Spruce up your indoor spaces with plants, which also provide a wide range of health and emotional benefits. Several studies show the direct correlation (listed below) between increased health and lifestyle benefits from plants in work and home environments.
What can indoor plants do for you?
- Remove toxins in the air and provide oxygen to help the indoor air quality
- Provide a cooling effect
- Add humidity and moisture
- Add style and aesthetics
- Reduce office noise levels
- Improve productivity by lowering stress and fatigue
- Reduce dust and mold levels
Here are some tips to help you grow popular indoor plant varieties:
- Ivy likes indirect light, and to be evenly watered, and doesn’t mind drying-out occasionally.
- Spider plants are great pollution fighters that are easy to grow in moderate light, and they attract few insects.
- Peace Lilies are easy to care for, should be kept moist, and will wilt when they need to be watered.
- Ferns need medium or bright indirect light. The Boston fern is a good pollution-fighting variety, but requires little maintenance aside from dealing with dropped fronds.
- Ficus trees need medium to high light. They shouldn’t be watered until their leaves begin to turn yellow. They are sensitive to changes in light and cold drafts, but once established, they are easy to care for.
Plants in Work Environments
The use of plants in offices isn’t just limited to potted plants on desks; it also includes large plant installations in lobbies and public spaces, including living, full-size trees and shrubs, “green-walls,” green roofs, and extensive outdoor landscaping including seating and recreational areas.
What are the benefits?
- Plants make a building look welcoming. Plants reduce stress for visitors as well as employees and create a calming atmosphere; they also soften a building’s hard edges and bring nature indoors.
- Indoor plants improve health. A Swedish study shows the more plants employees could see, the less sickness was present.
- Indoor plants improve productivity and reduce stress. A Washington State University study shows the direct link between plants and worker productivity and stress levels.
Studies touting the benefits of bringing more green to home and work environments:
The Daily Mail newspaper recently reported on a study, conducted by environmental psychology expert Dr. Tina Bringslimark from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Uppsala University, Sweden, which showed that having indoor plants in the workplace is good for workers health. “Results showed the more plants they (employees) could see, the less sick leave they took,” the study reported.
The health care industry is taking note of research about the health benefits of viewing plants either indoors or in landscaped areas outdoors. Roger S. Ulrich., Ph.D., of Texas A&M University notes in a study that, “The fact that there is limited but growing scientific evidence that viewing gardens can measurably reduce patient stress and improve health outcomes has been a key factor in the major resurgence in interest internationally in providing gardens in hospitals and other health care facilities.” Ulrich also notes that, “There is considerable evidence that restorative effects of nature scenes are manifested within only three to five minutes as a combination of psychological/emotional and physiological changes.”
A study conducted by Virginia Lohr of Washington State University found that, “When plants were added to this interior space, the participants were more productive (12 percent quicker reaction time on the computer task) and less stressed (systolic blood pressure readings lowered by one or four units).” The study, which was conducted in a computer lab, “confirms that interior plants can contribute to reduced stress,” and it also documented that, “worker productivity on tasks requiring concentration and quick reactions can improve when plants are added to the work space.”