Ahhhhhh, the humble houseplant, from dainty orchids to brightly coloured Gerbera and spindly leaved spider plants, they brighten our homes and help to bring a little touch of nature inside. When the days are dark, and our time spent outdoors can be limited, it can be ideal to add some greenery to your home!
But that’s not all. Did you know that your houseplants are little health super heroes in disguise?
Houseplant Appreciation Day (falling on the 10th January) was started by The Gardener’s Network, establishing an official opportunity to remind people of the benefits of houseplants. Often with Christmas fading into the past, our homes lose some of their beauty and joy, which makes Houseplant Appreciation Day the perfect opportunity to brighten up the home with the sharp splash of green of a living plant!
There is research abound that promotes a multitude of health benefits gained from keeping some vegetation in your home; from improving sleep quality to removing harmful toxins from the air inside your home; your houseplants are hiding a whole host of super secret health benefits.
Here’s the 7 top reasons you should be stocking up on greenery this January:
1. Plants can make you happier
Simply having plants present in your home can reduce stress and anxiety, increase feelings of calm and generally help you to feel happier and more satisfied with life. Research has shown that plants can even help ease feelings of depression and promote a general sense of wellbeing.
2. Plants help to purify the air
In a world where we’re surrounded by toxins and air pollution, plants can help to even the balance. How does the air in our homes get polluted? Smoke from cigarettes, open fires and wood burners plays a role, as do mould and mildew, household cleaners packed with chemicals and even the air fresheners we use.
Fancy a few facts from NASA? Well in tests run on sealed environments by the space agency, they found that:
“Both plant leaves and roots are utilised in removing trace levels of toxic vapours from inside tightly sealed buildings.”
“Low levels of carbon monoxide can be removed from indoor environments by plant leaves alone.”
According to the space agency you need at least 1 potted plant per 100ft of indoor space and for the best results, use:
Snake Plant, aka Mother-in-laws tongue
3. Plants help you recover from illness faster
Whilst the humble houseplant won’t be fully replacing paracetamol anytime soon, there is evidence to show that they can aid recovery. In studies where plants were used in hospital recovery rooms, patients displayed an increased pain tolerance and recovered from post-operational pain faster. And that’s not all; further studies performed in hospitals showed that patients with plants in their rooms had lower blood pressure and heart rates than patients whose rooms did not contain plants. So send flowering plants next time to a friend or family member that is convalescing!
4. Plants help you to concentrate
A study by The Royal College of Agriculture in Cirencester, found that attendance was higher for lectures given in classrooms with plants than in those without. What’s more, those students being taught in classrooms with plants were 70% more attentive than those in classrooms without. Perhaps popping a small plant on your desk might help you do better in business too! I have a white orchid on my desk!
5. Plants help people cut down on sick days
Speaking of business, if you own one you might want to think about making sure that your staff have access to plenty of indoor foliage. Like the students above, it could help improve their productivity and cut down on the number of sick days taken.
A workplace study commissioned by The Dutch Product Board for Horticulture found that adding plants to office settings decreased the instances of colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats and flu-like symptoms.
In another study by the Agricultural University of Norway, sickness rates were almost 60% lower in offices with plants.
6. Plants can help you to sleep better
Here’s a fun fact for you. As you probably know, during photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which makes them super useful for keeping a room fresh during the day. But what happens at night when photosynthesis stops?
Most plants release carbon dioxide at night, but not all. Some plants continue to release oxygen, making them a great choice for your bedroom. By keeping the air around you oxygenated, you can enjoy a better night’s sleep.
Try placing orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads in your bedroom and see if they can help improve your slumber!
7. Plants humidify the air
Do you suffer from dry skin? Are you prone to dry coughs and a blocked nose? Dry air can play havoc with your health, particularly during the colder months.
Placing a few plants in your immediate environment could help. Plants are natural humidifiers, releasing roughly 97% of the water they take in. Place several plants together in a room and you can increase the humidity and keeps coughs and colds at bay. The Boston Fern is thought to be the best plant for humidifying the air in a room, as are the Areca Palm, Spider Plants, Snake Plants and Peace Lilies.
So, a pretty persuasive argument I’m sure you will agree. If you don’t feel green-fingered, maybe start slowly with a hard-to-kill cactus or succulent, and work your way up to the popular Monstera!
Tell us, are you already a proud plant parent, or have we convinced you to head to your local garden centre today?