Justin W. Hancock, Costa Farms Photographs Anne K Moore
As a gardener, I’m naturally drawn to plants and cognizant of how they make me feel happy. I have plants on my desk at work, in my kitchen, and in my bedroom – the places where I spend the most time. Having houseplants has become a part of my lifestyle, and it turns out a growing number of scientific studies are showing I’m healthier for it. Here are five ways houseplants can boost your health in 2015!
1. Breathe Better Air
It’s no secret plants clean the air, silently sucking out the harmful VOCs that are in all of our homes and offices. But they also add moisture to the almost desert-dry humidity levels found in homes with forced-air heating, meaning a few plants can help stop your skin from getting dry and itchy and keep your throat from getting sore.
2. Be More Productive at Work
A variety of scientific studies have shown that having plants in the office helps improve our productivity; some research shows by as much as 15 percent. Happily, it doesn’t matter if you have access to natural light or are in the middle of a “cube farm” – plants have the same effect on us (and don’t need natural light to grow; those fluorescent tubes are just fine for most varieties).
3. Remember More
A lot of medicines come from plants, but one fascinating benefit of having houseplants around is that they appear to help improve our memory. One study from the University of Michigan showed being around plants improves memory retention by up to 20 percent. A few houseplants might be the remedy if you’re always forgetting where you’ve put your keys or your phone.
4. Reduce Stress
A few years ago, I helped design a healing garden for a local hospital. It turns out the effect applies to indoor plants, too. One Dutch study found that hospital patients felt less stressed in rooms with plants than without. Being around plants can lower our blood pressure and reduce other symptoms of stress.
5. Boost Creativity
Thinking about starting the next Great American Novel? Or trying your hand at painting this year? Include houseplants in your workspace. A number of scientific studies reveal that exposure to live plants can help increase our creativity.
If you’re a houseplant beginner, here are five fun starter plants to choose from: