Many of us have houseplants in our homes and offices. The foliage and flowers add beauty and comfort to our indoor spaces. But it turns out that there are health advantages as well.
Many studies have demonstrated that indoor houseplants can help keep you happier and healthier by improving your mood, reducing fatigue, lowering stress and anxiety, and improving focus. Houseplants can also improve indoor air quality.
According to a new study by researchers from the University of Birmingham in the U.K. in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society, ordinary houseplants can potentially make a significant contribution to reducing indoor air pollution.
The researchers tested three types of houseplants commonly found in homes in the U.K: Peace lily, corn plant, and fern arum. These plants are easy to maintain and not overly expensive.
In the study, the research team exposed these houseplants to nitrogen dioxide, which is a common indoor pollutant. The plants were isolated in a test chamber containing levels of nitrogen dioxide comparable to what might be in an office situated next to a busy road. The researchers found that all the plants were able to remove about half of the nitrogen dioxide in the chamber in just one hour.
In a poorly ventilated small office with high levels of air pollution, the researchers calculated that five houseplants would remove up to 20% of the nitrogen dioxide. In a larger space, the effect would be smaller – around 3.5% – although this figure could be increased by adding more plants.
Bringing nature indoors is one way to breathe cleaner air.
Common houseplants can improve air quality indoors
Reducing air pollution with plants
Photo, posted September 21, 2014, courtesy of Olin Gilbert via Flickr.
Earth Wise is a production of WAMC Northeast Public Radio.