Indoor plants, also referred to as potted plants or house plants, grow indoors and are commonly used for decorative purposes in homes and offices. These indoor plants are in trend nowadays, as you have already seen those on social media in beautiful interior designs, hanging on the walls, or fresh trees in the corner of the rooms. Let’s explore the benefits and care of indoor plants.
The popularity of these house plants is not just because of their mesmerizing look and decorative purpose but also because of their numerous health benefits. These plants can improve the air quality you breathe in and also boost overall health and well-being. research shows, we spend over 85 percent of our time indoors, making it important to bring nature into our surroundings by incorporating beautiful plants in our rooms and hallways.
As much as people are getting aware of the benefits of these indoor plants, these are trending everywhere. Now, most people enjoy indoor gardening or like to gift their colleagues and friends a nice cute indoor plant that they can put on their office desks or on their side tables.
Benefits of Indoor Plants
Most of us are well aware of the beauty and attractiveness of indoor plants, as they can make any space look elegant and fresh. However, these plants offer amazing benefits that many of us are not aware of:
1. Improves Air Quality
Our homes are not as safe as we think; many things are present in our homes, including paints, cleaning products, sprays, and refrigerators, which can release harmful toxins into the air and cause air pollution. But the pollution comes from the things which can release gasses into the air. For example, room fresheners and building materials can continuously release pollutants into the air.
Other sources like smoking and tobacco can also pollute the air. All these pollutants can build up in the air, irritate eyes and skin, and cause breathing problems. But houseplants can remove all of these pollutants from the surroundings they are present in.
According to an early study by NASA in 1989 (B.C, 1989), when the researchers were looking for a way to improve air quality within sealed aircraft, they concluded that soil and roots of houseplants can reduce airborne harmful organic compounds. The researchers also found out that houseplants can remove harmful chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde from the air and improve their quality.
Many other studies have also found that a large number of plants in a place can purify the air as efficiently as biofilters and other technologies. There are various indoor plants that are effective in purifying air like:
- Boston Ferns
- Spider plant
- Bamboo palms
- Ficus tree
But the ability of the plant to purify the air depends upon several factors, including the size of the space, the size of the plant, and the number of pollutants present within the air. But an average of 6-8 medium size plants can purify the air of a large room.
2. Makes Space More Comfortable
Indoor plants not only bring colors and elegance into the place, but they also pleasantly change the environment. They can make the environment more comfortable by absorbing noise, reducing humidity, moderating temperature, and shading a sunny window.
Studies (Lee, 2015) have also shown the benefits of indoor plants in making the surrounding more pleasant. According to a study published in the journal of Physiological Anthropology, the plants in homes can help in making you feel more natural, comfortable, and soothing.
In this study, the participants were given two tasks, one was to rearrange and report the houseplants while the other one was some computer-based task. The biological factors of participants were measured after each task. And the study found out that the participants had good heart rates and vitals while repotting as compared with the computer.
Most indoor houseplants have the ability to absorb noise and reduce the production of mold and mildew. But some of the best in this task include:
- Peace Lily
- Spider Plant
Ferns and peace lilies both are great noise-absorbing plants because of their widespread leaves. On the other hand, palms and spider plants can effectively reduce humidity and moisturizers from the sir, which is one of the major causes of mold in homes. So, placing the plants in the kitchen or bathrooms can help in keeping mold away from these damp places.
So, before filling your space with different gadgets and accessories, take some time and think about the benefits you can get from beautiful plants.
3. Reduce Stress & Improve Mental Well-being
Besides improving air quality and providing a comfortable environment, indoor plants can also reduce stress and improve mental health. Potting the plants and their regular maintenance provide an opportunity to forget about all the stressful things going into a person’s head. As this distraction helps with mental well-being, the plants also enjoy their care and grow well to provide additional benefits.
According to researchers (Seixas, 2017), horticulture therapy has been used to increase well-being and reduce anxiety and depression among people. In ancient times and modern clinics in England and Manchester, indoor plants are prescribed to patients suffering from depression and anxiety. In another 2015 study (Lee, 2015), the participants who were working on houseplants felt less depression and anxiety as compared to the plants who were working on computers.
These researchers have found that when people start to learn how to take care of their houseplants, their quality of life improves. This is because of the feeling of accomplishment they felt with their plant
4. Increase productivity
Indoor plants are also very beneficial for working spaces, whether you work from home or at your office; looking at some fresh greenery can provide a restorative effect. Multiple studies have found the benefits of indoor plants in a workspace in increasing both creativity and positivity.
According to researchers, an employee’s productivity can be increased by 15% after placing the plants into the office, which was bare previously. A study of students from 1996 found that the students working in the computer plants were less stressed and worked much better when there were plants nearby them. (Goodwin, 1996)
There are a variety of indoor plants that you can keep in your workspace, but you can select the low-light plants and the ones with low maintenance as well. Because the plants requiring low maintenance do not need much watering or repotting, you can just focus on your work without worrying about your beloved plants.
Low-light plants are also the best option for people who like to work in dark or enclosed spaces. There are certain plants that have the ability to survive in these conditions. Especially the plants native to dense forests with little light reaching them. Such plants include:
- Snake Plants
- Peace Lily
The snake plant is one of those plants which can easily handle low light and also does not need high maintenance to grow well. A peace lily is also a low-maintenance option with a beautiful appearance.
5. Helps in Healing Faster
People who are surrounded by plants have a natural sanctuary around them in which they feel safe and protected. Being able to look at their beauty and bloom may help with the speed of recovery from various health conditions.
Researchers have found out people suffering from some kind of surgery are surrounded by greenery, feel less pain, and have a shorter hospital stay as compared to those patients who weren’t looking at any greenery during their recovery period. In fact, researchers at Kansas State University found out that the patients who have plants around them have lower blood pressure, normal heart rate, and less depression and anxiety when recovering from the surgery as compared to those patients who do not have greenery in their hospital room. (Flowering Plants Speed Post-surgery Recovery, 2008)
Other than these healing benefits, there are various plants that themselves used as medications to treat several diseases:
- Aloe Vera
These indoor plants are known as medicinal herbs as they can be used in traditional medicines to treat conditions like digestive issues, skin diseases, and other medical conditions. Aloe Vera is a commonly found indoor plant that is mostly used for sunburn and other skin conditions. Peppermint and basil are considered to be very effective for digestive issues, while ginger has antibacterial properties which help with fighting against cough, cold, and congestion.
Proper Caring of Indoor Plants
Indoor plants have different requirements and caring methods than outdoor plants. Soil, humidity, moisture, and temperature are all factors that should be kept in mind while buying and potting an indoor plant. Each of the species of the plant has it’s own different requirements depending upon its location.
- Temperature: Most of the indoor species of plants have been adapted to survive within the temperature range between 20-25 degrees Celsius. But the temperature mostly depends upon the location of the plants from where it is native. Succulents and cacti are native to deserts. And other mostly houseplants are either epiphytes or live in a dry habitat which makes them a good option to be placed within dry indoor air and infrequent watering.
- Soil: There are certain specialized soil mixtures for indoor plants, which are mostly known as potting mix, potting compost, or potting soil. This soil mixture consists of coir and perlite.
- Watering: most indoor plants do not thrive in frequent watering, as too much can get settled into the roots of these plants and cause root rot. This root rot is one of the most common causes of the death of indoor plants.
- Fertilizers: All plants need potassium, phosphate, and nitrate to survive. They also need some micronutrients like iron, zinc, chlorine, manganese, and boron to grow well. Indoor plants cannot get access to all of these nutrients, so they have to give fertilizers rich in these nutrients regularly.
- Potting: most of the indoor plants are planted in pots with drainage holes. These holes are essential to get rid of extra water and avoid over-watering. The pots are generally divided into two groups, porous and non-porous. The porous pot allows the air to flow from its sides while the non-porous pot restricts the airflow.
Preventions to Keep in Mind
Having indoor plants in your home or office can provide a lot of benefits and improve physical and emotional health, but there are also some things that you should be aware of before having your indoor garden:
- Pests Infestation: some houseplants attract molds, insects, and other pets. Try not to use garden soil while repotting your plant. And while buying your indoor plant pay attention to its characteristics and needs, as overwatering can increase the risk of fungus and mold growth.
- Allergies or Asthma: These are some allergies like asthma which can be worsened by pollen. But luckily, indoor plants do not produce much pollen. But the dampness created by some of the plants may trigger the symptoms. So if you see your indoor plants are not suitable for your health condition, you can remove them or buy a new one after discussing it with your health physician.
Indoor plants are very famous these days because of their extensive use in decorating homes and interior designing. But these plants are much more than this. Besides their mesmerizing look and colorful appearance, these plants can provide numerous benefits and improve both mental and physical health. These plants can reduce stress, increase productivity and provide a comfortable environment for you to rest and work. One of the biggest benefits of these plants is that they have the ability to reduce pollutants. It also provides fresh and clean air to breathe in.
But it is very important to choose the right plant according to your location and lifestyle. Some plants can be toxic to pets or children. Choose the right plant for you and take proper care of it to fully experience its benefits, as some plants can trigger allergies or exacerbate symptoms.
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