A Simple Guide to Feng Shui Indoor Plants

I believe everyone should have plants in their house.

Why?

To start, it’s because they are a great addition to the look and feel of your home. They bring life to an otherwise plain or stale environment. Further, they are quite easy to maintain.

But the main reason is because plants bring both health and feng shui benefits, as you will see in this guide. 

So if you’re looking to energize your home with more life, but need some tips and guidance on feng shui house plant selection and placements, then this guide is for you.

Let me begin with the health benefits of keeping indoor plants that are proven by scientific research.

9 Benefits of Keeping Indoor Plants Around You – Backed by Science

Studies have shown that keeping indoor plants improves our mental and physical health. Here are a few I found that cites credible sources.

Mental Health

1. Improves Concentration and Productivity. According to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, the mere presence of plants boosts a person’s ability to maintain attention and concentration. Along the same line, other studies have suggested that plants at work can increase productivity by 15%.

2. Generates Happiness. Multiple studies have cited that plants in the workplace increased employee satisfaction. Further, flowers are found to have the greatest impact. Research conducted at Rutgers shows that flowers have an immediate impact on happiness. The researchers were even shocked, because 100% of the people responded to flowers with a true or excited smile.

Researchers found that 100% of people responded to flowers with a true or excited smile.
Researchers found that 100% of people responded to flowers with a true or excited smile.

3. Reduces Stress. A study conducted by Washington State University and a study published by NCBI found that the presence of plants helped reduce employee stress levels. According to Dr. Leonard Perry from the University of Vermont, who cites similar research, stated that visual exposure to plants helped lessen stress within five minutes.

4. Inspires Compassion and Improves Relationships. Research has shown that people who spend more time with plants have better relationship with others. Exposure to the natural environment, which includes animals, nature, and wildlife, produced similar results.

5. Improves Energy and Performance. Not only do plants improve concentration and productivity, it also gives you feelings of vitality and increased work performance. In a study conducted by Texas A&M University, they found that both women and men experienced increase in innovative thinking, creative performance, and problem solving with the presence of plants and flowers in the workplace.

Though a bit overdone, how would you feel if your workplace looked something like this?
Though a bit overdone, how would you feel if your workplace looked something like this?

6. Improves Learning Abilities. A 2010 study of 101 public high schools in Michigan revealed that exposure to nature has a positive relationship to student’s performance. The performance was measured by standardized test scores, graduation rates, number of students planning to attend college, and number of occurrences in criminal behavior.

Physical Health

7. Accelerates Healing and Recovery Process. It turns out that hospital gardens bring natural medical benefits. Namely, it helps patients heal and recover faster. In a study conducted by HortTechnology, patients recovering from abdominal surgery in hospital rooms were tested. They found that the patients exposed to plants and hospital gardens had significantly fewer intakes of postoperative analgesics, more positive physiological responses, and more positive feelings.

8. Lowers Heart Rate and Blood Pressure. In the same study where patients were found to heal and recover faster, they found that indoor plants had the ability to lower heart rate and blood pressure. You can access the full article here.

Ok, so plants are great for us. However, these studies tell us little about what types of plants were used in their research (aside from flowers) and where they were placed (aside from outdoor gardens).

Here’s where feng shui comes in.

The Feng Shui of Indoor House Plants

So how do plants help feng shui?

If you know a little about feng shui, it’s mostly about how the eight cardinal directions affect us, how different shapes and forms influence us, and how Qi impacts our well-being. Practicing feng shui is about combining all of them together and using what’s in our control to improve our surrounding energy so that it’ll better our lives.

Plants are living and breathing beings. They produce much more energy than non-living, un-enchanted objects such as a typical three-legged frog that you can buy from Amazon.

The aura and energy mapping of plants – the before and after of using plants to cure Feng Shui’s Violence Star.
The aura and energy mapping of plants – the before and after of using plants to cure Feng Shui’s Violence Star.

It is that living energy from plants that are used to feng shui a house. Their energies are typically used to achieve the following goals:

Boost the Energy of an Area

Plants are living and breathing beings, and they can generate feelings of vitality and energy inside your home . It brings more life to an otherwise still environment.

Balance the Five Elements

All plants belong to the Wood element, and experts use them as a way to balance the elemental energy of a specific area. For instance, it can help boost the energy level of an area associated with wood, or weaken an area associated with water. But of course, there are other factors to consider when balancing the five elements, which we will discuss later.

Feng Shui’s five elements and their cycles of production, exhaustion, and destruction.
Feng Shui’s five elements and their cycles of production, exhaustion, and destruction.

Attract Love

Flowers are commonly used to attract love. One way is to place a few flowers in the bedroom. Another way is to place flowers in your Peach Blossom Luck area (more about this in the section below: Where to Place Indoor Plants). These are not recommended for those who are married or in a relationship.

Increase Learning Abilities

This is consistent with the scientific findings mentioned above, where plants are used to increase the academic performance of high schoolers. The plant suggested by feng shui is the “lucky bamboo”, where four straight bamboos are placed in the Wen Chang area. You will find more details about this in the section below: Where to Place Indoor Plants.

However, not all plants are the same when you want to use it for feng shui purposes.

The Types of Plants Matter

Feng Shui can get quite specific on what types of plants to use. Here, I’ll give you a brief overview of what these types are.

Shape and Size of Leaves

Round leaves are better than long pointy ones, and large leaves are better than small ones. Pointy leaves are disliked because its shape is bad Form (from the Form School of Feng Shui), whereas large round leaves are said to have the ability to attract positive energies.

Size of the Indoor Plant

Larger plants bring more energy, and smaller plants bring less. The suitable size totally depends on the five elements associated with that area. After reading this guide, you will understand why.

Flowers are Their Own Kind

Flowers are commonly used for feng shui love. Though flowers also belong to the Wood element, its colors also bring other types of visual enhancements and energy.

In terms of the Five Elements, Wood produces Fire. When the flowers bloom in colors such as red and pink, the energy of the Fire element are greatly enhanced. This may or may not be ideal, which again depends on the placement of the flowers.

Cacti are Their Own Kind

You probably guessed this already. Most cacti do not have leaves. Instead, they have needles, which brings negative energy just by its Form and shape (from the Form School of Feng Shui). The negative energies of sharp objects attack our sense of security, put us on guard, and creates discomfort.

Cactus have sharp needles that puts us on guard and can potentially hurt us.]
Cactus have sharp needles that puts us on guard and can potentially hurt us.]

By now, you should have an idea of how plants are used and how different types of plants enhance the feng shui of an area. Let us now go deeper into where you should place them in your house.

Where NOT to Place Indoor House Plants

This section goes deeper into some of the feng shui concepts described earlier.

We will mainly be using the five elements and the type of room to tell you where NOT to place indoor plants.

1. Center of the House. The center area of your home belongs to the Earth element. Because Wood has the ability to weaken the Earth element, the center of your house is not the best place for indoor plants. This is not to say that placing plants there is completely out of the question. If you feel like the area can use some plants, place small ones instead of large ones.

2. Southwest and Northeast Area. Just like the center area of your home, both Southwest and Northwest belongs to the Earth element as well. A weakened energy in the Southwest area negatively affects the relationship between the husband and the wife. A weakened energy in the Northeast area slows down children’s ability to learn, which may result in poor academic performance.

3. Northwest Area. The Northwest area belongs to the Gold element. Because Gold and Wood destroy each other, this area is also not the best place to place plants. A strong presence of Wood energy, such as those brought by a large plant, can harm the career and health of the breadwinner of the house.

The larger the plant, the stronger the Wood energy. Not all areas are suitable for large indoor plants.
The larger the plant, the stronger the Wood energy. Not all areas are suitable for large indoor plants.

4. Bedroom. In addition to the eight cardinal directions, the type of rooms also matter. Many experts agree that plants are NOT suitable in the bedroom, and their reasons vary. Some say it harms the luck and health of the home’s breadwinner, while others say that plants bring strong energies of growth, which contradicts with the energy needed to get a good night’s sleep. Further, some reasoned that the carbon dioxide produced by the plants at night can negatively affect our sleep.

Placing a few flowers in the bedroom, on the other hand, is said to have the ability to attract the attention of the opposite sex. Again, this is desirable for those who are single but not for those who are married or in a relationship.

5. Kitchen. Large plants are not suitable in this area because the kitchen is filled with the Fire element. The kitchen stove, oven, and other devices all creates energy associated with Fire. Excessive Wood energy, such as those brought by large plants, feeds the Fire element, which can cause excessive Fire energy and undesirable consequences.

6. Restroom. Using a person’s Kua, the restroom can be BOTH a good and a bad place for plants. Plants in a restroom located in an “inauspicious” or “unlucky” area have the ability to amplify the negative energy of that area. On the other hand, for restrooms in “auspicious” or “lucky” areas, plants have the ability to amplify the positive energy, which can counter the negative feng shui brought by the restroom.

If you want to put plants in restroom, select those with strong survival abilities such as the Heart-Leaf Philodendron.
If you want to put plants in restroom, select those with strong survival abilities such as the Heart-Leaf Philodendron.

Where to Place Indoor House Plants

If there are places not suitable for plants, then there are also places that ARE suitable for plants. There’s always a balance in feng shui.

Here are some of the recommended places for your indoor plants, also based on the elemental theory and the type of room.

1. East and Southeast Area. Both areas belong to the element of Wood. Indoor house plants, being a living Wood element, have the ability to enhance the Wood energy of that area. This is typically used when an area needs more energy, such as a missing area in your home’s floor plan (example below).

The floor plan above has a small area missing in its Northeast section. Northeast is not the best place for plants, and other methods can and should be used to boost that area’s energy.
The floor plan above has a small area missing in its Northeast section. Northeast is not the best place for plants, and other methods can and should be used to boost that area’s energy.

When more energy is given to East, motivation and creativity can be improved to assist your career. For Southeast, more Wood energy improves social relationships and money luck. Again, you’d have to watch for not over-energizing these areas (such as building a forest in there), as it may result in unintended consequences.

2. South Area. This area belongs to the element of Fire. Adding plants here can enhance the Fire energy because Fire feeds on Wood. The result is increased courage and heightened ability to make better judgments, thereby improving your reputation that this area signifies.

3. Entry Hall and Living Room. Large indoor plants are suitable for both the living room and entry hall, as it can steadily improve the overall luck of the whole family. Just remember that large plants are not suitable in the Southwest, Northeast, and Northwest of the house, even if it’s the entry hall or the living room.

Though large plants are suitable close to the front door, this does not apply in every situation.
Though large plants are suitable close to the front door, this does not apply in every situation.

4. Dining Room. Placing plants in the dining room can improve the money luck of the whole family. Some experts suggest placing plants that bear fruits because it signifies the reaping of rewards. The size of the plant to use totally depends on the size of the dining room.

5. Underneath Beams. Beams are known for their bad feng shui because they bring suppressing Qi (think of the trapped-feeling you get when you enter a place with very low ceilings). That is why feng shui suggest that you avoid sleeping, working, or resting under beams. Placing large tree-like plants underneath the beam is said to help a little, as its upward growth is said to counter the beam’s suppressing Qi.

6. Home Office. Science found that plants help concentration and improve learning. In feng shui, the same applies when you place four straight lucky bamboos in the Wen Chang area (also known as the study area).

Lucky bamboo for feng shui’s Wen Chang area should be straight.
Lucky bamboo for feng shui’s Wen Chang area should be straight.

7. Wen Chang Area. Both you and your house have a Wen Chang area, which is a star that correlates with wisdom and literature. This area can be activated using four straight lucky bamboos as mentioned earlier.

Wen Chang is the name of the God of Culture and Literature in Taoism.
Wen Chang is the name of the God of Culture and Literature in Taoism.

To find the Wen Chang area of your home, you will need your home’s sitting and facing direction. Usually, the side of your house that faces the street is the facing direction. When you have those, use the chart below to find the Wen Chang area of your home.

House's Wen Chang Area-min
The house’s Wen Chang area.

There is also a personal Wen Chang area, which can be used on a smaller scale such as your home office or your children’s study room. Use the last digit of your birth year, the chart below, and a compass to find your personal Wen Chang area.

Personal Wen Chang area.
Personal Wen Chang area.

8. Peach Blossom Area. The Peach Blossom area correlates with love and romance. This area can be enhanced by using flowers, and should only be used for those looking to attract a partner. Use your animal sign and the chart below to locate this area.

Use your animal sign and this chart to find your Peach Blossom area.
Use your animal sign and this chart to find your Peach Blossom area.

Placements of Indoor Plants Can Get Tricky

By now, you should have a pretty good idea about how plants are used in feng shui and where they should be placed and why.

However, there will be instances where you’ll be utterly confused, even when you follow the instructions that I laid out above. This is because feng shui is not that simple, and there are multiple factors you need to take into consideration.

For instance, what happens if your living room is in the Northwest area? Though the living room is a great area to place large plants, having it located in the Northwest area negates that fact. The solution? Place smaller plants rather than larger ones.


The situation only gets more complicated when you add the personal Kua into the equation. That is because each direction of on the person’s Kua has their own five elements. Imagine balancing that!

Conclusion

Plants are a great addition to your living space. Science proved that it positively impacts our mental and physical health. Feng shui, on the other hand, has been using it to attract love, increase learning abilities, and to improve overall luck, among many others.

However, using plants for feng shui can get tricky. You’ll need to factor in the five elements, the type of room, and the directions. It’s not easy, but that’s the only way you can apply feng shui in a holistic way to get the best results that you desired for. Of course, the alternative is to get help from a professional so you won’t overlook any important factors when you feng shui yourself.

I know this is a lot of information to digest. So if you have any questions, ask them using the comment below and I’ll answer you using the best of my knowledge.

Author, blogger, and digital marketer at Feng Shui Nexus. During the day, I do marketing in the tech industry. At night, I explore all sorts of knowledge, including feng shui, ancient wisdom, big data, analytics, and science. Click here to read more about me or say hi to me on Facebook or Twitter!

Comments (43)

Excellent article. I am happy that you are teaching us real feng shui staff that we can apply in our homes/office. Thanks you Victor

Your welcome Roxana!

What happens if the only light for your plants is a north, west, north-west, south-west direction?

Hi Kathy,
That means those areas are the ones suitable for plant growth. Consider the five elements of those areas to determine the size of the plant you’d like to place.
-Victor

What if your southeast area is inside your room? Our main entrance is northeast.. Where to place my lucky bamboos and jade plants? Is it true that you can place jade plant anywhere in the house?

Hi Ericka,
The same concept applies. As for jade plant (I’m assuming fake plant made of jade), people will tell you that because it symbolizes wealth, it should be place in the wealth area. But you can put anywhere it pleases you.
-Victor

How does the Ba-Gua map correlate/correspond with this information that you’ve given? I’ve integrated Feng Shui using the map.

Hi Dahlia,
The Bagua map each has its own Five Elements. Plants belong to the Wood element, which can be used to strengthen Fire and weaken Water.
-Victor

The staircase of my house is located at the center which is the worst location. I read that the remedy for this is to put potted plants on the stairs to ground the energy. But you said not to put plants at the center of the home. What should I do now?

Hi Mae,
The reason why plants are not suitable is because Wood clashes with the Earth element. But I did mention that small plants are OK because it doesn’t bring that strong of Wood energy.
I’m not too sure about that cure you mentioned and how well it works. But if it’s from a trusted Feng Shui master, a small pottery would do just fine.
-Victor

Hi i love plants but in my new home i have living room in northwest and entryway in northeast. Both places i usually keep plants.
And most importantly i have balcony in southwest. What shoild i do to keep plants as northwest and southwest bith are not good for plants wood energy. Thought indoor plants am keeping are low mostly money plants. Is it ok to place plants in these areas.

Hi Erum,
Your concern should be more of Southwest. Since it is a balcony, it is fine to keep plants outside. If you do plan to keep some inside, just put small ones instead of large ones.
-Victor

i have my stairs in the almost north eastern corner, where I have placed small plants and at the entrance I have placed palms and Christmas tree which are big in size that too is a north eastern part of my house, and I do not have any place except these two to place plants as my house is very small, please guide because I love plants very much and do not want to remove them, please help.

Hi Divy,
I see your concern, because Wood controls the Earth element in the Northeast. First, I would check whether your plants are really in the Northeast. You’ll need to divide your floor plan into 8 pieces, according to the 8 cardinal directions. If they’re really in the Northeast, you can either (1) place smaller plants and/or (2) introduce some fire element to weaken the wood energy.
-Victor

Thrilled to have found your blog Victor! Your articles and insights are great and I’m looking forward to reading them all.

I’m somewhat confused about the numbers you gave for directions above. The sources I used to set up my own bagua use different figures. For example: for North you use 352.5 – 7.5; I have 337.5 – 22.5. Wikipedia gives even more varying figures.

How could one reconcile these to end up with an accurate bagua?

Thank you,
mala

Hi Mala,
The numbers you saw here only refers to the Wen Chang area and not the Bagua. Your compass reading for the North sector is correct, when you divide it according to the 8 sectors.
-Victor

Hi Victor,

Thank you for your information. I want to know if we can keep cactus plants in living room. I bought small cactus plants which are very beautiful with pink, orange flowers on top. Those plants looks very beautiful. I purchased 3 plants which are very small in size and have colourful flowers.

I dont like to believe but as in so many sites it shows that it is not good. want to know whether we can keep or not. I have read in one site that, we can keep which has flowers on it as it is just for decoration. But these dont have much thorns on it.

I have other plants like bamboo, Money plant, basel plant. Just because of 1 cactus plant does that really attracts negative energy? I believe if any thing is bad it is just because it may releases some poisonous toxins other than that if any releases good air that may be good.

Please give your opinion on this.

Thank you very much!

Hi Kalpana,
Yes, of course you can place cactus plants in your living room. Just don’t overdo it!
The “bad” of cactus is really the thorns. It’s bad “Form” and gives us unease. In your case, you should be fine. 🙂
-Victor

Hi! How would you know the house’s facing direction? The main gate and the house door faces different direction. which facing should we follow for the facing direction?
Thanks!

Hi Chi,
Sometimes it’s not that easy to find the house’s facing direction.
For apartments, some masters would choose the side where the main balcony is as the facing because it is where most Qi enters the house.
For houses, usually the side that faces the road/traffic is the facing. The door may or may not be in this area.
-Victor

Thank you so much about all this info. I have one question. The entrance to my apartment is in the SW. Also part of the SW is missing. The SW of the house has Mountain 9 Water 7 with base star 8. I have some plants outside of the house at the SW and they make the entrance look more welcoming and vibrant. But ever since I moved to that house I am having trouble with my relationships, so I am assuming there is something I am not doing right. Because part of the SW is missing I placed on the SW corner of the balcony many semi – crystallized rocks that I picked up from a mountain. Is there something else I can do?

Hi Virginia,
I personally have doubts on how items can help with Feng Shui. The important thing is to be aware that the Feng Shui will affect your relationship (assuming you did your Feng Shui audit and analysis correctly). If you’re aware, you can make strides to make improvements and weather the storm. See “Human Luck” for reference here: https://fengshuinexus.com/blog/cosmic-trinity-feng-shuis-influence-limitations/
Good luck!
-Victor

I read that a kitchen located in the north end of a house can “drain away one’s career luck” and that the wood element from a plant in the kitchen offsets this negative effect of the water. What are your thoughts?

Hi Mike,
Don’t worry about that. I’m guessing that the idea is based on kitchen having the fire element (cooking), and the North having the water element. Not sure why Wood is suggested because it actually weakens water and strengthens fire. Earth should be introduced if using their line of logic. Again, I wouldn’t worry about your kitchen location unless you take your house’s facing direction into consideration.
-Victor

Thanks, Victor! The kitchen is in the front of the house and the house does actually face northeast. If the kitchen is not “draining away career luck” per what I read, what feng shui elements can enhance career? Interestingly, our front door opens to a split staircase, i.e., the right hand stir case going up to the main living area and the left hand stair case going down to the basement.

Hi Mike,
I cannot really comment without seeing the house. But as for wealth, you can use this article for reference: https://fengshuinexus.com/blog/find-feng-shui-wealth-areas-methods/
-Victor

Hi thanks for your interesting articles. Really easy to understand. I will like your advice on my new home. I love it except for one thing – when the main door opens it faces the corridor leading directly to my bedroom at rhe end and worse thing is it also faces my bedroom’s open balcony door all in a straight line. What can i do in my bedroom to block the qi from going out? Will a small piece of furniture in my bedroom plus curtains at the balcony door and a big plant in front of the balcony door help? Problem is my balcony faces Southwest. Will really appreciate your advice as it has been troubling me.

Hi Jen,
Yup, your suggestions are great! Don’t limit your furniture arrangements to the bedroom, because you can put something in front of your main door too, if space allows.
-Victor

hi I have 2 cactus and my friend told me to give them away. Im living in an apartment and theres no open window. but I placed the cactus on the glass window where the sun is high. and also I placed bamboo plant inside the restroom/comfort room. is it bad? please advise me

Hi Lasy,
Your placements are completely fine. My only concern is your apartment with “no open window”? Fresh air from the outside is essential to good Feng Shui.
-Victor

Hi, I have a missing Southwest direction, can you pls suggest what would be appropriate. Many did inform to place a picture of a Rock mountain as it represents earth. Some recommend to place yellow crystals, ceramic, pottery etc. Can I place a picture of few light yellow flowers as the Colors represents earth itself. It would really look odd to keep ceramic, pottery or a Mountain as its the main entrance. Pls suggest

Hi Amal,
Yes, the yellow flowers would do nicely. It is your living space, so it is very important that you like whatever you place in that area.
-Victor

Thank you for the response. Can we also use symbol/signs that represent Southwest zone in Chinese i.e: 3 semi lines in two rows.

Hi Amal,
I’ve never seen or heard anyone who does that. Perhaps you can try and tell me how it goes?
-Victor

Hi, greetings! As I did inform you earlier that I have the Southwest direction missing, also the west & Northwest directions missing too. But I am bit confused as my personal kua no is 3 & the preferable areas suggested are north, south, east, Southeast direction, so should I be focusing on these directions or the missing directions. Also my P suggest

Hi Amal,
Missing areas means missing energy. As for your positive directions, read this article first: https://fengshuinexus.com/blog/feng-shui-directions-eight-mansions-house-kua/
-Victor

My daughter is a student and lives in a small room on campus (london). She just bought small cactus with flowers. And then she learnt that she should not keep them in her room! she really wants to keep them. she has a window which is open and allows sunlight. her study table is next to the window. When she sits ad studies at her table she’s facing east and will not be looking at them. Is it ok to keep to keep the 2 small cactus plants on the window sill?

Hi Shabeen,
Yes, it’s totally fine to keep those small cactus plants.
-Victor

Message *Hello Mr. Victor Cheung… Applying the Front Shui Law is really challenging. Until now, I’m still searching the internet all feng Shui informations because I want to apply it on my retail store perfectly. As of now, I already the energy brought by it and I’m enjoying it. Sir, what is the best area to locate your store’s entrance door? I’m planning to construct our house in the near future..

Hi Isabel,
Unless you take classes and receive proper training on more than 2 schools of Feng Shui, it’ll be hard for you to apply it properly. Plus, store/business Feng Shui is different than residential Feng Shui. It is better that you find an expert for help.
-Victor

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