Why go green?
Benefits of Indoor Plants
Most would agree that buildings, homes and office environments appear more calming, and simply a nicer place to be when plants are present. Indoor plants are very much in vogue, and for good reason. Plants breathe life; spaces become more interesting, colourful and relaxing.
But the benefits don’t just stop there. Houseplants do far more than just beautify an indoor space. Keeping plants inside your home or workplace can bring a whole host of health benefits. These benefits, both physical and psychological are evidenced in numerous scientific studies and summarised below.
Plants Fight Pollution Indoors
In some areas, indoor air can be as much as 12 times more polluted than outside air. This is due to man-made toxins created by paints, plastics, paint, furnishings, clothing, building materials and certain cleaning products. While it's common knowledge that plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as part of photosynthesis, research by NASA confirmed that plants also eliminate these harmful gases from the air. This ability of plants to remove chemicals from the air is called phytoremediation. Findings indicate that houseplants were able to remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in a 24-hour period. According to this study, the best plants are:
- spider plant
- peace lily
- rubber plant
- dragon tree
The belief is that all houseplants offer these benefits to a certain degree, however at this stage not all plants have been tested.
Studies suggest that you need a plant for every 9 square meters of floor in your house or office to ensure a considerable degree of air detox.
Plants Help Fight Colds
Studies conducted at the University of Agriculture in Norway concluded that indoor plants decreased coughs, sore throats, fatigue, and other cold-related symptoms by an impressive 30 percent!
Plants act like mini air filters to adjust and clean the air around us. They cool by a process called transpiration, which, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, decreases air temperature in offices by ten degrees. A recent study demonstrates that plant transpiration releases moisture, creating a humidity level exactly matching the recommended human comfort range of 30-60%. With the need for air conditioning reduced, and the air kept at a higher humidity (up to 20%), illnesses such as tickly coughs are much less common.
Plants Make You Happy
The American Horticultural Therapy Association says that the benefits of plants can be seen across many studies in the cognitive, psychological, social, and physical realms. Some of the psychological benefits include:
- Increased self-esteem
- Improved mood and sense of well-being
- Reduced stress, anxiety, and depression
- Increased feelings of calm, relaxation, and optimism
- Increased sense of stability and control
Plants Reduce Stress
Several independent studies have explored the effect of indoor plants on stress levels. Results indicated that interior plants can help reduce stress and improve well-being. This included a reduction of:
- 37% for Tension/Anxiety
- 58 % for Depression/Dejection
- 44% for Anger/Hostility
- 38% for Fatigue
In the closing statement, the study reads:
This study shows that just one plant per work space can provide a very large lift to staff spirits, and so promote wellbeing and performance
The effects aren’t just psychological either, physiological effects such as lowered blood pressure are also proven benefits of a greener living space. A study by researchers at Washington State University found that people in a plant-filled room saw a four-point drop in their systolic blood pressure after taking a stressful test, compared with a two-point drop in a group with no plant exposure.
Plants Increase productivity
Keeping plants indoors can make you think better. The mental benefits observed during a recent test include:
- Improved concentration
- Improved memory
- Better goal achievement
- Heightened attention
Studies found that by the inclusion of indoor plants, fewer mistakes were made, tasks were completed faster and, in the case of computer workers, productivity increased by between 10%-15%. This higher level of concentration can be attributed to the plants ability to reduce excess carbon dioxide in the air.
Plants Increase creativity
In one study, plants were seen to increase creativity by 15%. One theory suggests that plants being present invoke our ancient instincts that there is food nearby (berries, fruit etc) and so we relax, become calmer, are happier and more creative. Pretty full on, hey? In another study, workers who were in a room with two indoor plants and a bouquet of flowers generated 13 percent more ideas than workers in a room with artwork alone.
Plants Reduce noise
One lesser known advantage of plants is their ability to reduce ambient noise… as much as 5 decibels! How wonderful to be able to dull down background noise, whether this be the kids, the TV or the annoying workmates that just won’t stop gossiping!
You will look healthier
It has been found that plants can reduce dry skin by 20%.Now who wouldn't love that?
So there you have it. A whole host of fabulous, scientifically backed reasons as to why you should green up your living space!