Does the thought of a house full of indoor plants make you nostalgic for the 1970’s? Spider plants in macramé plant holders! Boston ferns in front of every window! While house plants have never really gone out of style, they are experiencing something of a comeback these days. They’re an easy way to get a little bit of nature in our homes, and have practical, healthful benefits, too.
Thinking about getting a plant? Here are six reasons why you should.
Plants Filter Out Toxic Compounds
NASA researchers discovered that spider plants scrub harmful chemicals (volatile organic compounds, or VOCs) from the air. VOCs are compounds like formaldehyde, ammonia, and benzene that can come from upholstery, adhesives, ceiling tiles, paint, and other common indoor substances. These compounds can cause headaches, eye irritation, and dizziness. After the first spider plant study, scientists have found that many common indoor plants, like areca palms, English ivy, and rubber plants are good at absorbing VOCs.
Plants Humidify Indoor Air
Plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. They also add moisture to the air. This can help you avoid dry skin, coughs, and sore throats that may be caused by dry indoor air. If your nasal passages are dry, you’re more vulnerable to catching a cold or the flu. If you have asthma or other breathing problems, dry air can lead to the narrowing of your breathing passages and trigger an attack. More humid air also suppresses airborne dust and reduces static electricity.
Plants Can Help You Heal
Plants can help you recover from an illness or surgery. A 2009 study found that patients whose hospital rooms contained house plants reported lower rates of pain, fatigue, and anxiety while recovering from surgery. Their blood pressure was also lower than patients recovering without plants.
Plants Reduce Stress
The presence of plants reduces stress and increases calm. This can help improve concentration and help your memory. In one study, researchers found that the calming influence of plants improved subjects’ memory by 20%.
Plants Make a House a Home
Plants humanize living spaces, and make even a less familiar living space seem like home. If you’re moving out of the home you’ve lived in forever and into a smaller home for retirement, the plants you’ve always had can come with you can make the new place seem more comfortable. Indoor plants add a splash of vibrant color to a room. They can even have practical roles like acting as a room divider or screen. They can also make a space quieter by absorbing noise.
Plants Inspire a Sense of Responsibility and Compassion
The useful role of taking care of a house plant can be comforting and act as a healthy link to home, even if you’ve moved. Having something to take care of is an important way to stay involved in day-to-day activities. Elder-care experts often recommend including plants in the design of dementia-care environments because of their positive impact on residents. Plants create positive emotions, and provide opportunities for rewarding activity and continuing daily responsibility.
If you’re ready to add some green to your house, but aren’t sure what indoor plants to look for, some popular indoor plants are areca palms, lady palms, aloe vera, spider plants, rubber plants, Dallas ferns, and golden pothos.
As you bring plants indoors, though, remember that some common houseplants are toxic to pets. If you have pets, ensure that your plants are safe. Check with your veterinarian or find a list of toxic plants (the ASPCA publishes a comprehensive and searchable list) and don’t bring in anything that could harm your pets.