Fingernails, you ask? What does that have to do with my health? Surprisingly your fingernails…
The Power of Plants and How Your Health Can Benefit
Incorporating plants into your home or office provides many benefits beyond just being aesthetically pleasing and creating a peaceful environment; they have the power to affect your mood and your health. Imagine a bare space and then consider how it might feel after it’s transformed with greenery. A space that incorporates office plants and indoor flowers can be more inviting and even benefit your health.
Thinking about adding plants to your space can be a fun experience given all the different options. What are the best indoor plants? What will provide the most benefit? What kind of care will be required and how much should you spend? The good news is you don’t need to have a ‘green thumb’ or spend a lot of money to turn your interior into an oasis. Here are some benefits of adding plants to your space and which ones will stand the test of time.
Plants Are Good for Indoor Air
When thinking about air pollution, we usually think of smog or exhaust from cars. However, indoor air can actually be worse than outdoor air because of off-gassing from paint, cleaning products, and even clothing or tap water. And because most of us spend 90 percent of our time indoors, the health risks can be serious. There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a device that will improve air quality when plants can do the job at a much lower cost.
According to a NASA study, plants were found to clean the air of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde and benzene. The process through which they do this is called phytoremediation. In another study, soil microorganisms were also discovered to contribute to cleaner air.
So how exactly do plants accomplish this? Pores on the plant’s leaves and its roots absorb particles from the air while also taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen through photosynthesis. Also interesting is that plants become more effective over time while electronic air purifiers become less so.
Start Out Small
When deciding what plants to add to your home or office, consider starting small for easy maintenance. Take into account how much care you will be able to provide. Is there enough natural light? Does your office have windows? If you travel often, it might be best to select a plant that is drought resistant and requires infrequent watering.
“Dracaena are good for new indoor gardeners because they don’t need a lot of water and because they can be in any sort of light,” said Sherry and Tobi McCubbin, owners of The Pink Frog, a locally based interior plant service. “Golden Pothos are also good because they tell you when they need water and are good in medium to low light. Succulents are always great because they are easy to care for.”
Snake plants, also called mother-in-law’s tongue, are another plant perfect for new indoor gardeners because they are easy to manage, do well in pots, can grow in any lighting condition, and don’t need to be watered every day.
You could go on vacation for two weeks, come back, and it would still be alive (Seriously).
Another beginner plant is the bamboo palm or reed palm, which grows best in bright, indirect sunlight. Although these can grow up to seven feet tall, placing it in a smaller pot will keep the plant maintained, managed, and under control.
One plant that is easy to care for, yet is pleasing to the eye, is the peace lily. It’s easy to grow and features beautiful, soft white blooms. It also does not require a lot of sunlight so it is good for rooms with low light like the bedroom. And, it tells you when it’s thirsty by drooping its leaves.
Another good plant for the bedroom are bromeliads. The reason being is while most plants absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide at night, these do the opposite by releasing oxygen at night. They also are highly drought resistant and do best in low light and should not be placed in direct sunlight.
Plants Help Your Health
According to a recent study by psychologists, office workers’ quality of life can be enriched by adding plants to the interior landscape. The study found that workers in “lean” office environments with minimal decor were 15 percent more productive when office plants were added.
In another study by the Sloan-Kettering Institute, women recovering from breast cancer surgery found that taking walks in the garden helped their ability to concentrate and focus while also decreasing depression.
In addition to increasing happiness and productivity, plants are known to decrease stress. One study found that patients in hospital rooms with plants were less stressed than those without plants, one reason being the heightened visual attractiveness and stimulation they provide. Because of the positive benefits provided by plants, people are less likely to suffer from depression related to stress.
While flowers are always a popular choice to give on special occasions, they do not last forever, limiting the amount of time that people can enjoy them. Next time you’re thinking about sending flowers, consider giving an indoor plant instead that can be enjoyed for years to come.
To read more articles that provide ideas on healthy living and gardening tips, visit carsontahoe.com/besthealth.