Indoor gardening is still enjoying an increase in popularity, fed by plant-based podcasts, social media’s greenery-inspired interior designs, and online plant subscription services like Grounded and Lazy Flora.
While social media trends have short life-cycles, indoor gardening may endure longer than many due to the many ways houseplants improve well-being and health. Here’s what studies tell us about the benefits of working and living with indoor plants.
Health Benefits of Indoor Plants
1. Plants may improve our whole outlook on work
A view of the urban park might increase anyone’s job satisfaction — but it might surprise you to learn that an indoor plant could have a similar effect .
Researchers interviewed more than 440 Amazon employees in the United States and India. They found that those whose office spaces included natural elements like indoor plants felt more committed to the organization and greater job satisfaction than those who did not work around natural elements.
Experts said the natural elements helped to buffer the effects of job anxiety and stress.
2. Plants can enhance the quality of indoor air
Scientific backing for phytoremediation — that’s the term for plants scrubbing contaminants from the air — usually begins with a NASA research conducted in the 1980s .
Researchers then looked for ways to improve the air quality in a sealed spacecraft. They confirmed that the soil and roots of houseplants reduced airborne VOCs (volatile organic compounds) remarkably.
Since those initial studies, experts have both concluded those findings and called them into question.
Recent findings indicate that you’d have to shelter a large number of plants to equal the air-purifying potency of modern biofilters and other technologies.
If you do decide to buy houseplants to freshen the air naturally, these are several of the species shown to be most effective:
- dwarf date, areca, lady, and bamboo palms
- rubber tree
- Ficus tree
- spider plant
- Boston fern
3. They Help to Improve the Mental Health
Plants naturally support healing and not by crushing them and using their juices! Just having them in our homes can help to enhance our mental health.
Scientists in the UK found that individuals who live around nature feel much better than those that don’t. This isn’t just about those who live in the non-urban areas, either. Just looking at the greenery in our home will help .
There are multiple theories on how this is the case. One of them is that the plants make us think of the outdoors. We think about open spaces and the countryside. The plants help you feel less caged in, particularly if you live in an inner-city.
Plants also have a sense of tranquility around them. They don’t care about our busy day. They stand there and grow. Plants are docile and patient, which helps to create that atmosphere in our home. Rather than constantly feeling like we’re rushing around everyone else, we can get the plants’ calming nature.
[Read: 6 Lessons About Mental Health]
4. Our Immune System Gets a Boost
It’s not just our mental well-being that benefits. Our physical well-being does too. Plants help to give our immune system a much-needed boost, particularly during flu season.
Part of this is linked to mental benefits. When we get more sleep and feel more relaxed, our immune system can work more. We’ll find it much simpler to fight off the viruses and bugs doing their rounds. But that is not the only way we gain.
Plants contain phytoncides and other airborne chemicals. These chemicals help to minimize the amount of stress we feel throughout the day. We don’t even need to see them gain this benefit! When we feel less stressed, our immune system gets a natural boost.
Most of the time, we won’t physically feel the positive effects, except when we realize that we haven’t had a cold that our friends have had!
5. They Add More Humidity to our home
Plants almost release all of the water they take in. This is great news for us, as the water will improve our air quality and health. Dry air may lead to irritation in the lungs and lead to dry mouth and overheating problems. Our body requires moisture as much as possible.
Plants offer the best way to add humidity back into the air. We don’t need to purchase a humidifier and see our electricity bills surge. The plant does it all for us for absolutely nothing.
If we struggle to sleep because of dry air at night, we should add plants to our bedroom. They will continuously release the water throughout the night, so our bedroom remains at the best level. We can also use plants in the living room and dining room to make our living spaces much more comfortable.
Simultaneously, plants will also soak in some of the moisture to use later. We can help manage the bathroom or kitchen humidity levels much better to improve your breathing health.
Health considerations to remember
Having plants in our home or office (or our home office) confers many benefits, but there are some risks involved, too. Remember these if you decide if you want an indoor garden.
Be alert for pest infestations
Houseplants can operate as a Trojan horse for molds, insects, and other pests. If you are repotting a plant, it’s not a great idea to use soil from your garden to do so.
As you’re selecting plants, pay attention to each species’ watering needs because overwatering can create ideal conditions for mold growth and fungus gnats.
Having plants in the office or our home can be a source of pleasure. Indoor gardening boosts creativity, relieves stress, focus, and productivity, and promotes recovery. There’s some evidence that houseplants can positively impact the air quality in our home as well.
It’s crucial to know which plants are toxic if you have pets or children in the home. If we have allergies or asthma, we should be alert to species that aggravate our symptoms.
Sharing our working or living space with living, “breathing” plant life can make our environment a healthier, happier place to be.