It’s really nothing more than being green the old-fashioned way. We just didn’t call it that. When I was a kid and our family went on vacation, we not only roped a neighbor into feeding our dog but also into watering the indoor plants while we were away. There were ferns in hanging baskets, easy-to-grow philodendron, temperamental African violets and a wide assortment of ivy and succulents. My grandmother is so good with them that twice a year, she used to hold a well-attended plant sale.
Last year I wrote Agrigirl’s Blog of Practical Houseplants which was in part a spoof on T.S. Eliot but never mind,I think I was far too obscure with that connection and the post was mostly about the oxygen producing benefits of houseplants. It’s true that many of these benefits are associated with air quality but there are more. And of course, the fact that we can engage in endless debate about whether houseplant is one word or two didn’t even make the list.
- They look good. A few well-placed plants in a room are an easy way to decorate but this comes from someone with little decorative talent so I’ve counting on the likes of Judy and Rukmini to chime in and confirm this. Seriously, I love the ambiance that greenery adds to a room. In grad school, one of the local establishments was referred to as a fern bar. I’m not sure I remember the fern.
- They can be useful. Some indoor plants, like aloe vera, can be applied to skin as pain relief for kitchen or sun burns. Sally, you might have ideas to offer here.
- They bring nature indoors. Five years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of the key recommendations from my readings and from the Wellness Community is to spend more time in nature. I couldn’t agree more and for those times that I’m stuck indoors, the greenery in my office and my home helps me connect with the world that is alive outdoors.
- Plants make you happy. According to Dr. Bruno Cortis, a Chicago cardiologist, studies have shown that hospital patients who face a window with a garden view recover more quickly than those who look at the wall of the opposing building.
- Plants can prevent allergies. By exposing children to allergens such as plants when they are very young, they are able to build a tolerance to the allergen. It works sort of like a customized allergy shot.
- Having indoor plants may keep you healthy. House plants have been shown to reduce cold-related illnesses by more than 30%. This is because they increase the humidity in the home while at the same time decreasing dust.
- Plants can decrease your blood pressure. A study by Live Science showed that people with plants in their homes have less stress and that contributes to lower blood pressure.
- The presence of green living plants in the workplace has been shown to increase worker productivity. There must be a corresponding benefit at home. Joe, if you’re reading this, I’m certain you have data.
- Plants improve the air quality. Not only do plants filter out bad stuff but they produce oxygen and that has numerous benefits such as clearing congestion, reducing headaches and providing for a better night’s sleep. Set a vase of Gerbera daisies in your bedroom to improve your rest.
- They give you the opportunity to test out some really cool new technology. Botanicalls actually enable your plant to tweet you when it needs water. Check out these tweets!
Since my earlier house plant post, I’ve heard from so many people looking for more information. Over the next few months, I’ll try to offer more on this topic. Until then, green your home with greenery.