When you embellish interior spaces with houseplants, you’re not just adding greenery. These living organisms interact with your body, mind and home in ways that enhance the quality of life. Just about everyone knows that plants are great for producing oxygen and contributing to a zen feeling in any environment. But did you know that they can clinically reduce stress, fight colds, remove contaminants, and even stop headaches? Read on to find out about the great health benefits of houseplants.
Much of the research on these beneficial houseplants has been done by NASA scientists researching ways to create suitable space station habitats. All indoors plants (flowering or not) are able to purify indoor air to some degree through their normal photosynthesis processes. But some were found to be more beneficial than others in removing harmful household toxins, even removing 90% of chemicals in the air in only twenty-four hours!
The three main household toxins of concern are:
These carcinogenic chemicals are used in the manufacturing of synthetic substances and materials and are off-gased from new materials for some time (up to several years, depending on the material of product in question). Benzene can also be emitted from gas ranges during use, making some types of houseplants below great for use in the kitchen.
This means these types of houseplants may just decrease your risk of cancers, asthma, allergies, auto-immune disorders and other diseases.
Plants can help fight colds
Indoor plants have been shown to reduce cold-related illnesses by more than 30%. This is due to their effect of increasing humidity levels and decreasing dust.
Plants can remove airborne contaminants
We breathe the same air again and again, potentially inhaling harmful substances that are trapped inside. Indoor plants can help to remove pollutants including VOCs that cause headaches, nausea, and more.
Plants can stop your headaches
Filling your home with plants can decrease or eliminate headaches. With plants, you’re much less likely to be breathing the kind of stuffy, stale air that contributes to headaches.
Plants can make you happy
House plants can contribute to a feeling of wellbeing, making you calmer and more optimistic. Studies have shown that patients who face a garden view in their hospital rooms often recover more quickly than those facing a wall.
Plants can improve your mental health
Caring for a living thing can help when you’re depressed and lonely, giving you a purpose in life.
Plants can decrease your blood pressure
People with plants in their homes have less stress, and plants have been known to contribute to lower blood pressure.
Plants can reduce carbon dioxide
During photosynthesis, plants draw carbon dioxide from the air. Removing this substance can help prevent drowsiness from elevated levels.
Plants can offer treatment
Some indoor plants, like aloe, can be applied to skin and offer pain relief.
Plants can prevent allergies
Exposing children to allergens such as plants early in life can help them build a tolerance and immunity to the allergen. It works like a custom allergy shot, naturally.
Plants can negate cigarette smoke
If you are a smoker or live with one, a plant may help you remove the airborne chemicals from cigarettes. In particular, the Peace Lily is a good choice for this health benefit.
Plants can make your brain work better
Potted plants and flowers can improve your idea generation, mood, and more.
Plants provide clean air
In addition to filtering chemicals, plants also put out clean air, improving the air quality around them.
Plants can clear congestion
Eucalyptus in particular can help clear phlegm and congestion from your system. In fact, eucalyptus is often found in congestion remedies.
Plants are natural humidifiers
Instead of buying a humidifier machine to soften the air, just bring in a plant or two.
Plants can improve your sleep
Gerbera daisies give off oxygen at night. Filling a vase in your bedroom with these flowers can improve your night’s rest.
How Many Plants?
The recommendations vary based on your goals.
To improve health and reduce fatigue and stress, place one large plant (8-inch diameter pot or larger) every 129 square feet. In office or classroom settings, position plants so each person has greenery in view.
To purify air, use 15 to 18 plants in 6- to 8-inch diameter pots for an 1,800-square-foot house. That’s roughly one larger plant every 100 square feet. Achieve similar results with two smaller plants (4- to 5-inch pots).
Remember that for the best success with any houseplant, you need to match the right plant to the right growing conditions. For low light situations, choose a plant adapted to those conditions.
Tips for Choosing and Caring for Your Plants
Below you’ll find the common name and botanical name of each plant, its benefit to you and your home and a few ideas of the type of care it needs.
Along with a corresponding photo and the following tips, you can decide which plant is best for your home.
Choose one 10- to 12-inch potted plant per 100 square foot of your home for the most effective air purification.
Cross-reference several care guides to check for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Because common names can very, be sure to cross-reference the botanical name of any plant you get to ensure it will do the job you need it to do.
Consider where you might place your plants and the amount of sun they will receive to ensure your plant will thrive in that area.
Make note of the water needed and write it on a calendar so that you can keep the watering schedules balanced.
Periodically dust the leaves of each plant with a damp cloth to ensure proper absorption of air particles and toxins.
Keep their soil replenished with rich compost or compost tea. Avoid non-organic or synthetic fertilizers.
Whenever possible, capture rainwater for your plants. All types of houseplants thrive best with natural sources of water.
IMPORTANT: Please note that these houseplants are good for purifying air, but that doesn’t mean they are safe for pets or kids who like to put things in their mouth.
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