Winter can feel long at times. It can be easy to begin to yearn for the greenness of plants and the vivid colors of flowers. But why wait for Spring when you can integrate a few plants into your home or office right now?
Beauty with Benefits
A cheerful plant in a sunny window offers an easy reason to smile and a boost in mood. Research agrees; studies have shown that indoor plants can benefit both your physical and mental health.
A study by NASA demonstrated that plants can clean indoor air of a variety of chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and ammonia. These chemicals often enter the air due to the use of common household products like cleansers, detergents, aerosols, paints and fixatives.
Feeling a little stressed? A house plant can help with that too! According to a 2008 study, Dutch researchers found that hospital patients who had plants in their rooms were less stressed than those that had no plants. Another 2008 study by Kansas State University showed that patients with plants in their rooms required fewer pain killers than those without plants.
As if that were not enough to convince most people to run out to their local nursery, a recent study by the Harvard School of Health demonstrated that women who keep plants around them live 12 percent longer than those who don’t.
The Next Step
From cleaning the air, to decreasing stress and contributing to a longer life, plants are a great addition to the family. But how do you get started?
First take a good look around your room. Watch throughout the day to see where the sunlight falls. This will help you determine what type of indoor plant to choose. Some plants like Peace Lily enjoy low lighting. So, a little bit of indoor shade won’t hurt. While other plants such as Cornstalk Dracaena prefer a much sunnier locale.
Other great plants to consider include: Variegated Snake Plant, Ferns, Rubber Trees, Bamboo Palms, Pothos and Philodendrons.
Just remember that it can be easy to over water indoor plants. Get to know your plants specific requirements and keep to schedule. This will make it easy to remember to meet your plant’s needs. Fertilizing once a month should be sufficient for most indoor plants.
Spend a few minutes each month dusting off your plants leaves, this will help them photosynthesize more successfully and ultimately improve the air quality of your room. Now breathe deep and enjoy!
Danielle Simmons, Horticulture and Animal Interactions
Inspired by her childhood experience of play in the forests of upstate New York, Danielle has devoted her career to connecting human wellness with a deeper engagement to the natural world. Danielle planted and manages the greenhouse and the garden beds at Sunrise. She enjoys teaching guests the many uses of herbs, from first aid to making herbal teas and salves. When she is not being inspired by the big trees and abundant water at Sunrise, she is enjoying time with her family and their organic garden, which they tend on their homestead south of Santa Fe.