Growing Plants Indoors: Surprising Benefits Of Houseplants
By: Raffaele Di Lallo, Author and founder of Ohio Tropics houseplant care blog
Besides of being able to appreciate the sheer visual beautyof growing plants in our homes and offices, there are a number of benefits forgrowing plants indoors. So why are indoor plants good for us? Here are somesurprising benefits of houseplants.
How Do Houseplants Benefit Humans?
Did you know that houseplants can actually increasethe humidity in our indoor air? This is especially important for those ofus that live in drier climates, or that have forced air heating systems in ourhomes. Houseplants release moisture in the air by a process calledtranspiration. This can help our indoor air humidity stay at a healthier level.The more plants you have grouped together, the more your humidity willincrease.
Houseplants can help relieve “sick building syndrome.” Ashomes and buildings become more energy efficient, our indoor air has becomemore polluted. Many common indoor furnishings and building materials release avariety of toxins into our indoor air. NASA conducted a study that has shownthat houseplants can help to significantly reduceindoor air pollutants.
Having houseplants around us can make us happy, known as biophilia,and this has been proven by various studies. A study completed by theUniversity of Michigan found that working in the presence of plants actuallyincreases concentration and productivity. Houseplants can actually helpalleviate our stress too, and just by being in the presence of plants, it hasbeen shown to reduce blood pressure in just a few minutes.
Houseplants have been shown to reduce the instance of moldsand bacteria. Plants are able to absorb these through their roots andessentially break them down. Additionally, they can decrease particulates ordust in the air. Adding plants to a room has been shown to decrease the numberof particulates or dust in the air by up to 20%.
Finally, having plants in a room can surprisingly improvethe acoustics and reduce noise. One study found that plants can reduce noise inrooms with a lot of hard surfaces. They provided a similar effect as addingcarpet to a room.
The number of resulting houseplant benefits is trulyremarkable and just one more reason to appreciate having them in your home!
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11 Ways Plants Enhance Your Mental and Emotional HealthSHARE TWEET EMAIL
What do trees, shrubs, grasses, green plants, parks, beaches, open fields, and flowering gardens have to do with your mental health? Just about everything, according to an extensive review of the scientific literature supporting the benefits of exposure to natural settings.
The review data, collected and analyzed by researchers Charles Hall and Melinda Knuth at Texas A&M University and published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture, supports the notion that living in or near green spaces, and spending as much time as possible in both natural settings and cultivated gardens, can improve mood, reduce the negative effects of stress, encourage physical activity and other positive behaviors, improve cognition, reduce aggression, and enhance overall well-being in people of all ages under many different circumstances.
Specifically, the researchers found that people who surround themselves with plant life and other forms of natural beauty, indoors and out, experience emotional and mental health benefits that have a positive impact on their social, psychological, physical, cognitive, environmental, and spiritual well-being, These benefits include:
1. Stress reduction. Spending time in natural settings helps speed up recovery from mental fatigue, slow down heart rate, reduce high blood pressure, and lower anxiety.
2. Reduced symptoms of depression. Researchers repeatedly report increases in subjects' mood, fewer incidents of depressive symptoms, as well as increased memory span and decreased symptoms of anxiety after a walk in nature, as compared to a walk through an urban environment. One Korean study of patients diagnosed with moderate to severe depression compared the effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) performed in a hospital to CBT performed in an arboretum with a forest-like setting. Symptoms of depression were most significantly reduced in the arboretum group, who also experienced 20% to 30% higher rates of complete remission when compared to a typically medicated group.
3. Stronger memory retention. Compared to those who walked through a well-trafficked urban area, participants in several studies who walked through a green space or a natural environment, such as an arboretum, were better able to focus and concentrate on a test of their working memory.
4. Fewer symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Studies of both veterans and victims of natural disasters who participated in horticultural therapies or nature-based rehabilitation programs found that both groups were better able to control symptoms of PTSD and developed more positive states of mind.
5. Improved symptoms of attention-deficient disorders (ADD/ADHD). In one study, school children diagnosed with ADHD were better able to concentrate after a walk in a park than their peers who went for a walk in a downtown neighborhood. Similar studies found that even short nature breaks are restorative and can improve attention span, working memory and cognitive functioning in children with ADD/ADHD.
6. Higher productivity and improved concentration in schools and workplaces. Students and employees with a view of nature, either indoors or right outside their windows, were not only found to be more productive but also more alert, more attentive, more relaxed, in better moods, and less irritated by physical symptoms of allergies and asthma than their counterparts who had no views of plant life or other natural settings.
7. Higher levels of creativity. Nature walks, and even short visits to parks and woodlands within urban areas, have been found to boost creativity, mood, and sense of vitality.
8. Fewer symptoms of dementia. When dementia patients in an adult day care facility became actively involved in gardening and landscaping activities, their cognitive abilities improved and there were fewer incidents of aggressive behavior.
9. Higher intellect. Other studies suggest that deep experiences that connect us to nature are due to the geometry and architecture of both natural environments and the environments we build to replicate nature that regularly enhance our quality of life. These not only have a healing effect, researchers say, but studies in animals have found that such complex environments also increase brain size and the ability to perform well on tests of intelligence Dr. Nikos Salingaros of the University of Texas at San Antonio believes the same is true for growing human minds, which are best nourished by exposure to complexity and details.
10. Better self-esteem. The researchers found several studies indicating improvements in self-esteem and mood in both men and women after exercising in natural environments, and especially in the presence of a body of water.
11. Greater quality of life overall. The improved psychological well-being of those who interact with nature has been shown in numerous studies to result in greater feelings of positivity and hopefulness, comfort and relaxation and general overall happiness and satisfaction with life.
Hall C and Knuth M. An update of the literature supporting the well-being benefits of plants: A review of the emotional and mental health benefits of plants. Journal of Environmental Horticulture. March 2019 37(1).
10 Definitive Reasons You Need More Houseplants in Your Life
You better believe we're going to try #2 this winter.
If you blame genetics for your lack of green thumb, it's time to teach yourself the powers of keeping a plant alive. It turns out these livings things can do even more for your physical and mental health than they can for your living room decor — and here's proof.
All you have to do is look at the vibrant purple petals on the African Violet and you'll stimulate the release of adrenaline. As a result, your energy levels will rise and oxygen flow to your brain will increase, helping you relax.
Instead of shelling out for a pricy appliance to regulate dry winter air, place a few Boston Ferns around your home. They release moisture through a process called transpiration, which is when the pores on the bottom of the leaves basically sweat and release much-needed moisture.
According to the National Institutes of Health, Aloe Vera was known as the "plant of immortality" in early Egypt and used to heal wounds. Today, people typically rub it on sunburns or burns to relieve pain.
The next time you experience writer's block, hit up your local green house. According to Justin Hancock, garden expert at Costa Farms, Croton's colorful leaves inspire and energize their surroundings — including you!
If you get the sniffles every winter due to dust, you need a few Spider Plants in your life. You see, the leaves absorb allergens (such as dust) and in two days flat this plant can eliminate almost 90% of toxins in a room.
If you want to know the air you're breathing at home is healthy and clean, look no further than English Ivy. NASA scientists found that it's the number one air-filtering houseplant, because it's the best at absorbing formaldehyde.
Since red is a stimulating color, known for increasing appetites and providing a boost of energy, the trim on Red Aglaonemas will provide all the above perks in your home. Keep it in your bathroom to wake you up as you get ready in the morning.
A study at the Royal College of Agriculture found that students demonstrated 70% greater attentiveness when in a room with plants. There are a slew of varieties that can survive in offices with little light, but bamboo will give your work space a much-needed Feng Shui boost.
According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology, flowering houseplants (like Anthurium) help decrease stress levels. Now that's something just about every room in your home could use, right?
Many people believe all you have to do is look at a Pothos plant when your eyes are irritated or tired (perhaps after hours in front of a computer) to relieve eye strain. It's also believed to prevent glaucoma or cataracts.
7. It is Low Maintainance
With all the other Snake Plant Benefits and facts listed above, one more to add is it’s one of the best low maintenance houseplants in the world. It can thrive in full sun, in full shade, in lack of water. Basically, it thrives on neglect. We also added it in our list of Easiest Houseplants. Check it out here!