Houseplants don’t just make our homes feel cozier, they can also have amazing health benefits. Some zap toxins in the air, while others boost your focus — and they all help ease anxiety and stress. When it comes to better sleep, there’s a plant for that, too! The Christmas cactus could be just what you need to catch some more Zzzs this holiday season.
The Christmas cactus gets its name from the time of the year when it tends to bloom. (There’s a Thanksgiving cactus and an Easter cactus, too!) If kept in the right condition, the cactus will bloom colorful flowers in its tips during the festive season, making it a great accompaniment to your Christmas decorations, as well as bringing health benefits to your life.
What are the health benefits of houseplants?
Like we said, houseplants have some pretty amazing health benefits. Snake plants, for example, help purify the air in your home, while spider plants can boost focus by zapping harmful chemicals. And breathing cleaner air can definitely help keep us healthier!
When it comes to the Christmas cactus, its benefits are similar — with one key difference. While most plants emit oxygen during the day, this blooming beauty does its best work at night. The Christmas cactus releases oxygen throughout the night and helps purify the air as you sleep. Pop one in your bedroom and you’ll be breathing cleaner air during those restful hours, adding better sleep to your life.
How to Care For a Christmas Cactus
Don’t have a green thumb? Don’t worry! The Christmas cactus is easy to care for.
The most important thing to know about keeping a Christmas cactus healthy is that while it looks like a regular succulent, it’s certainly not. This plant comes from the humid Brazilian rainforest, where it grows on tree branches. That means it gets a ton of humidity and tempered light — in other words, only the bits of light that shine through the trees.
So while other succulents prefer dry and bright conditions, this one will do best living in a spot that’s more shady. The Almanac suggests finding a place where it gets indirect light, like an east-facing window. When it starts blooming, make sure to water it more often to support healthy growth. That means watering it more during the winter, which is exactly the opposite of most houseplants.
Treat your Christmas cactus right, and you could be sleeping better in no time!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.