Flowers and plants are staples in many American homes, adding to the style and aesthetic of virtually any space. While the visual benefits of plants are widely embraced, many people are unaware of the ways plants can support mental and physical well-being, too.
"Plants offer countless benefits beyond beauty," explains Alfred Palomares, vice president of merchandising at 1-800-Flowers.com. "From improving air quality to having calming and healing benefits, plants are such an important component to keep in your home."
Palomares lends insight into the top benefits of plants and which species you should consider placing in your favorite spaces:
Have you ever noticed that when you visit a garden or park, you instantly feel at ease? Greenery has the innate ability to calm and reduce stress. The sights and smells promote calm and a feeling of escape, which is particularly important during times of stress.
Work is a top source of stress for many people, so it makes sense that plants are a smart addition to workspaces. The study "The positive effects of office plants" by Nursery Papers Technical researched plants in the workplace and found employees had many beneficial experiences, including:
- Depression/dejection reduced by 58%
- Anger/hostility reduced by 44%
- Tension/anxiety reduced by 37%
- Confusion reduced by 30%
Because many people are now working from home and children are attending school remotely, add plants to office and study spaces to reduce stress and make the space more welcoming.
Plant to consider: Lavender has delicate purple buds that offer a splash of color to the space and a scent that fills a room with its calm-invoking characteristics.
A home office that nurtures
For your home office in particular, choose furnishings and decor that improve your comfort, functionality and focus. Make sure your chair is ergonomic and adjusted at the right height for your desk, and that the space has adequate lighting and ventilation.
Plants suitable for a home office should be easy to maintain, and will not take over the space. For example, a hanging plant that won't use up valuable desk space can add a welcome touch of green.
Plant to consider: English Ivy can beautifully spruce up your work area.
Improve air quality
Plants can improve air quality by decreasing the levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air by up to 89%, according to a report by the NASA Stennis Space Center. VOCs are commonly found in household items and paints, and include formaldehyde, benzene and trichlorethylene, among others.
Many green houseplants have the ability to:
- Reduce carbon dioxide levels in a home
- Control humidity levels
- Reduce indoor pollution levels
- Reduce airborne dust levels
- Add oxygen to the air
Plant to consider: Peace Lily can remove pollutants and absorb harmful substances like ammonia and xylene that may be present in your home, plus has a pleasant scent when in bloom.
Healing and health-promoting
Plants are believed to calm and promote healing in people of all ages. In fact, just looking at pictures of plants can have a positive impact. The reason? Scientists believe that the calming effects of nature images can reduce cortisol levels and improve mood, effectively speeding up the healing process.
Of course live plants are the ideal. A Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine article found that patients recovering from surgery with plants and flowers in their room have experienced:
- Lower blood pressure and heart rate
- Lower ratings of pain, anxiety and fatigue
- Fewer intakes of pain medication
Whether you're recovering from an illness or simply want to promote the overall wellness of the people who live in your home, consider placing plants throughout the most-used spaces to reap the benefits.
Plant to consider: Aloe Vera is an ancient natural remedy that not only adds visual appeal, but the clear gel from the plant's leaves also soothes the skin.
"The power of plants is incredible," says Palomares. "Whether you bring plants into your own home to promote calm and wellness, or you gift to a loved one as a special surprise, greenery is a wonderful way to elevate a space in numerous ways."