We are always looking for new ways to be healthier, fitter, more relaxed and happier aren’t we? Did you know that plants have been doing all of this for us for years? Research and studies have discovered many benefits of having houseplants at home, in the office, in hospitals and even in schools and there is even a recommendation to have at least 1 large plant in every 100 square feet and to try and always have a plant in view at all times - now that is a prescription I am more than happy to consider!
Reducing stress - plants are great at reducing stress and increasing feelings of wellbeing. Whether is it coming home from a busy day at work to see that your Monstera has sprouted a cute new leaf, or you successfully propagate some cutting, these feelings of accomplishment have wonderful mental health benefits. Tending to houseplants is a mindful process which takes your thoughts temporarily away from the worries of your days and gives you downtime from your screens (ok, I’m not going to mention all the necessary scrolling on Instagram at #houseplants!)
Help you breathe easier - plants, through photosynthesis (you remember that from school right?), absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen making them perfect partners for humans! At night, photosynthesis ceases, and most plants respire like we do, absorbing oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. However, there are a few plants such as orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads which do just the opposite, and these are the ones perfect to place in your bedroom to ensure you wake up refreshed!
Purifying air - Plants remove a lot of toxins from air –up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every 24 hours, according to extensive research by NASA. This can include substances such as formaldehyde (present in rugs, vinyl, cigarette smoke and grocery bags), benzene and trichloroethylene (both found in man-made fibres, inks, solvents and paint). Benzene is commonly found in high concentrations in study settings, where books and printed papers abound. Top air purifying plants include Ficus, Spider Plants, Peace Lilys and Pothos.
Improving health - Research has shown that compared to patients in hospital rooms without plants, patients in rooms with plants request less pain medication, have lower heart rates and blood pressure, experience less fatigue and anxiety, and are released to go home sooner! There is also a medical condition called Sick Building Syndrome (I’m not making this up - read about it here!) where people in a building suffer from symptoms of illness or feel unwell for no apparent reason. Studies have discovered that adding plants to office settings decreases fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats and flu-like symptoms.
So whether you start with a couple of small low maintenance succulents or fill every empty space of your home or office with greenery - know that those plants are doing wonders for your health and why not pass it on? Plants make wonderful gifts because they look good, but now you know they are way more than just a pretty face!