Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Houseplants for a Healthy Winter!

How Houseplants Affect Our Health

Yes, that is me!  I have been taking care of plants for a very long time.  The sanseveria or snake plant (also known as 'mother-in-law's tongue') in the photo was my grandmother's.  I now have in my front window  the same plant. It is probably over 60 years old. Obviously, a very reliable houseplant


Seeing green plants during these long winter periods around the house, keeps me from going completely bonkers! Healthy therapeutic benefits have been documented for homes, schools, and offices.

Relative humidity can get a boost and make the environment more comfortable and healthy.  Rooms with houseplants have 50% - 60% fewer airborne particles. As an air purifier, plants remove chemicals that come from fabrics, carpet, and cleaning materials.

Toxins like formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, acetone, and chloroform come from adhesives, caulking compounds, paints, particle board, stains,and varnishes.  Other offenders that put off harmful chemicals are tobacco smoke, detergents, and ceiling tiles. Houseplants can cleanse the air for a healthier environment.

Home and office settings could all benefit from the presents of houseplants. Plants can remove up to 87% of air toxins within 24 hours, replacing the toxins with oxygen. Health issues like symptoms of fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and concentration problems fell by 30%, and coughs were reduced by 40%, while hoarseness and dry throats were reduced by 30%.  Sorry, but you need to invent another excuse for taking the day off since sick days related to environmental conditions were greatly reduced with in introduction of plants in the workplace. Then again, you may realize a higher overall job satisfaction and enthusiasm, less frustration and more patience and you won't be looking for an excuse to call off.  

School settings have also showed benefits by having nature in the classroom.  Students were placed in two rooms - one with plant material around the room, the other with no plant material, only bare walls. The two groups were given a list to memorize.  The students in the plant filled room remembered more of the list than those in the bare room.

Houseplants have a place in the home.  They make the rooms more warm feeling and are attractive decorating elements.  Plants finish the setting. Since houseplants can take low light conditions, they adapt well in the home or office.

Fertilize houseplants monthly with a liquid organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion or seaweed extract to keep them healthy  Pest control of spider mites, mealy bugs, and white fly can be treated with insecticidal soap spray or tacky paper strips placed on the plant. See how to recognize houseplant stress here.

Envision your space with a healthy green plant.  Enrich your environment with healthy benefits of houseplants.  Enjoy.