Breathing Easier

Your body takes in oxygen when you breathe and releases carbon dioxide.  Plants, during photosynthesis, take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. People and plants are natural partners. At night the process reverses in most plants, orchids, succulents. Epiphytic bromeliads are a great choice for sleeping areas because they will refresh the air during the night.

Releasing Water During photosynthesis plants releases moisture vapor, which increases the humidity of the air around them. Roughly 97% of the water taken in by plants is released into the atmosphere. Placing several plants together can increase the humidity of a room.  This, in turn, helps keeps respiratory distresses at bay. The Agricultural University of Norway has reported that using plants in interior spaces decreases the incidence of sore throats, dry skin, colds, and dry coughs.

Purifying Air

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are all around us. These include benzene and trichloroethylene (both found in man-made fibers, inks, solvents, and paint).  VOCs include substances like formaldehyde (present in rugs, vinyl, cigarette smoke, and grocery bags), benzene and trichloroethylene. Benzene is also often found in high concentrations in library and study settings, where printed papers and books are found. Plants remove up to 87% of toxins from the air every 24 hours, according to NASA research.

Modern, climate-controlled, air-tight buildings trap VOCs inside. NASA research discovered that plants purify that trapped air by pulling contaminants into soil, where root zone microorganisms convert VOCs into food for the plant.

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Improving Health

Kansas State University has research that shows that by adding plants to hospital rooms surgical patient’s recovery speeds are improved.  The patients with plants in their rooms experience less fatigue and anxiety, have lower heart rates and blood pressure, request fewer pain medications and are released from the hospital sooner.

A workplace study commission by The Dutch Product Board found that adding plants to office settings decreases colds, headaches, fatigue, coughs, flu-like symptoms, and sore throats. Another study by the Agricultural University of Norway showed that the rate of sickness declined by 60 plus percent in the office with plants.

Sharpening Focus

The Royal College of Agriculture in Cirencester, England found that when students are taught in a room containing plants, they demonstrate 70% greater attentiveness. The same study showed that attendance was higher at lectures given in rooms with plants.

How Many Plants?
At Home
Placing one large plant (8-inch diameter pot) every 129 square feet will help to improve health and reduce stress and fatigue.
In the Office or Classroom
Plants should be placed so the greenery is in view of every person.
Air Purification
15 to 18 plants, in 6-8 inch diameter pots should be placed for every 1,800 square feet. Or about one plant every 100 square feet. (If you cannot or choose not to use larger plants 2 small ones with a 4-inch diameter pot will do).

Not all plants will grow in all conditions.  Choosing the right plant for your growing conditions is important.

Best Plants for Indoor Use per

Common NameLatin NameBenefitsBest Use
Spider PlantChlorophytum ComosumPurifies air rapidly; removes formaldehydeLiving Spaces
Dragon TreeDracaena MarginataPurifies air; removes formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and xyleneLiving Spaces
Gerbera DaisyGerbera JamesoniiReleases oxygen at night; purifies air by removing benzene and trichloroethyleneBedrooms to refresh nighttime air or living spaces
English IvyHedera HelixRemoves benzene from airDorm rooms or home office
Boston FernNephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’Humidifies airLiving spaces; note that dry winter rooms can quickly kill Boston ferns; mist plants daily for best results
PhilodendronPhilodendronPurifies air; removes formaldehydeLiving spaces of new or renovated homes with new floors, walls, carpets, etc.
Snake PlantSansevieria TrifasciataPurifies air; removes formaldehyde and nitrogen oxideLiving spaces, kitchens, rooms with wood stoves
Peace LilySpathiphyllumRemoves mold from airBathrooms or damp areas of home