The Benefits of House Plants

Presented To Business Magnets By Eve Vine, Gardening of Eden in Horsham.

Although humans evolved surrounded by plants and trees, we now spend the majority of our lives indoors either at home or at work. Our world has changed dramatically over the last century, we now have double glazing, central heating, fitted carpets, all manner of cleaning agents, synthetic materials and of course technology. We are surrounded by TV’s Computers, Printers, Laptops, I Pads and mobile phones.

The indoor environment is now far more polluted than the exterior. The modern home or office is prone to all manner of toxins, such as:-

Formaldehyde from carpets, flat pack furniture and insulation materials

Benzine found in Cigarette smoke, detergents pesticides and synthetic materials. These contribute to Asthma and Allergies

Xylene from Paints, Varnishes and Thinners

Trichloroethylene from solvents

Propanol from cleaning products. These can cause mild eye nose and throat irritations to more serious conditions.

Pollutant emissions from Computers etc.

This is just a few of the harmful toxins surrounding us which is pretty scary.

So what can we do about it.

We can use House Plants

A room filled with plants can lift the spirits and give you a nice feel good factor. They look good but they are extremely good for your health too.

They can purify the air, absorb toxins, take in carbon dioxide and give off health-giving oxygen and water vapour.

As well as purifying the air we breathe the presence of indoor plants have also been shown to have many other beneficial effects, research has shown that they include

  • Increased positive feelings and reduced feelings of anxiety, anger and sadness.
  • Reduction of sound levels
  • Reduction of stress levels
  • Control of humidity to the within the optimum levels for human health
  • Having a cooling effect
  • Improved concentration levels leading to improved productivity particularly with those working with computers
  • Reduction of absenteeism in the workplace
  • Faster recovery from mental tiredness
  • Interiors feel spacious, looked after and clean
  • People prefer to occupy rooms that contain plants
  • They provide Improved image – interiors are perceived as “more expensive”

Its pretty fantastic isn’t it – and it’s true. So what sort of plants can do this?

I have chosen just a few

The Peace Lily. It excels in removing Alcohol, Acetone, Benzene and Formaldehyde. It reduces harmful Toxins that may cause cancer. It is highly recommended for Sick Building Syndrome. It also absorbs mold spores so is good for placing in Bathrooms, Kitchens and Laundry Rooms. Thrives in lower lighted areas. Do not place in direct sunlight. Requires a good heavy watering but allow soil to dry out between waterings. Give a good misting twice a week. Can be harmful to cats.

Spider Plant. Seen as an old fashioned plant nowadays but particularly effective against formaldehyde, xylene, and the emissions from computer terminals. It removes poisonous gases like carbon monoxide.  – Likes bright indirect sunlight and plenty of water whilst growing.

Dragon tree (Dracaena). Removes Formaldehyde and Benzene from the air and absorbs trichloroethylene (solvents) Capable of filtering other toxins. It’s easy to care for, prefers mid to light shade and sparse watering, but a spray now and again. It doesn’t like fluoride so is best watered with rain water. Can be harmful to dogs

Parlour Palm. Releases copious amounts of moisture into the air so is a great humidifier. Removes chemical toxins like Formaldehyde and Xylene. Prefers semi shade – Not too much water but a regular spray

Aloe Vera – Filters various gas emissions from dangerously toxic materials. Claims to possess lots of medicinal properties. Do not place in direct sunlight. Don’t over water

Ivy – Removes Formaldehyde and Benzines which can cause Asthma and Allergies. A fast growing trailing plant that would look good on an office shelf trailing down. Cut it back if it gets to long.

My final plant is the Jade Plant or Money Plant – it is also called the lucky plant or friendship plant. It can absorb Formaldehyde, Benzenes and Carbon Monoxide.

In Feng Shui, it is believed that plants have the ability to dispel stagnant energy and the potentially harmful Sha Chi of arrows and sharp corners in a room – especially offices with all sorts of hard squares and corners. They give a sense of balance. This plant is supposed to be very lucky but can bring even more luck if 9 coins are placed under the soil of the plant. Place in a wealth area of home such as kitchen, living room or office.

Requires light shade, not direct sunlight. Water every 10 days but allow soil to dry out between watering. Feed regularly

So what about Maintenance

The biggest cause of problems in maintenance of indoor plants is over watering which causes root rot and often the edges of leaves go brown and people think they must be dry and give them even more water.

Another is (Dry Air) central heating – a light spray now and again is really beneficial.

Think of where a plants natural habitat is and the conditions there and try and simulate those conditions

They also need a feed now again. Just think they only have a small amount of compost and the nutrients eventually get washed out. Only feed in the growing season from April to September.

Potting on. – Most indoor plants like to be a bit root bound but if they do become too big for their pot, only pot-on in the spring and only use a pot 1 size larger, or the plant will spend all its energy on filling the pot with roots and not on growing the actual plant.

So .It’s not really that difficult –

Not too much water, a feed and spray now and again the right amount of shade or light.

Feed only in the growing season – April to September

Reduce watering in the winter

The benefits outweigh the effort and you can always outsource the maintenance.

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