If you’re a proud owner of a rubber tree, monstera, or fiddle leaf fig, you know indoor plants can instantly beautify your living space. I'm the lucky caretaker of some house-plants that I have had for 30 years, adding plenty of character to my home. In addition to being pretty to look at, houseplants also extend some incredible health benefits.
INDOOR PLANTS PURIFY THE AIR You might remember the basics of photosynthesis from science class – plants absorb carbon dioxide in our environment and convert it into clean oxygen. In addition to giving us fresh air to breathe, the first study to demonstrate that houseplants help remove cancer-causing chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene from indoor air was published in 1989. Follow-up research has also found that microorganisms in potting soil also help eradicate toxins floating around in our environment.
Various studies have since been conducted, and the results indicates that a variety of plant species is most beneficial as they all have different functions.
PLANTS ARE NATURAL HUMIDIFIERS If you live in a cold climate, dry winter air can wreak havoc on your health. A lack of moisture in your living space can lead to flaky, cracked skin and painful sinus passages. While constantly running a humidifier is one way to solve the problem, decorating with lush greenery is a natural (and beautiful) way to replenish moisture in the air.
Plants take in water through the roots and release moisture into the air from the small pores in their leaves through transpiration. Some plants have a naturally strong rate of transpiration, making them ideal for increasing the humidity in your home. The Areca palm is one of the best choices. If you don’t have space for a six-foot tree, the boston fern and spider plant are also great options.
GREENERY BOOSTS PRODUCTIVITY AND MEMORY It's quite common to find plants in offices, cafes and waiting rooms these days. If you spend lots of time in one of these areas that doesn't have any foliage, perhaps it's time to consider this addition. A 2014 study by the University of Exeter found that sprucing up a work environment with plants increased productivity by 15 percent! The study suggests that working in a green office made employees more physically, cognitively, and emotionally invested in their work. Another study by the University of Michigan showed that being “under the influence of plants” increases memory retention by up to 20 percent.
The benefits associated with productivity and memory retention are related to the visual aspect of being around plants whether that is indoors or outdoors. Find a plant (or two or three) that you find particularly beautiful and inspiring for the best results.
PLANTS MAKE US HAPPIER Happiness is certainly illusive, and something that all humans strive for. But if finding more happiness is as simple as a house-plant, it's probably worth considering. One study showed that people who keep flowers in their homes have lower perceived stress levels and felt more relaxed, secure, and happy. Another study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology suggested that filling your indoor space with houseplants may boost your mood, reduce fatigue, and even improve pain tolerance.
From natural air filters and humidifiers, through to increasing focus and boosting your mood, there are plenty of reasons to fill your living space with plants. Perhaps it's time to pick one up from your local nursery, or gift one to a friend! Have you got a favourite house-plant? Tell us in the comments below! With love & green thumbs, Rose xx