Can Houseplants Make You Smarter?

By Colleen Vanderlinden, Planet Green

Houseplants clean the air and brighten a room. Occasionally, they drive us mad as we wonder how exactly we managed to kill yet another “unkillable” houseplant. (In that way, they provide great lessons in perseverance as well!) But it looks like there’s one more great reason to grow houseplants: their presence in your workspace might actually make you smarter.

According to a recent study published in The Journal of Environmental Psychology, just having plants in your work space is enough to increase your attention span. An increase in attention span means that we’re able to remember more of what we read. To test the hypotheses, the study’s authors gave subjects a Reading Span Task, which requires reading sentences aloud, then remembering the last word in each sentence. This requires reading, memorization, and recall abilities, and switching between the three.

The researchers had their entire test pool complete Reading Span Tasks to get a baseline reading. Then they moved some of the people to a room with no plants, and others to a room that had four plants around the desk. They were all asked to repeat the Reading Span Tasks, and the people who worked near a plant improved overall, while those without plants stayed roughly the same.

Beauty, fresh air, the joy of caring for another living thing — all great reasons to have a few houseplants around. If they help increase attention spans, all the better!

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Mary J.
Mary Jakubiak4 years ago

Maybe we should fill all classrooms with plants.

Elena B.
Elena Bonati4 years ago

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Sonia Minwer-Barakat Requ
Sonia M4 years ago

Very interesting.Thanks for sharing

Ben Oscarsito
Ben O4 years ago

Well, I don't know...but without my plants it would be VERY empty in here!

Liling O4 years ago

Thank you so much for this blog.
Well, I do not know how true it will makes us smart, but one thing for sure is that, plants really lifted our moods up when we are feeling down at times.
In many fast-paced big major cities, it really makes us feel good and relaxed to see a plant growing well when we retreat to our own sanctuary each evening!

Lucia Cabrera
Lucia Cabrera4 years ago

time to get some plants for the inside!

a             y m.
g d c5 years ago


Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Viki V.
Viki A5 years ago

thank you

Heidi R.
Past Member 5 years ago

Interesting study.