babies or if you're completely new to plant parenthood.

Meet the Expert

Cara Anderson is an interior designer and founder of Plant Roost Design in Winnipeg, Canada. She has her B.A. in environmental design and spent many years tending thousands of plants in a commercial greenhouse.

Read on to discover the best anxiety-relieving plants to consider adding to your home to ease stress and foster feelings of happiness.

01 of 15

Basil

Herbs in pots growing in a bright kitchen window.

 Westend61 / Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Ocimum basilicum
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light to full sun
  • Soil Type: Herb or vegetable soil mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.5

Thanks to the compound linalool, basil smells delicious and can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. While it can be a bit finicky, it is well worth the effort—you'll want to give it at least six hours of bright light daily and keep it away from drafts. The soil should stay evenly moist (but not drenched) and will thrive with a little fertilizer during warmer months. Best of all is that pruning back leaves will encourage growth, so there's no reason not to utilize them in a tasty meal (pizza, anyone?).

Very healthy basil plant
happyhopemade Live Basil Plant $20
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02 of 15

Snake Plant

Three snake plants scattered around a boho dining room.

COTTAGE + SEA

  • Botanical Name: Sansevieria trifasciata
  • Sun Exposure: Low to moderate, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining cactus or succulent mix
  • Soil pH: 4.5 to 7.0

You've no doubt seen sansevieria, also known as snake plants or mother-in-law's tongue, all over social media. Turns out, these plants have earned their popularity and then some with their no-fuss upkeep and health benefits. "This plant is known the clean the air and actually gives off oxygen at night," says Anderson. They're virtually impossible to kill, too, as they can survive in both low and bright light and are drought tolerant.

snake plant in white pot
The Sill Snake Plant Laurentii $24
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03 of 15

English Ivy

green and white english ivy plant in white pot on white background

 kuppa_rock / Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Hedera helix
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Standard potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5

The same English ivy that encroaches on any building that's been around long enough also comes in several indoor cultivars. This easy-to-care-for plant scores high when it comes to cleaning the air; add it to your home to breathe a bit easier. It may even remove dangerous mold spores. We wouldn't recommend cutting a stem from outdoors to propagate at home, though—houseplant-specific varieties will thrive best in your indoor space. English ivy likes soil to be just moist, but not soggy, at all times, and it loves regular misting.

Variegated English ivy in a hanging planter pot
Lively Root English Ivy Glacier $38
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04 of 15

Boston Fern

boston fern in a boho bedroom

Tracey Hairston

  • Botanical Name: Nephrolepis exaltata
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Peat-based soil mix
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 5.5

When you think of ferns, the bushy Boston fern is probably what comes to mind. This lush plant is another powerful air purifier to add to your collection for peace of mind. Like many of the plants on this list, Boston ferns are great at removing pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene, and other common household chemicals that you breathe in. Just be sure to keep the soil damp at all times.

These guys need lots of moisture and humidity, so consider keeping them in a bright bathroom—they'll love the steam and you'll love the drama they add to your space.

lime green Boston fern in a hanging planter
Lively Root Boston Fern $36
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05 of 15

Lavender

Close up of lavender blooming in a pot against a white wall

Yin Jiang / Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Lavandula
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining vegetable soil mix
  • Soil pH: 6.7 to 7.3

There's no shortage of research showing the benefits of essential oils on mental health. Whether in plant or essential oil form, lavender is one of the most widely known anti-anxiety herbs out there. Add a few dried sprigs to your bedroom, try an oil diffuser, or take the plunge and get yourself a lavender plant. Just make sure you've got a bright window that gets several hours of full sun, and have a light hand when it comes to watering, as lavender is more tolerant of underwatering than overwatering. When your flowers bloom, cut off at the stems to display in a bouquet or dry for any number of self-care uses.

Lavender plant in charcoal pot on a wood stool next to a glass of water
Bloomscape Lavender $35
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06 of 15

Rosemary

Close up of Rosemary plant in a red pot

Adél Békefi / Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Salvia rosmarinus
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil or cactus mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

The scent of this woody herb has been said to encourage inner peace, promote positivity, and ease depression and anxiety. Pick up some essential oil or a rosemary plant for the full benefits. Rosemary hails from warmer, humid climates in the Mediterranean region, which means it actually prefers to wick more moisture from the air than from soil, so you'll want to keep it in a humid environment where possible. Mist regularly and consider keeping a pan of water under the pot that the plant will enjoy as it evaporates. Enjoy the relaxing aroma and easy access to this delicious herb.

Rosemary plant in a black pot on a marble tabletop.
Greendigs Rosemary Plant $30
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07 of 15

Pothos

Vine-y pothos hanging over a boho media stand

Sara Toufali​

  • Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: All-purpose potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 6.5

Pothos, also known as devil's ivy, is another powerhouse at removing harmful toxins from your home and improving air quality. It also acts as a natural humidifier, which is especially helpful during drier months. And even better, "The Pothos can tolerate anything," says Anderson. It's compatible with lower light conditions and handles neglect well, as it can go weeks in between waterings if necessary. Consider suspending your pothos in a hanging planter to take full advantage of its vine-y tendrils. "These are trailing plants and will basically keep growing endlessly if you allow them the space," adds Anderson.

Potted pothos plant on a small table.
Ansel & Ivy Devil's Ivy $44
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08 of 15

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera plant in a white pot on a styled coffee table

Modern House Vibes

  • Botanical Name: Aloe barbadensis miller
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Cactus or succulent soil mix
  • Soil pH: 7.0 to 8.5

You've no doubt experienced the healing benefits of aloe vera sap, be it as an ingredient in your favorite skincare product or by slathering it on a sunburn. But did you know the plant itself has air purifying qualities as well? Between its health benefits, cool-without-trying aesthetic, and black thumb-proof nature, there's really no reason not to keep an aloe plant at home. Of course, being a desert succulent, it does require plenty of bright, indirect light and won't respond well to overwatering. Aim to water it only once every few weeks when the soil has completely dried out and cut back even more in colder months.

Medium aloe vera plant in a grower's pot.
Succulent Market Aloe Vera $8
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09 of 15

Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen plant in a boho home office nook

JC Designs

  • Botanical Name: Aglaonema
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.6 to 6.5

The Chinese evergreen is well known as a low risk, high reward option in the world of houseplants, given how easy it is to care for and the vibrant colors it displays. But beyond that, these leafy plants will literally help you breathe easier, too, by filtering the air of toxins and emitting oxygen to promote productivity and boost your sense of well-being. As far as caring for your Chinese evergreen, they prefer humid environments best, so mist often and don't let the soil dry out completely. Although they are slow growers, the lush, leafy bush will benefit your home year after year.

Silver bay aglaonema in a black pot
Modern Garden Aglaonema Silver Bay $65
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10 of 15

Scented Geranium

Potted red geraniums on windowsill

Lars Johansson / Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Pelargonium
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting mix
  • Soil pH: 5.8 to 6.3

The same beautiful flower from the garden can benefit you indoors year-round, too. And aside from being a natural mood booster with its colorful blooms, the scent of geranium is known to promote peace of mind and relaxation. Pick up some essential oil or keep a plant on-hand all year for the added visual and decorative benefits. These plants are drought tolerant, but water regularly to avoid leaf drop.

Scented geranium leaves and flowers have been used for centuries to brew medicinal tea for treating inflammation, pain, and stress and aiding in digestion and boosting immunity. Just be sure your specific type of geranium is safe for consumption before you get out your kettle.

Small scented geranium plant in grower's pot
The Growers Exchange Scented Geranium 'Attar of Rose' $8
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11 of 15

Chamomile

German Chamomile, Close Up, Differential Focus

DAJ / Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Matricaria chamomilla
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Type: Organic potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.6 to 7.5

Considering how common chamomile tea is as an herbal remedy, this one is a no-brainer. Though widely used for its calming effects, chamomile tea is also a natural anti-inflammatory. Keeping a chamomile plant on-hand can pull double duty: the plant itself exudes a gentle, floral scent that can help calm your senses while the dried flower can be brewed for all the herbal benefits. Just make sure you give your plant enough room to grow, as chamomile likes to spread out. Keep it in a sunny south-facing window and allow the soil to mostly dry out between waterings.

German chamomile plant in grower's pot
Growers Exchange Chamomile 'German' $7
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12 of 15

Spider Plant

Spider plant in a orange pot sitting on a balcony.

 Veena Nair / Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Chlorophytum comosum
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-drained potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.2

This elegant, easy-growing houseplant is nearly impossible to kill, and its variegated, arcing leaves can create a lush, jungle-like feel in any space as well as remove formaldehyde and other toxins from the air and improve oxygen levels. Spider plants grow best when you allow the soil to dry out between waterings since their roots hold onto water. Give yours the love it needs and you may be rewarded with tiny flowers and babies you can grow into whole new plants.

small spider plant in hanging planter
Plants.com Spider Plant $45
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13 of 15

Peace Lily

Large peace lily plant in a basket

Sara Toufali

  • Botanical Name: Spathiphyllum
  • Sun Exposure: Low, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 6.5

The peace lily is another great option if you're looking for something low maintenance that has added health benefits, especially if you're new to plant parenthood. "The Peace Lily is a wonderful plant to start with. It’s a lush, bold deep green and elegant plant that will literally tell you when it needs to be watered," says Anderson. It's also a household favorite for removing harmful chemicals from the air including carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, and may even filter out harmful mold spores. They're adaptable to both low and bright, indirect light, and they love humidity, so consider keeping this in your bathroom to absorb all that extra moisture. Remember that they are toxic to pets and people if consumed, so keep them well out of reach.

Peace Lily
Pretty in Green Plants Peace Lily $24
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14 of 15

Jade

Small jade plant in a windowsill with other succulents

Sara Toufali

  • Botanical Name: Crassula ovata
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Cactus or succulent potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 6.5

The benefits of keeping a jade plant on hand are numerous: Not only does it act as a natural humidifier and air purifier, but it has medicinal properties and is a symbol of good luck and positive energy in many cultures, too.As far as succulents go, jade is fairly hardy. It prefers bright, indirect light, low humidity, and needs a thorough watering only when the soil has mostly dried out. Given its slow growth, it can thrive even in a too-small pot for many years.

Small jade plant in grower's pot
Succulents Box Crassula Ovata Obliqua Jade Plant $6
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15 of 15

Dragon Tree

large dracaena in a light and bright living room

JC Designs

  • Botanical Name: Dracaena
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6 to 6.5

Dracaena, otherwise known as dragon tree, can add a dreamy, California-cool vibe to any space, in addition to its air filtering qualities. These dramatic plants are one of the most effective at filtering out harmful chemicals. They're also pros at releasing oxygen back into the air to improve overall mental wellness. Dragon trees grow best with plenty of bright, indirect light and when watered after the top inch or two of soil has dried out, although they'll tolerate some underwatering. Given their tropical nature, they also love a humid environment.

Small dragon tree with a gray fabric pot cover sitting on a wooden stool
36Vine Madagascar Dragon Tree $29
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Article Sources
MyDomaine uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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  4. Wolverton BC, Johnson A, Bounds K. Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement. NASA. 1989 Sept.

  5. Hamidpour R, Hamidpour S, Hamidpour M, Marshall V, Hamidpour R. Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) - A Novel Therapeutic Agent for Antibacterial, Antioxidant, Antifungal and Diabetics. Arch Can Res. 2017;5(1). doi: 10.21767/2254-6081.1000134

  6. Muiruri MD, Wambura M. Phytochemical and Antimicrobial Activity of (Crassula ovata) Jade Plant on Different Strains of Bacteria. European Journal of Medicinal Plants. 2016;11(1):1-12. doi: 10.9734/EJMP/2016/19753

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