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top three happy plants
woman office happy plant

Plants are scientifically proven mood boosters, and many studies have shown the positive effects that gardening can have on your psyche.

Getting outdoors, or even just having a plant on your desk can help relieve stress, boost immunity, and think more clearly, leaving you feeling positive and ready to take on the day.

Whilst there are hundreds of plants to put a smile on your face, there are a select few that have shown to really make you grin.

Back in 2013, I conducted a little experiment at the Chelsea Flower Show. We used facial recognition cameras to monitor visitor’s facial expressions when shown images of various plants.

Over 30,000 people gave it a go, and the cameras tracked eye movement, expression and engagement to figure out which plants received the most attention.

positive power of plants

The following three plants were crowned the champions, and they could be the three plants that are most likely to put a smile on your face! Why not try planting one of them in your garden and tapping into the positive power of plants.

Lily of the Valley

The nation’s number one happy plant, Lily of the Valley, is ironically extremely poisonous when consumed, so take care when growing it if you have small children.

One of the reasons people responded to this plant was because it reminded them of walking in the woods and seeing sprigs of the plant growing wild.

They have creamy white bell-shaped flowers that nod in the wind, and will make a charming addition to any garden, in the borders or perhaps underneath a tree. Extremely easy to grow, you can plant them by seed in containers and then move them to a shady location with moist soil.


They are very low maintenance, and make good ground cover for shady spots, as they will spread up to half a metre. So for a nostalgic nodding plant guaranteed to make you smile, chose Lily of the Valley for your next garden addition.

Sweet Pea


Coming in at second place, Sweet Pea proved popular due to childhood memories of gardening with loved ones and grandparents.

They come in a huge variety of bright and pastel colours, with a frilly, delicate and often sweetly fragrant flower head.

They work well in a sunny or partially shaded area in fertile well-drained soil.

Make sure you deadhead them regularly, and they also benefit from regular fertilising


In third place was the fragrant climbing plant Jasmine, which evoked memories of happy holidays abroad for a lot of people.

There are a few different varieties, some that flower in summer and some that are winter flowering, but all varieties produce pretty flowers and are fairly easy to grow in English gardens.

A summer flowering jasmine will do well against a sunny, sheltered wall or trellis. A winter flowering jasmine is tolerant of partial shade and are more frost hardy, so use this type for a south east or northwest aspect.


So, there you have them, the nation’s three favourite happy plants that will help to put a smile back on your face.

These three came out on top during our experiment mostly because they evoked some kind of happy memories for the person looking at them, rather than some particular physical attribute.

Why not try to think of the plants you associate with your happiest memories, and then dot them around your garden?

happy plant gardening

This will help to promote positive feelings when you’re out and about in your garden, or even when you glance outside from the kitchen window.


Don’t forget to let me know in the comments, or via social media, which your favourite happy plants are!


Check out the full blog from the Positive Power of Plants experiment:

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Positive Power of Plants

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