Experts reveal the mood-boosting plant you need to have in your home and yard

A new study finds that exotic palm trees and plants have the ability to improve our mental health and well-being

swimming pool with patio, loungers and palm trees planted in the backyard
(Image credit: Life Created/Living With Lolo)

When the Royal Horticultural Society and the University of Reading in the UK asked people what they really thought of houseplants in a recent research study, palms were found to have especially positive associations, as they reminded participants of holidays and happy memories.

They often feature on lists of the best indoor plants, as well as being a popular choice for outdoors, but just what is it about them that makes them a favorite for so many? 

'Palm plants are popular because they are easy to care for and they look great,' says Melody Estes, a landscape design gardening supervisor and consultant at The Project Girl (opens in new tab). 'They also add a touch of the tropics to any space, which makes them ideal for homes that have an airy, beachy feel.'

potted palm plant in a living room

(Image credit: Blickwinkel/Alamy Stock Photo)

Palms create instant kudos

Kevin Lenhart, head of design and licensed landscape architect at Yardzen (opens in new tab) says that if he was to add just one plant to a home or garden to create 'a calm, lush and slightly cheeky atmosphere', it would a palm. 

'There's a link between the beachy, carefree aura of palms and other trends in outdoor design, like retro fringe umbrellas and modern wicker seating,' he says. 'The common denominator is a wish to balance upscale, detailed design with a comfortable, texture-forward atmosphere.'

number of palm trees planted in a garden

(Image credit: Architectural Plants)

Kevin says that the palm plant, whether planted in the soil – many are climate-resistant – or in a large, impactful garden planter is a garden trend that’s here to stay for a good while because it’s reflected everywhere. 

'We see the palm tree motif popping up all around us in fashion and home decor, so it follows that people are looking to include the real thing in and around their homes.'

palm tree growing in a container on a balcony

(Image credit: Architectural Plants)

Easy to care for, hard to kill

'Look, growing plants is cool in general, but it's not an easy task for most, especially for those with busy lives,' says Douglas Dedrick, a landscaper and contributor to YourGreenPal.com (opens in new tab)

'Palm plants are a great option for anyone that wants to get into gardening, whether that is indoors or out. Not only are they a low-maintenance plant, but they are also pest-resistant and you would almost have to try to kill them. 

'Further, they look great too! And really bring life to any indoor garden or garden bed they are placed in. And that is why they are so cool.'

Jayne Dowle
Jayne Dowle

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.