Lift Your Spirits and Your Health With Houseplants!

Photo: Pexels

Each year in the  garden centre our customers always comment on the happiness they feel when walking amongst our houseplants and annual/perennial benches.  All of their senses experience a lift – the smell of soil, the sight of leaves and flowers, listening to the sound of the  water fountains and best of all to be able to touch and come in contact with so many beautiful plants.

Just to be outside is so beneficial to the human condition.  Bringing the outdoors inside can have the same effect!

It is no secret that houseplants are natural mood enhancers.  There have been many studies done around the world on the benefits of houseplants and plants in general.   The color green has been shown to reduce anxiety and give us a peaceful, restful feeling. 

Most houseplants take in carbon dioxide during the day and release oxygen into our environment through a process called photosynthesis.  At night this process is reversed.  Gerbera daisies are the exception as they give off oxygen even at night.  Orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads actually do the opposite – they release  oxygen at night.  Assuming you have the right light conditions during the day, these plants are great to have in your bedroom.

Houseplants are also natural humidifiers.  They release moisture vapor into the air which increases the humidity around them.  97% of the water houseplants take in is released into the air around them.  Spider plants are particularly adept at doing this .  It has also been shown that a room with houseplants has less dust and mold spores.

Photo: Reader’s Digest- Janet Craig Dracaena

The most important benefit of houseplants has been researched by NASA and that is removing toxins from the air.  Volatile organic compounds  (VOC’s) such as benzene and formaldehyde are found everywhere in our homes.  Some plants are better at doing this than others by reducing a room’s VOC’s by 87% in a twenty four hour period.  Soil microorganisms convert VOCs into food for the plants.  These talented houseplants include Janet Craig dracaena, english ivy, asparagus fern, dracaena marginata,  corn plant (Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’) and gerbera daisy.  To purify the air in an 1800 sq. ft. home it is recommended that you have 15-18;  6-8 in.pot tropical plants  that are mentioned in this article.

Some of these plants include pothos, weeping fig, snake plants, philodendrons, peace lily, boston fern, Chinese evergreen and aloe vera.

Photo: Pexels – Snake Plant

Offices, schools, hospitals and long term care facilities also benefit by having tropical plants in their everyday lives. 

In an office or classroom, 1 – 8 in. pot tropical every 129 sq. ft. is recommended.  A study from Oslo, Norway measured the effects of having plants in an office environment.  The short term absence due to sickness decreased from 15% to 5-6% after the introduction of houseplants. Productivity also increased markedly.

Photo: Pexels

Classrooms and long term care facilities now have horticulture programs which include indoor and outdoor gardening.  This is particularly beneficial when the two groups get together to share their love of gardening through special community events.

Photo: Aging In Place

Plants in a hospital room are of benefit to patients and staff alike.  Also a window view is said to help patients recover from surgery quicker and helps treat depression, schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions.

As you can see, there are many benefits to having plants in all areas of your life.  Caring for living things gives us purpose and enables us to live a more productive, creative and healthy existence!

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