Experts have identified the ultimate houseplant leaf shape to lift your mood

  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.

  • Any room will look better with the addition of a houseplant or two. Be it a bookshelf of cacti in aged terracotta pots or a fiddle leaf fig perched elegantly in the living room, house plant ideas instantly uplift a space.

    But which plants are the ultimate mood-boosters? A study conducted by the Royal Horticultural Society and the University of Reading shows that happy, healthy plants with rounded leaves make us feel better. And neglected plants are worse than none at all.

    Image credit: Future Publishing Ltd / Tim Young

    The ultimate houseplant leaf shape to lift your mood

    ‘Plants which people find attractive and interesting are likely to give us the biggest well-being boost,’ begins lead researcher Jenny Berger, at the University of Reading. ‘Green, lush plants will bring a healthy feeling to the indoor environment.’

    By showing participants images of different species, they found people reacted positively to lush plants with rounded leaves. These characteristics are reflected in many of our favourite houseplants, like the weeping fig, calathea, and monstera.

    So rather than an aloe vera, opt for non-spiky-leafed varieties like a cute little Chinese money plant (above), a rubber plant or bird of paradise. Palms, although a little spiky, did also have positive associations, evoking holidays and happy memories. Bring a tropical feel to your living room ideas with a large palm tucked in a corner by the window or arching over the sofa.

    navy dining area with table, chairs, mantle piece and plants

    Image credit: Future Publishing Ltd / Caroline Barker

    As for the most ‘beautiful’ plants, participants ranked those with a softer, rounded foliage, like devil’s ivy the highest (below, in pink macramé hanging planter).

    See also  Experts reveal 5 most important things to get right when flipping a property

    Dr Tijana Blanusa is principal horticultural scientist at the RHS and one of the study’s researchers. ‘This study adds weight to the important role houseplants can play in improving mental health and well-being in the indoor environment,’ says Dr Tijana Blanusa. ‘Not everyone has a garden, but most of us can find space for a houseplant.’

    On the other hand, unhealthy plants were found to negatively affect people’s perception of their indoor environment. Researchers recommend getting rid.

    houseplants hanging and displayed on a desk

    Image credit: Future Publishing Ltd / Tim Young

    Begin with low-maintenance plants like a monstera or rubber plant and be careful not to overwater.

    Houseplants generally only have a small effect on air quality. But the positive feelings associated with them mean they have a greater effect on improving well-being and reducing stress.

    Off to the garden centre we go!