Nothing can make a house feel more like home than family… and plants. Something about being surrounded by living things makes everyone take a deeper breath and relax (and plants need a lot less care than family!) You like the way they look – but did you know plants make your house a healthier place to live?
Healthy House with Houseplants
Water, forget, repeat. In many all ways, houseplants are the easiest living creature in our homes. They don’t require daily maintenance like dishes, laundry or cooking, they certainly don’t need the love and attention sometimes required by our spouses or our children, they require no fretting on the 1st, 15th, 31st or whatever days of the month require bill paying and for the most part you don’t need to clean up after them like the cat or the dog. They are also cheaper than the latest trendy décor at Target that you will take to Goodwill by next season and they have serious home maintenance skills. (Well, not like the fix the broken stuff handyman kind of skills of course – but still some mad skills).
As a 40-something adult, I’ve managed to keep myself alive, take decent care of my husband at a level that has allowed him to gain a few extra pounds, entertain two lively cats and transform my outdoor spaces with the skill of a semi-experienced landscape professional. However, I’ve always fallen short on the green thumb A+ rating required for houseplants, despite growing up with a mother that takes in houseplants like spinsters take in cats. Seriously, she can grow anything. She gives her friends African violets as gifts, they drive them to the brink of death, they give them back to her, she gives them a fresh one and nurses the sad and broken one back to health. She grows plants she doesn’t even like just to see if she can, and started one (that became two) greenhouses as a hobby for a few years while her health allowed.
Feeling House Healthy with Houseplants
So where did I go wrong? I don’t think it’s so much that I lack skill in the houseplant arena as much as I have been disinterested. But now, after we moved into our new home and I look around at this big open space that is much larger than my previous Dutch colonial, I wonder how I’m going to fill and decorate these rooms? How am I going to make them look comfortable and lived in (other than seeing dirty laundry on the floor)? And most importantly how and I going to do it affordably?
It made me think, I need to get some plants! Yes, greenery will do the trick. Big ones, small ones, short ones, tall ones. Let’s get a Dr. Seuss menagerie of plants. I’d pretty much only had a basic philodendron and some succulents in the past so I decided to do a little research. I meant to find the best plants for my house, but I was actually surprised to learn about all the health benefits of plants.
Plants Clean the Air
OK – yeah, yeah, I’m not stupid. I mean, I am a science nerd and I do understand the basic premise of photosynthesis and respiration but I’d never really thought about it in terms of a house. Many houses, especially new houses or remodeled houses are filled with pollutants, including VOC’s. There is such a thing as ‘sick house syndrome.’ But don’t despair, there’s a cure. (Do I sound like an infomercial…that could be fun.) Plants actually clean the air during their natural respiration process removing up to 87% of the VOC’s and other particles and pollutants are also absorbed and stored in the soil. So yep…I definitely need some plants, because after painting more than 2400 sqft I’m pretty sure I have some VOC’s. TIP: You need about 15-18 plants per 1800 square feet of house.
Plants Improve Health
As plants respirate they naturally release water vapor that humidifies the air. Homes tend to become ‘dry’ in winter months in cold climates or also in naturally hot dry climates like Arizona. Plants can offset some of that dry air that can contribute to dry skin, sore throats and colds and coughs. In fact, a research study by the University of Norway found that people living in homes that contained plants experienced less of the above issues than those who didn’t have plants in their homes. I guess since I live in Wisconsin and we definitely have winter I need some plants – and some lotion.
Plants are a Mood Enhancer
Like pets and a walk around the block, plants can act as a stress reliever. Multiple research studies have proven the effectiveness of the great outdoors on everything from managing depression to reducing stress. It is believed that the presence of ‘nature’ has a calming effect on people. Note to self – I have stress, get plants.
Plants Sharpen Mental Focus
Just like plants have a calming effect on mood, they also have a positive effect on mental focus. A University of Michigan study proved that plants in the home or workplace can stimulate both the senses and the mind and can improve memory function by up to 20%.
I seriously had no idea that plants for so good for me! It’s clear that my new home and quite frankly everyone’s home needs plants! Get out and get yourself some pots, some potting soil and some plants, because you need to get your house healthy.
Remember it’s simple. Water. Forget. Repeat