15 Calming Houseplants That Will Help You Relax

There are many benefits to incorporating houseplants into your living space or office. Not only are they lovely to look at, but as you care for them, they bring a mini dose of routine and responsibility amidst what might be a chaotic weekly schedule. They also have physical health benefits. According to SOS Future, houseplants can remove some pollutants from indoor spaces. This is great news since indoor air pollution can be as bad if not worse than outdoor areas. 

Houseplants also carry benefits when it comes to mental health. Certain plants, in particular, have long been credited with reducing stress levels and improving overall well-being. From English ivy to Chinese evergreen, using plants to boost mental health is an international remedy that has been known for generations — but only recently has been backed by legitimate science and research. 

Because we all want to feel our best, it's important to take the time to choose a houseplant that not only looks beautiful but will give you the rest and refreshment you deserve as you live out your busy life. Thanks to modern gardening methods and ease of importing, you'll likely be able to find any plant you dream of having at either your local home and garden store or by ordering through a website. 

1. Bamboo palm

The bamboo palm is visually lovely but also carries some mental health benefits. According to Taylor Counseling Group, it serves as a natural humidifier. With the air comfortable and calm in your home, you will likely experience an improved mood. Best of all, it's pretty difficult to kill this plant, which means it'll show you grace when you forget to water it. From bookshelf to windowsill, this plant does just fine without little sun, so place it anywhere you'd like. 

Sunlight Needs: Partial to full shade 

Water Needs: Low (via Plantz)

2. Basil Plant

Basil is a common herb in many kitchens, but it has multiple benefits when you take it out of your spice cabinet and onto your counter. According to Flower Aura, basil helps reduce stress by working as what's known as an adaptogen. You will find your mind clearer and your body calmer when you are near a basil plant. It's also a quick balm for common annoyances that will put you in a mood, including insect bites and scratchy throats.

Sunlight Needs: Full sun 

Water Needs: 1 inch of water per week (via Fiskars Group)

3. Lavender

Lavender has always been a popular plant because people appreciate its versatility. A recent study by Complementary Therapies in Medicine shows that it can also improve mental health. More specifically, it contains a compound known as Linalool, which works to sedate the nervous system. Besides all this, lavender smells amazing. Its aromatic properties bring a sense of calm and comfort, whether you have an actual lavender plant or a lotion, soap, or air freshener infused with it. 

Sunlight Needs: Full sun 

Water Needs: Every two weeks (via Gardener Report)

4. Peperomia obtusfolia

Peperomia obtusfolia sounds like a "Harry Potter" spell, but it's actually a chill little houseplant that, according to Anxiety Gone, contains a bit of magic. This plant reduces carbon dioxide levels and dust in the air and can also help cool down a room. Do you deal with dry skin or nosebleeds? Peperomia obtusfolia increases humidity — and when you physically look and feel your best, your well-being will improve as well. 

Sunlight Needs: Bright indirect

Water Needs: Low (via House Plant Central)

5. Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums are visually beautiful plants with their bright, fluffy blooms. Their beauty alone will brighten a day. But this flower contains some healing properties as well. According to Blue & Green Tomorrow, chrysanthemums are used in herbal tea for relaxation and stress relief. Chrysanthemum tea can also increase metabolism.

Sunlight Needs: Partial to full sun 

Water Needs: Water regularly (via Penn State Extension)

6. Peace lily

Peace lilies live up to their name, as they are a plant known for symbolizing peace, tranquility, and comfort. According to Planting Tree, they also remove toxins from your home, which will benefit both your physical and emotional health. The peace lily was also named by NASA as one of the top 10 air-purifying plants. Pretty good for a houseplant that is low maintenance and happy hanging out on your windowsill.

Sunlight Needs: Partial sun 

Water Needs: Water whenever soil is dry (via The National Gardening Association)

7. Monstera

The monstera plant is quite a contrast to some of the dainty potted plants mentioned prior. This plant can grow to be quite large and really set the vibe of a room. According to The Joy of Plants, monstera can balance the energies of a living space and promote mood improvement. This is especially helpful in a room that feels "blah" due to boring walls or everyday stresses like your home office. 

Sunlight Needs: Bright but indirect light 

Water Needs: Moderate 

8. Snake plant

The snake plant is the overachiever of the plant world when it comes to healing properties. According to Happy Sprout, snake plants can clear many toxins from the air. This includes many chemicals from cleaning products that can make you feel sluggish and sick. Fresher air and easier breathing equals a calmer, healthier head space to deal with the stresses of your day. 

Sunlight Needs: Bright indirect light

Water Needs: Water when the soil is completely dry (via Penn State Extension)

9. Peppermint plant

Thanks to its relation to Christmas and the holiday season, peppermint holds a special place in many hearts. But this spicy little plant is good for more than candy. According to My Garden Life, peppermint can improve a bad mood and slow racing thoughts. Best of all, it's easy to grow and can be used in several ways, from food to tea to essential oils. 

Sunlight Needs: Full sun to partial shade (via The National Gardening Association)

Water Needs: 2 times per week (via Gardener Report)

10. Succulents

According to Green Leaf Interior Plant Solutions, succulents can decrease negative feelings such as stress or anxiety. They can also increase productivity and concentration. Those are some big claims for a plant that is so low maintenance, but the science backs it up. Since succulents come in so many varieties and are incredibly easy to maintain, it's no wonder we receive a serotonin boost when we add one to our home. In fact, Cactus Way states that succulents have even been proven to help those with PTSD. 

Sunlight Needs: Full sun 

Water Needs: Low (via Succulent Plant Care)

11. Aloe vera

Aloe vera's claim to fame is soothing sunburns but can also help soothe anxiety and depression. According to Active Beat, this plant can filter out formaldehyde that is often found indoors. A medical study via Modern Care Journal has shown that those struggling with depression have experienced improvement after taking powdered aloe vera. So whether you have it as a house plant to purify your living space or use it medicinally, aloe vera is potentially very beneficial to mental health. 

Sunlight Needs: Full sun 

Water Needs: Very little water (via The National Gardening Association)

12. Money plant

Just the name "money plant" sounds like a good thing that is going to reduce some stress. Unfortunately, this plant won't pay your bills, but there are some studies that show it can help with anxiety. According to Gift a Love, money plants bring positive energy into a room by filtering out toxins and upping oxygen levels. Feng shui experts advise keeping a money plant in your bedroom to help with restless sleep. 

Sunlight Needs: Bright indirect

Water Needs: Lightly moist (via Garden Betty)

13. Rosemary

Kids of Italian grandmas likely have fond memories of fresh rosemary in the kitchen, and that same scent can bring about comfort and calm. And according to Balcony Garden Web, it can also help boost brain function. By improving your mood, lowering your stress level, and potentially increasing your productivity due to a clearer mind, there isn't any reason to wait to purchase a rosemary plant for your home office. 

Sunlight Needs: Full sun 

Water Needs: Dry to slightly moist (via The National Gardening Association)

14. English ivy

English ivy can be grown indoors in its lovely vine form with a bit of expertise, but it can also be potted. According to Dr. Axe, it also has a lot of healthy benefits. These include its ability to remove mold spores from the air and increase humidity levels. When your air is clean, temperate, and safe, you will sleep better and be more mentally stable, alert, and ready to take on your day.

Sunlight Needs: Partial sun

Water Needs: Water daily (via U.S. Forest Service)

15. Chinese evergreen

Plants are often used for medicinal purposes, and bringing components of the outdoors into the home is important for well-being. This is especially true for plants like the Chinese evergreen, which is known for its ability to boost well-being and purify the air. According to Nelda, it can filter out toxins and is also visually beautiful if you're also hoping for some new home décor. 

Sunlight Needs: Partial light

Water Needs: Water when top two inches are dry (via Planterina)