Benefits of Indoor Plants – Both Environmental and Emotional
I can’t recall a time when I haven’t had indoor house plants in my home. Even when I was young and single, my sister and I had handful of plants in our apartment. Gardening outside is incredibly rewarding, but unfortunately it is very seasonal. This is why for me, having variety of indoor plants to take care of, is very essential. There are studies and scientific research that show how houseplants can help with our environment both in our homes and work places, as well as our emotional well-being. There are so many different indoor plants, that I have decided to do a series of them, Easy and Common Leafy Plants, Grateful Succulents and Flowering Indoor Plants. In my series I’ll be talking about the ones that I have enjoyed the most in my home, and quit frankly, they are some of the easier ones to take care of. But first, I’d like to address not only the tremendous benefits of houseplants, but also the joy that can come from taking care of them.
Real Vs. Artificial
Having plants to take care of can be very rewarding and beneficial. It is true that it does require a little time, but it’s worth spending that moment. Plants are living decorations that can never be replaced by artificial plants. Of course, gone are the days, when you could tell which plants and flowers were fake. Anymore, most artificial plants look like the real stuff. But, the fake plants can never offer the same benefits as natural ones. Just like vegetables and fruits provide us with variety of benefits, and each one has its own strength, this is also true with indoor plants. There is a special feeling with living plants when you walk into a home or a work space. It literally makes the room feel more alive. Studies have shown that with real houseplants we feel less stressed, and our overall health is much better. It’s real simple, it’s more than just looks – it’s about health.
It’s interesting how we sometimes worry so much about the air pollution outside, and forget to even consider the inside air quality. According to the American Lung Association, the air quality can sometimes be worse inside our homes and work places than it is outside. Which explains the reason why we are encouraged to be out in nature more often. Few years ago, researchers at NASA conducted a study on variety of plants. They discovered that houseplants have the ability to clean the indoor air and remove toxins, as well as mold. All living things need oxygen to survive, and plants increase the oxygen levels in a home. It’s fascinating to understand how plants act as a filtration system, and have the ability to remove all the garbage in the air. These toxins and chemicals exists in our furniture, carpets, walls, and most everyday appliances. A study done back in 2004, researchers found how even the soil of an indoor plant can remove benzene, and improve the air quality. Based on all research that has been done over the last few decades, house plants are the most efficient natural air purifiers available.
Living in Utah has made me appreciate my indoor plants. The air is so dry here, that sometimes I think my skin is going to fall off, and even my eyes randomly itch. This is where a humidifier can come handy. Since I am all about finding the most natural way, I constantly have an awesome excuse to fill my house with plants. It’s really simple, plants consist of large amounts of water (it’s in the leaves) which they naturally release into the air. They basically drink up all the water we give them and then they sweat it out (and they don’t even stink 😉 ). Unfortunately, as much as I love succulents, they are the stingiest(selfish little things) of all plants, when it comes to releasing moisture in the air. They like to hold on to it (they don’t drink much, so they don’t “sweat” much either).
Helps With Stress
Studies show that a room filled with plants can reduce stress levels. This is real important for me. I work from my home and I always try to keep beautiful, health promoting plants in my office. If nothing else, they give me a reason to take a break from my work and water them, now that’s a stress relief alone! A study was done in 2015, where they discovered how indoor plants can help reduce mental stress in a work environment. And also improve mood and productivity. Another study showed how being exposed to plants in medical environment, like hospitals, helped patients manage their stress. More and more people are living in high rises and apartments. And living away from nature is starting to effect people’s health. This is why bringing some of the nature in to our homes have become very essential for everyone. Some plants, like succulents and bromeliads, release oxygen at nights. This can help with relieving stress and provide with better sleep.
For me, plants and flowers bring so much life into a home. I feel, especially during the Winter months, that the extra boost of color and living plants around me in my home, act as mood enhancer. There are many studies that show psychological benefits of having houseplants. A study done by Scandinavian scientists, showed how indoor plants can boost emotional health and also help with pain. Taking care of plants help me to be more creative and as a consequence, I feel less anxious and clearer in my head. If I feel negative thoughts start racing thru my head, I’ll get up and start taking care of my plants, and that usually works wonders for me. It’s interesting how taking care of my plants has helped me to take care of myself. They remind me of how precious life is, and fragile. That we have to nourish it and take care of, in order for us (plant) to grow. It really doesn’t feel like a task, but an opportunity for a moment of mindfulness. To be able to step away from the noise of the world around us and take care of something as lovely as a plant.
I think there is still much to be discovered about the benefits and the healing abilities of nature and plants. Scientist have only scratched the surface. Some researchers believe that horticulture and plant care can change brain chemistry and serve as anti-depressant. I’ve had plants that have stayed with me for years, I’ve watched them grow along with my kids. Now, I have grand kids that will come over and help me take care of all my plants and flowers. My houseplants have become part of my life and home. I truly can’t even imagine one single room without these beautiful, beneficial and happy plants. And truly, the more of them, the better for us all!