5 benefits of air purifying plants (and why I'm now an indoor plant enthusiast)
By Amy Crawford
Have you met Felicity? That's her in all her crowning glory above. She's now about 7 weeks old and by the looks of her radiant, vibrant beauty, I seem to be doing ok on the green thumb front. I'll be honest, I've suprised myself somewhat but it's largely thanks to my social media community that I am armed with top tips to care for her and to ensure we have a long, happy and healthy life together. Fingers and toes!
Perhaps however, you've not yet met Fleur. That's her below, taking pride of place in my bathroom. She's only been with me for 6 days so I'm unable to take credit for her healthy look and feel. I'm feeling quietly confident.
I've done some reading lately on the benefits of air purifying plants and in doing so stumbled across an array of other benefits, benefits that have encouraged me to up my measly two-fern collection ASAP.
Potplants come in and out of trend, of that I'm largely unaffected, if there is more I can do to benefit my work and living environment, let me at it! So here goes, my top five, in no particular order.
1. Cost effective!
I have always loved fresh flowers and the happy, living vibe they provide about my home, particularly in my bathroom and living area. However, the thriftier folks amongst us, the obvious beauty of a pot plant is that they keep on giving, enabling us to save our hard earned pennies for other things. There is much satisfaction to be gained from spending less, and simplifying your life.
2. Improves productivity at work.
This article by The Guardian references a 10 year study by Dr Chris Night of Exeter University. Night came to the conclusion that employees are 15% more productive when lean work spaces are filled out with a selection of houseplants. "If you put an ant into a 'lean' jam jar, or a gorilla in a zoo into a 'lean' cage – they're miserable beasties," he said. He went on to say that people in offices are no different.
3. Helps us to breath.
Plants and humans are natural partners. When we breathe we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants on the other hand absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, thus increasing oxygen availability for us.
Here's another interesting fact. According to an article I read by Melissa Breyer, during the night photosynthesis stops and plants instead absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide. So, we need to get clever with our plant selection in the bedroom folks because she tells me orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads actually take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen! On that note, meet my pretty succulent selection adorning my bedroom chest of drawers.
4. Purifies the air.
Thanks to NASA who have conducted extensive research around plants in enclosed spaces, we now know as much as we do. Their 10 year research study brought to light a "new concept in indoor air quality improvement". The 1988 research paper went on to say "Both plant leaves and roots are utilised in removing trace levels of toxic vapors from inside tightly sealed buildings. Low levels of chemicals such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde can be removed from indoor environments by plant leaves alone.."
5. Improves our health.
According to an article by Bayer Advanced, plants increase humidity of the air around them. If you place a few plants together you can increase the humidity of a room and work towards reducing the onset of respiratory illnesses. The article referenced studies at the Agricultural University of Norway stating that using plants in interior spaces will help reduce the onset of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs.
Ok green thumbs, I ask of you this, what are you favourite indoor plant varieties? Tips for those plants tending to "thrive on neglect" gratefully received.. with those who find upkeep a challenge!