Mood-boosting houseplants – 6 beautiful varieties that help to lift the spirits

Brighten gloomier days with these expert houseplant recommendations

houseplants on shelves
(Image credit: Liudmila Chernetska / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

It's not just outdoor gardening that can benefit our mental health – tending to plants indoors can help improve our mood, too. 

Caring for houseplants, whether it's a weekly watering or an annual prune, encourages us to slow down, spend time away from screens, and appreciate the wonders of nature. What's more, the act of nurturing a living thing and watching it thrive is incredibly rewarding. Personally, I always get excited whenever I spot a new leaf on one of my plant babies. There's the possibility of propagation, too: creating new plants for free is always fun.

Their botanical beauty also improves our living environment, adding color and life to quieter corners of our homes. And some studies have said that houseplants can reduce stress and improve air quality, too. 

So, if you're looking to elevate your surroundings – and your mood – perhaps it's time for a new leafy friend. The following six, recommended by the experts, are great options to choose from.

selection of houseplants in orange and yellow room

This plant-filled scene from Dobbies certainly lifts the spirits

(Image credit: Dobbies)

6 fabulous houseplants for feel-good vibes

Whether you're looking for a new hanging plant, something that's easy to look after, or a flowering variety, one of these beauties is bound to suit.

flowering houseplants with pink wall

These tropical plants from Dobbies add extra color and form to a display

(Image credit: Dobbies)

1. Snake plant

snake plants in pot

Snake plants are drought-tolerant, so you won't need to water them often

(Image credit: Adam Yee / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

Snake plants are known for their air-purifying abilities, points out houseplant expert Kayla Gajdascz. 'They have a large capacity to filter out formaldehyde and benzene. 

'They're also exceptionally hardy and can thrive in a variety of environments, which can be encouraging for those new to plant care,' she continues. 'Snake plants prefer indirect but steady light, though they can tolerate lower light levels.'

'Water the plants sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings, as they are prone to root rot if overwatered,' adds Autumn Hilliard-Knapp of Perfect Plants Nursery.

Kayla Gajdascz
Kayla Gajdascz

Kayla Gajdascz is the co-founder and president of Mental Houseplants, a company dedicated to spreading the positive impact that plants have on our mental health. One way that the company does this is by partnering with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (the Massachusetts chapter), and donating a portion of every sale to them.

Autumn Hilliard-Knapp
Autumn Hilliard-Knapp

Autumn is a horticulture specialist and marketing professional at Perfect Plants Nursery. With four years of experience in the horticulture industry, she has developed a passion for helping people create beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces to enjoy. Her expertise in horticulture encompasses a broad range of activities, including plant care and selection, landscape design, and maintenance.

2. Monstera

monstera leaf

These impressive plants can grow quickly

(Image credit: Geri Lavrov / Moment / Getty Images)

Kayla also recommends monstera, a 'visually striking plant' with large, glossy leaves, that adds a jungle aesthetic to any space.

'Watching a monstera grow and develop new leaves, especially when they unfurl and reveal new fenestrations, can be incredibly rewarding and satisfying,' she adds.

They prefer bright, indirect light, Kayla advises. 'Too much direct sunlight can scorch their leaves, while too little light can slow their growth and reduce leaf fenestration.

'Water your monstera when the top inch or two of soil feels dry,' Kayla continues. 'They are somewhat drought-tolerant but will thrive with consistent, but not excessive, watering.' Being tropical plants, they enjoy a humid environment, she adds.

You can shop monsteras from The Sill.

3. Peace lily

indoor peace lilies with gray wall

Peace lilies can grow quite large, as this setup from Dobbies demonstrates

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Peace lilies, as their name suggests, are known to symbolize peace, as well as purity and hope. Besides this, they are great if you're looking for a low-maintenance plant that will survive the odd bout of neglect. 

They have elegant white flowers and large, glossy leaves, with variegated varieties available. They like humidity and not too much sun – bright but indirect light is best – although they will grow in slightly shadier conditions, too.

'Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid overwatering,' advises Autumn. 'They'll show signs of drooping when they need to be watered.'

4. Spider plant

spider plant on windowsill

Variegated spider plants are particularly striking

(Image credit: Clive Nichols / Corbis Documentary / Getty Images)

Spider plants are characterful little houseplants that can pleasantly surprise you with flowers and clusters of 'spiderettes' (which can easily be propagated).

They're also another plant known for having air-purifying qualities. 'They can help remove pollutants like formaldehyde and xylene from indoor air, contributing to a healthier living environment,' Kayla highlights.

She notes that these plants prefer bright, indirect light but can tolerate lower light conditions. 'They like to dry out slightly between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so ensure they are in well-draining soil and pots.'

5. Pothos

pothos on windowsill

Pothos are ideal if you're looking for a trailing plant

(Image credit: Grumpy Cow Studios / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

'Pothos plants are easy to care for and have lovely trailing vines, making them suitable for hanging baskets or cascading down shelves,' says Autumn. 'They are known for their air-purifying qualities and can thrive in a variety of light conditions.'

A few different types are available, including ones with lime-green or variegated leaves. They are also easy to propagate from cuttings, as I have happily discovered with my own.

'Allow the soil to dry out partially between waterings and avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves,' Autumn recommends.

Pothos plants are available from The Sill.

6. Aloe vera

aloe in pink pot

Aloes have a unique appearance

(Image credit: Tanya Paton / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

Houseplant expert Vladan Nikolic recommends aloes, highlighting how their succulent, spiky leaves add a distinctive look to an indoor garden. Plus, the plants have soothing properties and can be used for minor skin irritations, he adds.

They are drought-tolerant, Vladan continues – 'Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.' A well-draining cactus or succulent potting mix is well suited.

Vladan Nikolic
Vladan Nikolic

Vladan Nikolic, otherwise known as Mr. Houseplant, is a houseplant expert with over 10 years of experience. He is the founder of the houseplant care blog and also an influencer who helps newcomers in the houseplant world become great plant parents. You can find him on Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


Which is the best houseplant for boosting the mood in your home?

'We firmly believe that the benefits of indoor plants on mental health can be attained from any plant, as long as you choose the right one for yourself,' says Kayla Gajdascz. 'Since each person's needs and preferences vary, it is crucial to select a plant that aligns with your specific lifestyle and resonates with you.'

For instance, perhaps you're looking for a plant to help improve your sleep. If you're a keen cook, growing fresh herbs indoors can add joy to your kitchen endeavors. If you like the idea of creating miniature landscapes, terrariums are perfect, while low-maintenance plants are ideal for people who don't have much spare time.

What are some good options for mood-boosting houseplants with flowers?

Vibrant flowers always lift the mood, and some houseplants will bloom all year long, including orchids and kalanchoes. For something a little more seasonal, try Christmas cactuses with their fiery flowers in red and pink tones.

Jasmine is also a lovely, mood-boosting choice. It adds beauty and elegance to an indoor space, highlights plant expert Vladan Nikolic, adding that it also emits a sweet and soothing fragrance known to have calming effects. 'Place it in a sunny spot with at least four hours of direct sunlight per day,' he says. 'Without sufficient light, it will not produce its gorgeous blooms.'

Of course, a wilted plant doesn't have the same happiness-boosting effect as one in prime health. Instead, it can be rather disheartening. So remember to care for your plant babies properly, watering them when needed and keeping them away from central heating, especially during winter.

Holly Crossley
Contributing Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then; over the years, she's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator. Having worked for for two years, Holly now regularly writes about plants and outdoor living for Homes & Gardens.