Anyone who spends time appreciating Earth’s natural beauty will tell you how refreshing walking amongst the wilderness can be. “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks,” wrote environmentalist John Muir. The true beauty of plants is that their benefits can be felt wherever we experience them, both outdoors and inside. Adding a few plants to your home or office won’t necessarily compare to a quiet walk in the woods, but the benefits of houseplants will help rejuvenate your space and provide a breath of fresh air for those times when you can’t be outside.
Plants Can Improve Air Quality
When you take a breath, your body absorbs oxygen from the air while releasing carbon dioxide. Plants, on the other hand, do the opposite. Through photosynthesis, they absorb carbon dioxide while releasing oxygen. Adding more plants to an indoor space will naturally result in more oxygen being released, making our oxygen-fueled bodies very happy.
Plants don’t only provide fresh oxygen for us to breathe, they also help purify the air. As NASA research has noted: “Both plant leaves and roots are utilized in removing trace levels of toxic vapors from inside tightly sealed buildings. Low levels of chemicals…can be removed from the indoor environments by plant leaves alone.”
Check out this list of plants for varieties that not only generate oxygen but are well-suited for purifying the air.
Plants Can Boost Focus
If you find it difficult to focus on work, your desk may need a plant! In a study by the University of Exeter, researchers found that adding plants to an office significantly increased workplace satisfaction, self-reported levels of concentration and perceived air quality. Even more enlightening, they found that offices with plants increased their productivity by 15%. Other studies have shown the benefits that plants can have on the mind, including increased attention, creativity and mindfulness.
Check out this list of plant recommendations for your workspace.
Plants Can be Therapeutic
The healing power of nature is not a revelation. Humans have sought the calming solace that nature provides ever since we moved to sleeping under ceilings instead of stars. Henry David Thoreau famously escaped to Walden Pond when he felt overwhelmed by the world. Living amongst the trees, he noted: “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
The therapeutic nature of plants is not only felt outdoors – it’s also making changes in medicine. In 2009, a study found that patients recovering from surgery in rooms with plants had less stress, more positive physiologic responses and lower ratings of pain, anxiety and fatigue than patients in rooms without plants. Another study concluded that “contact with plants is directly beneficial to patients’ health, providing meaningful therapeutic contact.”
Personal preferences vary, so whichever plants you’re fond of may provide you with these benefits.
Plants Can be Edible
Even in small spaces, many plants grown in a home vegetable garden can also be grown indoors. With the proper preparation, your dinner spread could include fresh produce harvested from right inside your home. Some suggested indoor crops include:
- Salad greens
Plants Can be Decorative
Houseplants will also freshen up your space’s style as living, breathing decoration.
Before buying every peace lily and devil’s ivy at the local nursery, consider how each type of plant will affect the room you are decorating. Flowering plants, like orchids, African violets and amaryllis, will liven up dull areas with splashes of bright color. Decorating with plants of various shapes and sizes disrupts an otherwise uniform room with complexity and livelihood.
Increase your plants’ aesthetic value with creative displays. Hanging planters are a great way to showcase your ivy’s growing vines while adding a natural canopy from above. Create a more visually interesting motif by hanging plants at different heights. With a wall-mounted planter, boring and bare walls can be transformed into living art. Take advantage of natural sunlight with stylish window display planters.
Pots can be as simple or chaotic as the plants that grow within them. Using pots of similar color and size reinforces a more uniform style, while a variety of pots with different colors, shapes and materials encourages a creative and carefree environment.
Houseplants provide multiple benefits, but they are living, breathing things and require the right attention. Thankfully, taking care of houseplants doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, some plants thrive on neglect and only need to be watered every few weeks! If you have pets or young children, consider opting for varieties that are non-toxic to animals and humans.
With a bit of research, careful planning and a watchful eye for things like pests, water levels and adequate sunlight, anyone can enjoy the benefits of owning houseplants.