Bring the Outdoors Indoors: The Many Benefits of House Plants
For centuries, it has been the fashion to bring plants from the outdoors inside, adding an ornamental splash of color to homes and work spaces. Indeed, the Victorians loved their potted palms, and during the 1970’s, simply everyone grew ferns and spider plants! These days, the trend leans more towards sculptural plants like the cactus or succulents.
Whatever your taste is, the humble house plant is here to stay. What’s more, the health benefits of having plants around our living spaces by far transcends their use as simple decorative objects. In case you need convincing, here are several reason why bringing the outdoors indoors can enhance your wellbeing.
Plants assist our breathing
When we inhale, we breath in oxygen, and when we exhale, we release carbon dioxide. Plants, on the other hand, do the opposite, absorbing carbon dioxide while releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. This makes for a mutually beneficial relationship for both humans and plants.
Plants help prevent sickness
The roots of plants outdoors tap into the water table, which then evaporates through it’s leaves in a process called transpiration. Research has shown that 10 percent of this moisture in our atmosphere is attributed to this process. The same thing happens when we have plants in our homes or offices, increasing the humidity indoors. This is especially helpful throughout the drier months of the year or if you live in arid climates. It has been documented that using plants in interior spaces decreases the incidence of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs.
Plants purify our air
A great deal of time has been put into researching air quality in sealed environments. NASA has discovered that plants play a key role in indoor air quality, in which they remove trace levels of toxins out of the air in closed buildings. Furthermore, low levels of toxins like carbon monoxide and formaldehyde can be removed from the indoor environment by plant leaves alone.
NASA recommends to have one potted plant per 100 square feet of indoor space. The top 10 best plants for cleaning our air are:
Plants boost your ability to heal
The custom of giving flowers or a plant to a hospital patient is bordering on cliché, yet research shows that the presence of plants helps patients recover after surgery. Studies verify that patients who had plants in their rooms showed significant improvement, such as lower blood pressure, and lower ratings of pain and fatigue, as compared to patients without exposure to plants. Also, patients who participate in horticulture therapy, which requires them to take care of plants, experience significantly reduce recovery time after medical procedures.
Plants enhance your mood
When surveyed, more than half of office employees believe that their workplaces don't contain enough plants and workers feel more positive with plants around them. Just one plant is linked with a reduction in feelings of anger, anxiety, depression, confusion, fatigue and stress. Indeed, indoor plants have been shown to reduce the number of sick days taken by staff and improve job satisfaction. Some workers even report that having plants around increases their energy and productivity, especially when they are included in choosing the types of plants.
Plants make you a better employee
A number of studies have shown evidence that studying or working in the presence of plants has similar benefits to spending time in nature. Being around plants improves concentration, memory and productivity, with one study demonstrating that by simply being in the presence of plants can increase memory retention up to 20 percent.
Worker productivity has been shown to be greatly enhanced by the presence of plants, with work produced at a higher quality and completed with more accuracy than done in spaces devoid of nature. Flowering plants have been shown to be excellent for creativity, helping to improve idea generation, creative performance and problem solving.