How seniors can grow indoor plants that serve a purpose

You’re never too old to become a plant parent – no green thumb required, and the health and happiness benefits are many and varied. Check out these plants with purpose, each one offering a specific benefit while also being easy to grow and maintain.

Plants that humidify: spider and jade

Low humidity in our homes can lead to dry skin, throat and lung irritation, and allergies. Plants increase humidity through evapotranspiration, with both spider and jade plants superheroes at this process. One study found that a grouping of spider plants alone in a bedroom increased relative humidity from 20 to 30 percent.*

Plants that improve your mood: English ivy

Research has shown that being in the presence of plants – even for a few minutes – makes people feel happier and more relaxed. A study on this phenomenon using English ivy found that green-yellow and bright-green leaves increased subjects’ feelings of happiness and relaxation.* Train an ivy to climb an indoor trellis; don’t over-water it, and give it bright-filtered to low light, and both you and this green goddess will be happy.

Plants that offer an “escape” in a small space: Your choice of many

A study conducted during the lockdown phase of the pandemic on students living in small spaces found that those with several houseplants (no varieties were mentioned) felt less depressed and anxious than those without houseplants. Surrounded by their plants (an average of 10), students felt as if their space offered an escape, reporting feelings of “getting away from it all.”* That’s something to consider if you live in a smaller apartment or suite – surrounding yourself with a variety of easy-to-grow houseplants such as ponytail palm, snake plant, pothos or lucky bamboo,* to name a few, will instantly make your space a green refuge.

Plants that heal: Aloe vera

For centuries, aloe vera gel has been used to treat burns and wounds. You can easily harvest the gel from your own mature plant and apply directly to minor cuts and scrapes.* As long as you provide six to eight hours of sunlight per day, and water only when the soil is dry two inches below the surface, your aloe will be happy.

For handy tips on caring for all your houseplants and outdoor gardening needs, learn more from the Laidback Gardener*

*Laidback Gardener-