Even though the holiday season is behind us, winter has only just begun, and here on the east coast we’re in for at least two more months of gray days, early nights, and forecasts of freezing rain and snow showers. Thankfully, my favorite Christmas gifts this year are the perfect antidotes to these gloomy conditions (especially in the absence of twinkle lights and garland): colorful cacti. In simply glancing at these three tiny plants–whose size belies their stores of positive energy, and even of higher intelligence–I find a sense of relief and renewal in contrast to the dismal weather outside the window right beside them.
But houseplants like these succulents do more than boost your mood. Scientific studies, including by NASA, have shown that plants can significantly reduce the levels of toxins in your home as well as those of stress and depression. By taking into consideration lighting and temperature conditions, you can add flora that will thrive, improve your health and attitude, and bring a fresh, natural aesthetic–and make your house even greener.