At first, you may think of car exhaust fumes, burning fossil fuels, and agricultural activities as the chief cause of pollution but with all the chemical-based detergents, cleaners and fragrances we use, the indoor air quality in our homes is often less than ideal. According to studies by NASA, our air indoors can be as much as 30 times more toxic than the air outside.
PLANTS ARE THE ULTIMATE AIR FRESHENERS
Not to worry though, there is a fairly simple way to freshen up your indoor space. Certain houseplants act as very effective air filters – filtering out as much as 87% of indoor pollutants within just 24 hours! Freshening up your interior décor and air supply needn’t cost a fortune. Indoor plants come in a range of sizes, styles and prices – and what’s more, they’re full of surprising benefits too!
In addition to their air-purifying qualities – indoor plants have a purifying effect on our general well-being too. They simply add freshness and tranquillity to our inner space that inanimate objects can’t rival – no matter how beautiful they may be. Studies have shown that patients who face a garden view in their hospital rooms recover more quickly than those facing a wall. Add some plant life if you’re looking for an easily achieved household mood booster!
GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
When it comes to savvy décor, almost any interior designer will tell you that plants can drastically change the overall feeling of a room. They’re also excellent at hiding those awkward corners and bare walls.
Indoor plants are shown to reduce cold-related illnesses by more than 30%. This is due to their effect in increasing humidity levels and decreasing dust. And according to some research studies, indoor plants may even stop your headaches, improve your mental health, decrease your blood pressure and prevent allergies in children.
Instead of buying a humidifier machine to soften the air, simply bring in a plant or two. A number of plants can increase humidity in the air. Through a process called evapotranspiration, water makes its way through the plant’s leaves, where it evaporates into the air through the pores on the leaves.
Having a plant such as jasmine in your bedroom can increase your quality of sleep. This plant was specifically studied by Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, at Wheeling Jesuit University, where he and his colleagues studied the results of 20 people’s sleeping patterns when exposed to jasmine, lavender and then exposed to no plants at all. After three nights of observation, they were able to conclude that those who were exposed to jasmine slept more deeply and effectively. Gerbera daisies also give off oxygen at night: filling a vase in your bedroom with these flowers can thus improve your night’s rest.
FUELS YOUR FOCUS
Studies from the Royal College of Agriculture in Cirencester, England have shown that students who study in a room with plants tended to be more focused with improved memory than those who have not. Furthermore, other studies have concluded that employees who work in a room with plants have a higher attention span and overall improved mood than those who are in the setting without plants.
You don’t need many plants to benefit from their purifying qualities either. One large plant or several smaller ones can be used for a spacious living area, whilst a small potted plant in bedrooms and bathrooms will do the trick too.
Ready to work on your green thumb and adopt some new plants? Here’s a shortlist of our favourite flora for your home:
Super easy to grow, spider plants are one of the best plants for increasing indoor humidity, and they are able to remove toxins like carbon monoxide and formaldehyde from the air. Best grown in a hanging container as their stems grow long and often cascade down their planters. Keep soil moist and best grown in bright direct light.
VARIEGATED SNAKE PLANT
Adding an austerity to any room, situate in partial shade.
Dramatic and easy to maintain, place this beauty in direct sunlight.
Partial shade and weekly watering will make this plant and your home both very happy.
Easy to care for and grows like crazy! At its optimum in partial shade, this pretty plant is evergreen too. It’s a great plant to remove carbon monoxide in the indoor air and increase relative humidity. Try a hanging basket, and it will grow long and lush!
BROADLEAF LADY PALM
Another un-complex favourite that loves partial shade.
Grows in bright light and thrives near a south-facing window. Water until the soil is completely covered. Wait till its dry to water again. Jade is a great plant to increase the relative humidity in your home.
Its fiery red flowers will add a touch of natural vibrancy to any room. Place in partial shade.
Palms are great for adding humidity to a room, and they are relatively low maintenance too! They require lots of sun and moist soil, so keep them near a window and water them weekly for the best results. They can grow fairly tall as they mature, so you can report them as they need every couple of years.
These tropical evergreens thrive in a warm room with lots of sunlight. In summer, they produce beautiful white flowers and can grow to around 40cm. Make sure to keep these out of reach of kitties as the flowers are toxic.