If you dove into plant ownership a little too quickly and enthusiastically, you’re not alone. Many new plant owners find the hobby addicting, leading them to acquire a large number of houseplants in a short amount of time. But how many plants is too much? Is there such a thing? How many plants should I have in my house?
In this article, we’ll discuss whether it’s good to have a large number of plants, the benefits, and when to slow down.
What You'll Learn Today
What Are the Benefits of Indoor Plants?
There have been many studies on the effects of houseplants on mental health over the years. Based on the results, it’s clear that owning, or even just being in a space with indoor plants can lead to many positive changes.
Here are some examples of the benefits:
- Plant care can be therapeutic: Research has shown that horticultural therapy can benefit people with mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
- Plants can improve focus: Being around plants can lead to better concentration and an increased attention span, according to a small 2019 study.
- Indoor plants can boost recovery from illness: Research from a 2002 study suggested that being able to look at live plants led to quicker recovery times for post-surgery patients in the hospital.
It’s important to note that not all of the studies that shared the benefits of indoor plants were focused on being the sole caregiver of many houseplants. So, while it’s clear that being around plants has largely positive effects, it doesn’t mean that plant ownership is right for everyone.
Whether you personally are benefitting from taking care of your plants is the most important question to ask yourself.
Can Plants Reduce Stress Levels?
A study published in 2015 concluded that caring for indoor plants can reduce both psychological and physiological stress, producing a calming effect. Based on the conditions of the study, however, one might theorize that this entirely depends on the person.
In the study, 12 men in their 20s were instructed to repot a houseplant, while 12 of the same age were given a computer task to perform. Researchers found that the group who completed the plant-related tasks had lower heart rates, lower blood pressures, and felt more relaxed than the other group.
The only thing used for comparison with performing a single plant task was a computer-related task. If researchers changed the nature of the plant activity or substituted a computer task with a different job, the results might have been different.
In short, houseplants may reduce stress for some people, but everyone is different. If your growing indoor plant collection is making you feel stressed, don’t feel obligated to take on more than you can handle just because it’s supposed to reduce stress.
How Many Plants is Too Many in a House?
Researchers have not found any obvious evidence that shows that indoor plants are bad for your house or your health. That being said, you can certainly conclude that a certain number of plants might be too much for someone to handle.
Here are a few ways to tell if you have too many houseplants:
If plant care is no longer relaxing or enjoyable to you, and you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might have too many plants. The purpose of any hobby is to add fulfillment and joy to your life.
If you’re not enjoying your hobby, it’s probably time to make some changes.
You Don’t Have Time
If you feel like watering, cleaning, and generally keeping an eye on your plants is starting to take up too much of your time, you may need to pare down your collection. The concept of “not enough time” to care for them can be subjective, however.
It might be better to say that if you feel like the time you’re spending on caring for your plants could be better spent elsewhere, or you no longer want to spend the time it takes to get the task done, then you may have too many plants.
You’re Running Out of Space
If it’s getting difficult to navigate certain areas of your home, you might want to thin out your collection. This also depends on how you’re utilizing your space, however.
If your plants are taking up a lot of space, but you still enjoy caring for all of them, then see if you can make some adjustments. If your window space is dominated by plants and making the room feel cramped, for example, you can look for alternative spots for some of those plants and/or arrange them in a different way.
If your window plants need that light, then consider purchasing a grow light. With the proper amount of light, you can hang some of your plants out of the way or put them on a shelf.
It’s Affecting Your Financial Health
Plant care is a great hobby, partly due to its potential to be inexpensive. However, the more plants you have, costs can get high pretty quickly.
If you have a lot of plants that are picky with the type of water, soil, fertilizer, and humidity levels they receive, for example, you might find yourself spending more money than you would like to make them happy.
If you have expendable income, there’s nothing wrong with investing in something you enjoy. It’s a good idea to add “hobby money” to your budget each month and try to stick to it.
If your high-maintenance plants are eating your budget, you may want to think about finding a new home for them or trading for some low-maintenance plants.
For a good example of a well-known plant YouTuber that decided she had way too many plants, here’s an entertaining video:
Caring for indoor plants can be a soothing way to center yourself and spend quality time surrounded by natural beauty. However, you only reap the benefits of plant care if you’re enjoying it.
Listen to your body, be honest with yourself, and know your limits to determine the right number of plants for you.