GREEN BAY (WCWF) -- House plants improve our lives in ways we don’t even realize. Scientific studies reinforce what plant enthusiasts have known for years – that indoor plants make for a better home. And while we're all staying Safer at Home, why not make your home the center of your green getaway?
Personally, have about 50 plants in my home. I started with a peace lily. Not my favorite kind of plant (I'm not much for flowers), but the sentiment behind it was more than enough. And before I knew it, I found myself at Steins Gardens talking to an associate about fresh air plants. I was looking to make my space fresh and green. The cart filled up, and with numerous returns to garden stores - I found myself coming home with more every time.
I noticed where my favorites tend to lie ... snake plants, ZZ plants, various dracaena, pothos, philodendron, various palms, fern, succulents bamboo bonsai and the list goes on and on. I've managed to fit a plant into any empty space. And since then, I've been much happier with the aesthetics of my home- feeling complete, green, home-y, relaxing ... my own zen garden. Besides the few bugs I've experienced (there are many effective ways to manage and avoid pest problems), the grass is always greener on the other side.
So in what ways can either filling your home like a green house or placing a few plants around have an impact? Let's dive in.
1. Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Being surrounded by plants tends to have a calming effect on people.
A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that indoor plants promoted comfortable, soothing and natural feelings; while supporting healthy blood pressure and the sympathetic nervous system.
It has been shown to enhance job satisfaction of office workers (great for those working from home!); reduce psychological stress, improving mood states; and improve cognitive health (see below for more on productivity.)
Even just seeing plants helps to reduce blood pressure and recovery from stress within minutes. Green is also believed to be a calming color. A 2010 study by the University of Technology Sydney found large reductions in anxiety, depression, hostility and fatigue for employees working in environments with plants.
Being stuck inside our homes - plants can help us avoid feeling boxed-in, and give us the sense of being outdoors and in open spaces. This is referred to as the concept of "biophilia", the innate human connection to nature.
2. Clean Your Air
Numerous studies have shown different ways indoor plants improve air quality. They remove toxins from the air, while some reduce molds and bacteria by 50-60%.
Different plants have air-purifying qualities, removing focused or particular toxins. Living in an area with factories, I've found plants that help clean the air for my circumstances. You can find a verified and descriptive list in this article, focusing on the best home air purifying plants revealed by NASA.
3. Enhance Cognitive Skills and Productivity
Working from home can be distracting and make it difficult to focus, but one additional benefit to having plants around are their impact on your ability to concentrate.
A study conducted by Texas A&M found that plants and flowers improve productivity in the form of innovation and creative problem-solving. And studies in Texas, Washington State and England also found an increase in production from workers exposed to indoor plants, showing just a few plants can make a world of a difference.
Plants not only improve productivity, concentration and well-being ... but memory retention too! Studies at the University of Michigan and Exeter University in the United Kingdom both highlighted plants ability to boost memory.
For a focused list on plants that aid in memory and concentration, check out Balcony Garden Web.
4. Immune Support
Plants don't just stop at helping your mental health, but your actual physical health too! Plants reduce stress from both their visual appearance and their ability to clean the air. And when you're less stressed, your immune system gets a boost!
A study conducted by the Agricultural University of Norway found that plants introduced into an office linked to a 25% decrease in symptoms of ill health! And in a time like this, we could all use an immune booth.
5. Feeling of Purpose
Having something to take care of; remember to water; and check on ... gives you a sense of well-being and purpose. Plants can help one feel not so lonely ... being an actual living thing. Which, in such a home-bound time like this, is something we all could use!
Fake plants can work too!
Yes, that's right, even artificial plants can have some positive effects! Though they may not clean the air or be a living thing, they can still give the effect of greenery and feeling of openness.
And if you're not up to the challenge of nailing down the right lighting and remembering to water or prune your plants (I get it, I also have 15 fake plants), you can find one that will fit in your space as-is and leave it at that! Some are so natural looking, even the living ones can't tell who's fake and who's real.
What works for your home?
If you're really looking for live plants but your indoor lighting situation isn't so "bright", there are plants for that too! Spider plants, dracaenas and begonias are good for bright, indirect light. Meanwhile, peace lilies, pothos, Chinese evergreen and snake plants work well in low light situations.
When choosing a plant to welcome into your home, there are a few things to check for. Make sure the plant is alive and well, and inspect the plant for signs of pests. The Gardening Know How goes over what to look for when making a selection. And if you're looking to prevent pesky bugs from getting out of control, Get Busy Gardening shares a variety of effective methods.
Plants are pretty resilient when it comes to infestations and dying leaves, so don't give up if that becomes the case. If one particular plant seems infested, you can do what I did just last week; put it outside. Throw it away, separate it from the rest. The life of one plant over my 50 others was a sacrifice I was willing to make.
Regardless, don't let those outcomes scare you away from creating your dream indoor garden. Though you can't trust the internet for everything, when it comes to plants- it's a great place for information. There are a ton of plant experts happy to share information and how-to's. Not everyone is born with a green thumb, myself included, but through trial and error (and patience!) - it's how we better ourselves with passions and hobbies we didn't have before.