Studies show that all plants provide mental health benefits. Constantly seeing and being around plants help us feel more calm and relaxed, thus decreasing levels of anxiety. Nurturing and caring for our plants can also reduce stress levels and boost our mood.
Lavender is renowned for its richly fragrant flowers and aromatic foliage. This easy-to-grow shrub is best planted in spring, thrives in a sunny spot and flowers in late spring and summer.
Always at the top of the list for natural anxiety busters, lavender is the source of one of the most popular essential oils and boasts many benefits when inhaled, such as improvement in short-term memory, stress relief and relaxation. Its floral smell is effective at decreasing anxiety and providing a calm atmosphere.
As your lavender grows, you can clip the flowers and use them in tea or hang them upside-down for about a week to dry before using them as a fragrant décor indoors.
Jasmines are evergreen or deciduous climbers and can be summer or winter flowering. Summer-flowering jasmines are climbers with clusters of small, fragrant flowers, usually white or pale pink. Winter jasmine is a popular reliable shrub whose bright yellow flowers help to bring cheery colour throughout the colder months.
All jasmines have small star-shaped flowers with a sweet and distinctive fragrance. This delicious fragrance is known for helping to ease the body from anxiety. When surrounded by jasmine, it’s likely we’ll feel less anxious and more at peace.
Jasmine is best planted somewhere sunny, warm and sheltered, preferably near a seated area so as to enjoy the scent of the flowers.
Lemon balm comes from the mint family and is a bushy perennial herb with oval, lemon-scented leaves with scalloped edges, and leafy spikes of creamy-white or pale purple flowers in summer. Also known as “melisa,” the plant is rich in pollen and attracts bees, hence the name, melisa: the Greek word for “bee”.
The leaves are used as a herb, in teas and also as a flavouring. They have strong relaxing properties and are used to combat stress, anxiety and insomnia.
Popularly known for being a culinary herb, rosemary is a perennial herb from the mint family and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. A sun-loving shrub whose scent evokes the Mediterranean, rosemary has needle-like leaves that can be picked all year round. It is so easy to grow outside that some people plant rosemary in place of more traditional shrubbery outdoors.
Rosemary essential oil has a woodsy fragrance and is considered a mainstay in aromatherapy, not just for its pleasant smell but also because it calms the body while energising the mind. Rosemary oil also has a wide range of other uses, from improving memory function to relieving stress and anxiety.
Research shows that simply inhaling the aroma of rosemary essential oil can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your blood.
The Gerbera daisy is very colourful and adds a dynamic element to any garden, regardless of its size. Gerberas bear huge daisy-like blooms on long stems, from clumps of lobed leaves and are attractive to bees and other pollinating insects. Long-flowering, they’re perfect for pots, adding colour to borders and even indoor conservatory displays. Gerbera daisies come in many colours from bright shades of hot pink, red and yellow to cooler pastel yellows, pale pink and white.
People often associate gerbera daisies with beauty and cheerfulness and that’s why gerberas are a great flower for offering anti-anxiety and relaxation benefits. Not only are they a great stress reliever, there is also something inherently charming about these flowers.
Chrysanthemums offer valuable, late flowers in September and October. These perennial plants are either hardy or half-hardy and can be grown in containers, as house plants or in a border.
Chrysanthemums flower in an incredible range of different colours. Early-flowering chrysanthemums can be planted in ornamental borders and will flower from late summer to autumn. Late-flowering chrysanthemums flower in winter and are grown as house plants. For a reliable perennial chrysanthemum, choose hardy garden varieties that can be left in the ground all year round.
Chrysanthemums naturally brighten any space they’re in, bringing a sense of joy and calm to our gardens and homes and helping to lessen symptoms of worry and stress. These flowers have also been proven to purify air and by removing toxins in the air, this helps our bodies relax a bit more too.
For anyone who doesn’t have a garden, a cost-effective way of bringing the benefits of outdoors inside is by investing in some houseplants. Here are a couple of suggestions which have been proven to help with our mental health needs.
The snake plant is a popular house plant with sword-like leaves. Its pointed leaves have given it the nickname ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’. There are several different varieties, all with slightly different shapes and leaf colours.
The snake plant could be described as the perfect house plant – it always looks fresh but is extremely durable and requires very little attention to grow. It isn’t fussy about its location and needs little watering.
Known to provide a strong protective energy, the snake plant can effectively reduce anxiety, respiratory problems and headache symptoms. It is also a good air purifier - NASA research has shown that it can remove toxins, such as formaldehyde and benzene, from the air inside our homes.
The red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata) is a striking houseplant that has elegant long, thin leaves with the characteristic crimson edges and can grow quite tall (up to the ceiling).
It is a low maintenance plant that doesn’t require much watering and can last for years. Whilst it prefers a bright or lightly shaded spot, it will also tolerate low-light conditions.
The red-edged dracaena is known to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Its air-purifying qualities eliminates toxins in the air, helping to create a relaxing, clean ambience in your home while also eliminating toxins in the air.