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Can houseplants improve the quality of your life?

houseplants on the floor

Houseplants: to have or not to have?

Houseplants are a wonderful addition to your home. Unlike outdoor garden plants, houseplants are the greenery inside your home so they require a bit more work for a harmonious life with them . When a plant grows outdoors, the nature itself does a big part of work. Outdoor plants aren’t space restricted, that’s why they can grow big, get rid of excess water or reach a bigger water supply with their roots. Also even the shadiest garden offers more light than an indoor plant can get through a window. With houseplants you have to take nature’s work upon yourself. It is true even for the most forgiving plants, especially if you want them to flourish, not merely survive.

plants on the floor

Is it a full-time commitment?

Watering houseplants is just the top of the iceberg. You will also need to feed, dust and turn them once in a while and provide the optimal level of humidity – all that according to their individual needs. If you are truly putting your soul into it, and your little garden is thriving, you will likely want to deal with cutting and repotting. Also don’t forget that if you are planning to leave for more than a week, there will be a need for finding someone that can take proper care of your houseplants in your absence.

Obviously, when we talk about having plants at home, we are talking about some sort of commitment. But let’s face the truth: no one would dedicate their time and effort to something that doesn’t provide any kind of pleasure or benefits. And when it comes to houseplants, the benefits are numerous.

Benefits of Having Plants at Home

What are the reasons to get houseplants in the first place? They can significantly improve your quality in so many ways.

Mint plant in the kitchen

Purify air

Houseplants are not only some pretty additions to your interior, they can actually improve the quality of the air you breathe.

  • Release oxygen. We all remember from school science lessons that plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Just as forests do their job for the whole planet, your houseplant will be your personal oxygen generator.
  • Humidify the air. Plants literally release water into the air consequently increasing its humidity. This makes breathing easier, it can improve the skin condition, helps to prevent nose bleeds and reduces risks of allergies. This can be especially beneficial during wintertime or in dry climates.
  • Absorb toxins. Plants have the ability to absorb gases through pores on their leaves and through their roots. They purify the air by removing toxins, such as  VOCs  (volatile organic compounds). The examples of common VOCs include benzene and formaldehyde, they are present in detergents, softeners, cosmetics we use, plastics, fabrics and so on.  The presence of these gases can lead to the increased chances of developing asthma and chronic respiratory diseases.
  • Remove mould. Some of the plants, like peace lily and English ivy, for example, help remove mould from the air. Isn’t it a great affordable alternative to commercial air-cleaning devices?
green leafed vine plant beside white pot near window

Good for your health

The range of benefits for your wellbeing may surprise you. Plants are equally good for your body and for your mind. So what exactly do they offer?

  • Boost for memory and productivity. The greenery around you has clear cognitive benefits. Being forgetful lately? Your chances to increase memory retention go 20% up if you have houseplants. What’s more, better problem-solving skills, creativity and productivity seem to be positively associated with the presence of potted plants and flowers.
  • Improve your attention. Simply adding a plant in your study at home or your workplace can boost your ability to maintain attention. We are surrounded by electronic devices in our daily life and it results in lowering our attention span. A plant creates a natural environment right by your side enabling you to regenerate the directed attention.
  • Make recovery faster. According to the study conducted by Kansas State University, plants not only improve the state of your mind but actually help your body heal faster. The results of the study conclusively proved the therapeutic value of plants in hospitals.
  • Reduce stress, fight depression. The modern pace of life doesn’t leave us many options to relax so controlling stress has become a burning issue. What if it can be fixed by a flower in a pot? By actively interacting with greenery you cut down on stress. Moreover, caring for a living organism helps to fight loneliness and depression. It’s a rewarding experience that enriches your life and makes you feel needed.
  • Improve sleep. If you are struggling to fall asleep, try placing a pot of lavender in your bedroom. The scent of this beautiful flower is known to be used as a natural sedative for centuries.

Extra perks

There’s more to having a plant, you are basically bringing the outside inside. What is the payoff?

assorted-colour petaled flowers in bloom
  • Aesthetic look. Houseplants complement the decor, brighten up the room and add colours to the interior spaces. With the diversity of sizes, colours and shapes you can be sure there’s something pretty to embellish any home.
  • Natural scents. Lavender, rosemary and peace lily are just few examples of natural air fresheners. The subtle fragrance will make the home atmosphere even cosier!

How to minimise hassle

woman watering a houseplant in a pot

1. Safety first

Now that you know the benefits of having houseplants, the idea of filling your home with this air-purifying goodness might sound tempting like never before. Note, however, that the choice of the plants is something that needs to be taken seriously. This is not only because all of them require individual approach. The thing is that some kinds of houseplants may pose potential hazard for kids, pets or elderly people with dementia.

These plants may not be a problem for a household with only adults. It does, however, pose problems for children and/or pets because they are curious explorers of the surroundings who are not aware of the potential dangers and might try to taste everything.

Plants such as aloe, lily, dieffenbachia or dracaena are definitely beautiful additions to the interior and real champs in air-humidifying. But their leaves, when ingested or even touched (in some toxic plants), can cause poisoning. That’s why it’s so important to keep toxic houseplants out of reach of anyone who might want to play with them, touch or squeeze their leaves, eat their flowers, berries or soil and taste the sap. However, if there’s no way you can prevent exposure of kids or pets to the potentially dangerous plants, it is better to choose safer options.

little girl watering a purple flower houseplant

Safety tips for those who have poisonous plants at home:

Out of reach: Place toxic plants in rooms where children and pets aren’t allowed.
Plants aren’t toys: Instruct your kids that they should never touch crush or taste parts of ANY houseplant.
Hazardous waste: Always make sure that kids or pets won’t have access to the clipped leaves after you trim the plants.
Wash your hands: Right after you finish your houseplant care routine, don’t forget to wash your hands. Wearing gloves during the process is even better.

2. Keep them healthy

Now that you know how to keep your kids, pets and yourself absolutely safe, let’s consider how to make your friends in the pot equally happy and well.

3. Water and light.

  • You’ll have to make a bit of research to find out if the plant you have needs a lot of light and frequent watering. If you are buying one, just check the the care instructions on the label. The general rule is that plants without flowers with dark thick leaves require less fuss. They are a great option for newbies or for those who consider themselves the opposite of a “green thumb”.
  • If you can not remember if you have watered the plant before, just lift the pot up. A recently watered one will feel significantly heavier.

4. Going away

Going away for holidays? The simplest solution is to put all the plants together in a darker place, prune them, clean leaves by wiping them with a moist towel and water them generously just before you leave. Placing them together will create more humidity in the surrounding so they will require less water. This can work for up to two weeks depending on your plants.

Finding a perfect match

Match your plants with your experience. Start with low-maintenance types first, so that you don’t let each other down. You can go for something stylish and robust like snake plant or spider plant. They will tolerate lower light and lower humidity.

Indoor plants bring beauty into your house. They make the air you breathe better and are a real boost to your well-being. So why not consider enhancing the quality of your life while making your place look absolutely great?

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