The Power of Flowers Indoors

I ALWAYS WANT FLOWERS IN MY HOUSE, and now I know why. A behavioral study conducted by Harvard Medical School has concluded that flowers indoors affect our emotional well-being in a positive way. The arrangement above, which designer Erin Brady created for my entrance hall, makes me feel positively euphoric. Closeups of this inexpensive but lavish display, and more details about the  power of flowers:
Harvard’s Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., who led the flowers-indoors behavioral-study,  announced in a press release that “Other research has proven that flowers make people happy when they receive them.  What we didn’t know is that spending a few days with flowers in the home can affect a wide variety of feelings.”

More from Harvard’s press release: Study participants who lived with fresh cut flowers for less than a week felt an increase in feelings of compassion and kindness for others.

“Flowers chase away anxieties, worries and the blues at home. Overall, people in the study simply felt less negative after being around flowers at home for just a few days. Participants most frequently placed the flowers in their kitchens, dining rooms and living rooms, where they spent a lot of time at home. They reported wanting to see the blooms first thing in the morning.”

“Having flowers at home can have a positive carry-over impact on our mood at work, too. The study found that people were more likely to feel happier and have more enthusiasm and energy at work when flowers were in their home living environments.”

Well. I didn’t need a scientific study to tell me that flowers indoors are a great mood-enhancer. Did you?

The components of the above arrangement, in case you wish to replicate it:

Primary accent – soft pink roses, white hydrangea, blue ‘Pacific Giant’ delphinium, blue iris

Secondary accent – pink and white chrysanthemums; pink-speckled white alstromeria; fragrant, dark-purple wax-flower

Greenery for background – ferns, azalea

Spilling over the arrangement is a medium-green ornamental grass

Related Posts:
Flowers for Jon Meachum’s Visit
Now in Bloom: May, 2012
My Favorite Roses


  1. Darlene says:

    What a beautiful arrangement! I always have flowers in my house, too. In summer they come from my garden, but in winter I buy them from the local flower shop. The sight of fresh flowers, no matter the season, always makes my heart sing.

  2. Donna B. says:

    I bet all of that came from your gardens. it’s splendiferous! ♥

    I normally have flowers in my home, but in the form of dried flowers… hee hee! I like using sedum and other seed pods sprayed with a shiny gesso for arranging. Helps in the winter months.
    I lack the late spring, early summer flowers… I’ve been known to cut grass that are in-bloom just to have SOMETHING in a vase. Alas, once my cosmos start erupting, I have an endless supply of them. They’re electric orange. Love, love, LOVE. ♥

  3. I keep lots of green houseplants going year round but the kitchen table flowers have been seasonal and from my little container garden. Thanks to you, Kevin, I’ve decided to try to grow some of my petunia seeds indoors so we can have flowers in the winter too! Thanks for all of your fabulous information and gorgeous pictures! 🙂

  4. Mary Lou in Central NY says:

    I work in a nursing home with a beautiful garden. Just today I pinched a magenta sweet william, put it in a glass with some water, and kept it on the medication cart with me all day. Everyone who saw it commented on how pretty it was!

  5. Donna B. – Electric orange cosmos — hot, hot, hot!

    T – You will love having petunias in winter. I take cuttings of mine in August, and then bring them indoors before frost. They do well under fluorescent lights. They start to bloom in December, first under the lights, and then in window gardens. What a scent!

    Mary Lou in Central NY – What a sweet idea. And if the flowers give your patients a little joy, why not provide them regularly?

  6. This confirms what I’ve always felt, but never known. I used to send my mom a monthly floral arrangement from a florist near her home. I didn’t know it was scientifically-proven to be beneficial, but for a lady who had loved to garden her entire adult life, this had to be a good thing. Thanks for confirming my instinct!

  7. What a beautiful arrangement you have! Even the photo provides joy. I have always been able to literally “feel” the lift that flowers bring to my soul. Once, when I knew I was going to have to spend 8 weeks in a hospital bed after a grueling surgery, and in the dead of winter, I deliberately placed a hanging basket filled with primroses and pansies outside a window where I could see it every day. It provided such a lift amid the painful recovery. Thank you for sharing the beauty of your home and gardens with us. Some of us long for such a beautiful setting and as an avid gardener who can no longer garden as I used to, it pains me to see my flower beds inundated with weeds that I can do nothing about. The flowers still struggle bravely through the weeds and look cheery even there. I look forward to your beautiful photos of how a home and garden should look.

  8. Wow. Who knew? I always thought flowers were nice, but a study showing an actual increase in good feeling and compassion, that’s amazing. This will give me another excuse to bug my husband some more about bringing me flowers just out of the blue.

  9. I buy flowers for the house every week (Saturday morning ritual) and if I don’t or can’t, the sense of wellbeing is missing immediately – never thought my instincts would be proven by Harvard Medical School – thanks Kevin!

  10. Wow. This is the first response I have given and on an older topic. Some of the posts above are so very powerful. I have to cut and paste some of them they are so worthwhile!

    Your chive pesto was way too powerful for me even though I love pesto, but I have been successful with the milk carton gardening, grateful for the African violet information, appreciative of so much more and ready to try a tomato pie!

  11. Well I’m also going to comment on this older post…..never too old when flowers are involved anyway.

    So after reading this piece, thought to myself, I need to gather flowers from my yard regularly, since there are so many and So turned away from the computer to see some hydrangea flowers I dried and stuck unceremoniously in a vase – they look lovely actually. Sooo, thought, also, that you could post a tutorial on drying flowers for indoor use, etc. Maybe you’ve already done this and I’ve missed it, and maybe you don’t want to, but that was my thought. ha.

    I enjoy all your postings, you’re funny and completely candid and….. I am jealous of those legs from the recent post where you’re painting the Music Room Arch. Nice choice of color…..looks so much softer in that room without that glaring white begging for center-stage.

  12. Jeanie Jackson says:

    First time visitor to your website and so delighted to see your garden,tips, recipes and all that you offer the visitor. As a Master Gardener and member of the East Side Garden Club and Herb Society here in Greeneville, Tn so much of what you offer is transferable to so many of our projects. Thank you for willingly sharing so much information. It is my plan to let everyone know about your site . I know they will find it just as wonderful. Blessings, from a beautiful county and city of our state.

  13. I have 3 large hydrangea bushes. They bloom beautiful blue full flowers. I actually have 2 questions.
    1. My hydrangea bushes have black spots on the leaves. I have tried a fungicide Natria. I don’t think I have used it properly, or consistently rather so that may be the reason it has not gone away. It does not appear to affect the flowers as they continue to bloom without any indication of a plant fungus. Do you know of a simpler way to get rid of these nasty looking black spots?

    2. How do I dry the beautiful hydrangea flowers so that I can enjoy them year round?

    I just found your site. I am stuck like glue !
    Have a great day !! On I live in Swansea, South Carolina. Zone 7b ? Also my yard is all direct sunlight !

Speak Your Mind