Posted on: 21.01.2023 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

The practice of keeping houseplants can be traced back to 2,500 years ago. Today, it has become popular as people have plants in their homes, offices, classrooms, and hospitals.

Houseplants have both psychological and physical benefits for people, but how many plants are enough to have in a room?

Houseplants become too many when you cannot properly care for them. This can be due to high maintenance costs or lack of time. So, your plants might be too many if the hobby becomes an expensive and time-consuming activity.

This article covers various topics related to houseplants, including the right number of plants depending on space, the benefits of keeping houseplants, and how to best care for them.

What is the Appropriate Number of Plants in a Room?

The number of plants you can have in a room depends on several factors, including:

  • The size of your room
  • The available shelf space to place them
  • The available window space to hang them

For some people, having a large plant is fine, while others prefer multiple varieties of houseplants.

In the end, the plants should enhance the appearance of the room rather than making it look cluttered.

Remember that the purpose of houseplants is to make the space more appealing, not to turn it into a greenhouse.

Therefore, the appropriate number of houseplants allows people to move freely and comfortably in the room, reaching all corners without having to push plant leaves out of the way.

To effectively use the available space, place plants where they best fit according to their size. Also, position them in a way that allows you to reach them for watering and general plant care.

How to Determine if You Have Too Many Plants

You don’t have too many plants as long as you enjoy taking good care of them. General care and maintenance of houseplants include:

  • Watering
  • Fertilizing
  • Removing weeds
  • Pruning
  • Controlling pests

However, the number of houseplants in your room may exceed the ideal limits. The following are indications that you might have too many plants in your space:

  • You have no more space to place your plants.
  • The plants are more than you want to care for.
  • You don’t have enough money to care for the plants.
  • You don’t have enough time to care for the plants. This can lead to chronic underwatering.
  • You no longer enjoy taking care of the plants.
  • You feel very exhausted after taking care of the plants.

Therefore, time, money, and space are the three factors by which you can determine if your houseplants have become too many.

The table below shows the relationship between the above three factors and the ideal number of houseplants. So, it helps you make a decision on how many plants you can have in your room.

Number of Plants Required Time per Week Costs of Acquisition and Maintenance Required Space per Square Foot (929 square centimeters)
1 4 minutes $5 1
2 8 minutes $7 2
4 40 minutes $20 6
20 3 hours $55 32
40 6 hours $100 65

Dangers of Having ‘Too Many’ Houseplants

Some people think that having ‘too many’ houseplants can deplete all the available oxygen in the house for breathing at night, depriving them of oxygen.

However, this is not the case, as houseplants consume less oxygen for respiration than you need.

The nighttime respiration rate of houseplants is relatively low compared to the photosynthesis rate during the day. Therefore, houseplants only take in minimal oxygen from the atmosphere at night.

Therefore, the main dangers of having ‘too many’ houseplants include the following:

  • There is no room or space for people to move or sit comfortably on furniture in the house.
  • The room is not well-lit during the day as the plants block natural sunlight.
  • Your home becomes cluttered due to too many plants.
  • You feel overwhelmed with caring for the plants.
  • You no longer enjoy having the plants around.
  • Your children or pets consume some dangerous plants.

Why You Should Have the ‘Right Number’ of Houseplants

Many people keep houseplants for fun and as a hobby. These plants have many benefits, some of which you may not have considered.

According to research conducted by a gardening initiative called Plant Life Balance in collaboration with RMIT University in Melbourne, the two main benefits of plants are improved air quality and better well-being.

Maintaining the right number of houseplants has the following benefits:

They Facilitate Breathing

Adding plants to your space helps increase the oxygen level in the room. During the day, plants take in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and release the oxygen we need to breathe. So, you become natural partners to plants in this symbiosis.

Some plants even take in carbon dioxide at night and release oxygen. These include:

  • Orchids
  • Succulents
  • Epiphytic bromeliads

Therefore, it’s best to place these in your bedrooms to refresh the air at night.

They Help Purify the Air

According to NASA studies, plants remove up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air every 24 hours. These compounds include:

  • Formaldehyde (found in cigarette smoke, shopping bags, carpets, and vinyl)
  • Benzene
  • Trichloroethylene (found in man-made fibers, inks, solvents, and paints)

The same NASA research also shows that plants draw these toxins into the soil, after which microorganisms convert them into plant nutrients.

The table below shows some plants that can effectively filter pollutants in indoor air:

Common Name of Plant Scientific Name of Plant
English Ivy Hedera helix
Devil’s Ivy/Pothos Plant Epipremnum aureum
Bamboo Palm Chamaedorea seifrizii
Chinese Evergreen Aglaonema modetum
Weeping Fig Ficus benjamina
Aloe Vera Aloe barbadensis miller
Janet Craig Dracaena deremensis
Warneckii Dracaena deremensis

The level of toxin removal increases with the number of plants in a room. So, the more houseplants you have, the more efficient they are at filtering toxins.

For example, in a 4 x 5m room, one plant can make the air 25% cleaner, while five plants can make the air 75% cleaner. Therefore, you would need around ten plants in such a room for optimal purification and well-being.

One plant can provide 45% cleaner air and low well-being in a 3.3 x 3.3m room. But two plants can provide up to 75% cleaner air and 50% higher well-being.

On the other hand, five plants achieve maximum health and well-being benefits.

Aside from the number, the size of the plant also helps in purifying the air. Hence, plants with larger leaves might be more advantageous than those with smaller leaves.

They Increase Recovery Rate from Illnesses

According to the American Society for Horticultural Science, having enough plants in hospital rooms increases the patients’ rate of recovery from surgery. It has been observed that placing plants in patient rooms:

  • Enhances positive feelings
  • Reduces worrying thoughts
  • Promotes stress recovery

Therefore, patients exhibit better outcomes, including:

  • Requesting less analgesics.
  • Reduced heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Less anxiety and fatigue.
  • Earlier discharge from the hospital.

It has also been found that having enough houseplants in offices reduces the rate of illness. Thus, people with plants in their office spaces experience less fatigue, colds, headaches, sore throats, and flu-like symptoms.

Furthermore, houseplants have the following psychological benefits:

  • They help improve mood.
  • They help reduce stress levels.
  • They help increase productivity in employees and students’ focus in the classroom.
  • They enhance response to a computer task.
They Increase Humidity

Plants release water vapor into the air (oxygen) through photosynthesis and respiration. This makes the air more humid, helping combat dryness and associated respiratory problems.

Therefore, keeping houseplants helps reduce the occurrence of dry skin, colds, sore throats, and dry cough.

How Should You Care for Your Houseplants?

It is not enough to have the right number of plants in your room. You need to take good care of them to enjoy their benefits.

Otherwise, your houseplants will wither and die if you do not meet their care and maintenance requirements.

Here’s how you can care for your houseplants:

Water them correctly

Houseplants have slightly different water requirements. Water your plants according to their needs and not based on a fixed calendar.

For instance, plants growing in a well-draining medium and in an appropriately sized container need water when the top ½ inch (1.27 cm) or 1 inch (2.54 cm) of the medium feels dry.

However, cacti and succulents require less frequent watering.

Overwatering is one of the primary causes of houseplants’ death. So, water them less rather than giving them too much water.

Add fertilizers appropriately

The fertilization of your houseplants depends on their growth rate, age, and season. Most houseplants show exponential growth in summer and spring, which is the best time to fertilize them.

However, growth is low in winter and fall. So, it’s not necessary to add much fertilizer during these seasons.

It would be helpful to follow the instructions on the label to know when you need to fertilize your plants, as overfertilization can burn the roots and result in stunted growth.

Also, use a fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium if your plants are flowering.

If your plant is very leafy and not flowering much, remember that it’s not advisable to add too much nitrogen as it will cause the plant to produce more leaves than flowers.

Propagate your plants when necessary

You can propagate some types of houseplants through division or any other method to rejuvenate them and promote new growth. Propagation also allows you to obtain free seedlings from your established plants.

For plants like bromeliads, divide the new shoots growing at the base of the mother plant and pot them in new containers.

For climbing houseplants like pothos, obtain cuttings where their stems touch the ground and use them to propagate your plants’ population.

Other houseplants like spider plants form runners that produce new plantlets. So, you can keep the planters and grow them in new pots.

Repot overgrown houseplants

If you notice that the roots of your plants are tightly packed in the container, then it might be time to repot them.

Transfer your plant into a larger container, trim its roots, or replace the medium with a fresh one if it has outgrown its container.

The best time to repot is in summer and spring.

Remove dust from your plants

Dust tends to accumulate on the leaves of plants. So, it’s best to remove it regularly. You can remove the dust by gently washing it off with room temperature water.

However, brush off dust with a soft brush instead of washing if the leaves are hairy.

This helps keep the plant healthy, as hairy leaves can hold moisture and attract diseases.

On the other hand, you can wipe the dust with a clean cloth if your plants have smooth leaves.

Removing the dust enhances the appearance of your plants and allows them to absorb light better.

Prune and pinch your plants

The ideal time to prune your houseplants is in the fall after a summer of growth. Pruning makes your plants look better and prevents them from becoming too large.

Just like propagation, pruning also helps rejuvenate the plants’ growth.

When pruning, remember to remove diseased or dead leaves or stems to prevent the spread of disease to the rest of the plant.

Pinching, which involves removing the tip of your plant, promotes the growth of lateral buds. Additionally, it helps the plant remain compact and fuller. You can pinch your plant with your fingernails or garden shears.

Watch out for pests and diseases in houseplants

If you notice a pest infestation, use recommended pesticides to eliminate the pests. Some natural pesticides include insecticidal soap and alcohol.

However, isolate any plant that becomes affected by disease from other plants to prevent transmission.

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