Houseplants are a great way to add warmth and texture to any apartment, but there’s a lot more to be said for the wisdom of adding indoor plants than just the fact that they make good design sense. Houseplants actually offer health benefits that are particularly beneficial to those living in a city environment where, thanks to traffic and industry, pollution levels tend to be on the high side of the spectrum.
Here are 5 good reasons to head to a florist shop or greenhouse and start filling your rental with life-giving houseplants today.
1. You’ll Breathe Easier
We humans breathe in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Plants, through the magic of photosynthesis, do just the opposite. The absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air. If you’re thinking that this sounds like a natural partnership, you’re absolutely right! Interestingly, this “respiration pattern” — the absorbing of carbon dioxide and releasing of oxygen ends when the sun goes down, at which point your plants will “breathe” much in the same way that you and I do — taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide into the air.
Correction: Most plants experience this nighttime reversal in gas exchange.
The exception? Orchids, succulents and bromeliads keep up the daytime pattern, which makes them the perfect indoor plants for your bedroom, where they’ll keep the air clean and fresh while you catch your nightly ZZZs!
In the succulent category, try a snake plant, which thrives in all sorts of light conditions and can even survive those of us who occasionally forget to water it! Besides this helpful exchange of gases, houseplants also remove up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air you’re breathing every 24 hours, according to NASA research.
2. You’ll Help Eliminate Dry Air
Indoor plants are like mini humidifiers in that they release moisture vapor into the air around them. (It’s that whole photosynthesis thing at work again.) The more plants you group together in a room, the more moisture is released into the air. Why does this matter? Researchers at the Agricultural University of Norway have documented that using plants in interior spaces decreases the incidence of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs. And by the way, that extra humidity is also a boon to your wooden furniture, which can dry out in air-conditioned and heated rooms!
3. They’ll Help Reduce Some of the Stress in Your Life
You’re probably thinking “how in the heck can a houseplant help me unwind?”. Well, hang on to your hat, because there’s actually a body of research out there that says that plants in the home can make you feel more relaxed and foster a feeling of well-being. (Sort of like what happens to the human psyche when we’re immersed in nature.)
4. They’ll Improve Your Physical Health
Research has shown that having plants around us can actually help us to get better faster when we’re sick. You may think you’re just adding a little cheer to a friend’s hospital room when you bring her a plant, but you’re actually helping her to heal faster, say researchers at Kansas State University. (What a good friend you are!) Since we all spend a lot of time in our home environment when we’re sick, doesn’t it make sense to surround ourselves with health-enhancing houseplants?
5. They’ll Make Your City Apartment Quieter
Okay, so you might need quite a few plants to really notice a difference, but the fact is that plants absorb sound (like honking horns, sirens, etc.) through their leaves and stems. A few that are particularly good at this are the Rubber Plant, the Weeping Fig, and the Peace Lily.
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