Green plants are beautiful! Tending them carefully – watering, removing dead leaves and flowers, washing the leaves and maybe even talking to them – becomes a happy ritual, a bit like looking after loved pets (but not so demanding)!
But as well as being beautiful to look at, there are also many reasons why having plants around us in the home is beneficial for us:
Plants help us to breathe
Plants release oxygen (which we breathe in) and they absorb carbon dioxide (which we exhale) so we form a perfect partnership! Adding plants to interior spaces increases oxygen levels and helps us to breathe better. While most plants release oxygen in the daytime and carbon dioxide at night, certain plants, like the orchid family, succulents, and bromeliads do this the other way round, releasing oxygen at night, making them more suited to keeping in bedrooms.
They keep us healthy
Negative ions that plants emit help to charge our living spaces in a way that is beneficial to us. Negative ions protect us from viruses and airborne allergens as they neutralize free radicals, enhance immune function and balance the nervous system, promoting deep sleep and healthy digestion.
They add moisture to the air
Plants release roughly 97% of the water they take in, so the water vapour they release keeps the air hydrated, keeping respiratory distresses at bay. Studies at the Agricultural University of Norway document that using plants in interior spaces decreases the incidence of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs.
They clean the air
The leaves and roots of plants remove toxins from air: they transform volatile organic compounds, such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene, which are present in many household furnishings and products, and turn them into food for the plant.
Re-potting plants and adding extra soil regularly will help them with this.
As well as being a helpful addition to our homes, studies have found the plants have beneficial effects in offices and hospitals. Studies have shown that adding plants to office settings decreases fatigue, stress, colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats and flu-like symptoms. And in hospitals that have indoor plants in the wards, patients recover more quickly and have lower blood pressure. Plants have been shown to reduce stress and boost our mood.
They help us to work better
Another study showed that when there are plants in classrooms in colleges, there is greater attentiveness and willingness to work amongst the students, who showed improved concentration and memory.
Caring for plants can be a therapy in itself, and being close to plants can boost our mood and make us feel happy.
Our symbiotic relationship with the plant kingdom goes back to the very beginnings of evolution. In the past we spent much of our time outside, close to trees and plants of all kinds, and of course they have always been our primary source of food. Now that we spend so much more time in our homes, work or in transport, it seems only natural that we would want to continue our beneficial relationship with the plant world, and share our space with some of its wonderful representatives.
So let’s bring some of the
Best Plants for Indoor Use
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum
comosum) Purifies air rapidly; removes formaldehyde
- Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) Releases oxygen at night; purifies air by removing benzene and trichloroethylene
- English Ivy (Hedera helix) Removes benzene from
- Dragon Tree (Dracaena
marginata) Purifies air; removes formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and xylene
- Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis) Humidifies air
- Philodendron (Philodendron) Purifies air; removes formaldehyde
- Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) Purifies air; removes formaldehyde and nitrogen oxide produced by fuel-burning appliances
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) Removes
- Other good plants are: Pothos, Bamboo Palm, Chinese Evergreen and Weeping Fig