Everyone needs a houseplant

Story by Zoe Wexler, Staff Writer

Plants can be a very effective way of brightening up a room or creating a calming atmosphere. With many uses such as room decor, air purifiers, and mood boosters, indoor plants are a great addition to any household.

Houseplants, such as aloe vera, can be very beneficial, especially in Florida. These plants can be used to heal sunburns, which are fairly frequent year-round, and to heal small cuts or wounds. Aloe vera plants can also clear out toxins from the air, including chemicals from cleaning agents and paints. Other plants such as snake plants and areca palms can also be useful for filtering air, reducing the likeliness of respiratory infections and lowering carbon dioxide levels.

Another useful function of plants is their mood-boosting properties. Houseplants can have great impacts on mental health and are effective tools to reduce stress within a workspace and improve motivation. A group of researchers from Rutgers University and La Salle University even found that flowers like roses and lilies can immediately improve happiness and memory. The added oxygen that potted plants contribute to have a direct correlation with reduced anxiety, and aromatic flowers such as lavender can have a therapeutic effect.

The act of nurturing a plant can also have positive effects on mental health. Individuals often form a bond with their plants while taking care of them. This has oftentimes been used in healing victims of mental illnesses in a practice known as horticultural therapy. Not only does the practice of gardening provide a peace of mind, but it connects people with the earth and outdoors.

If the mental and physical health benefits are not good enough reasons to invest in indoor plants, including greenery or flowers to one’s house can greatly improve aesthetics. By simply incorporating a potted plant or two, any room can achieve a earthy and comfy look, without much work at all.

Although some people think maintaining healthy plants takes a lot of effort, many plants can provide the full benefits of air purification and increased focus with minimal attention. For example, bamboo shoots are great ways to decrease indoor air toxins, and can survive in most conditions, as long as their roots are submerged in water. Most indoor plants can withstand neglect, such as Chinese evergreens and peace lilies. These plants can even survive extreme drought and no sunlight.

However, it is important to know the dangers that some plants can present before bringing them into one’s home. Certain species of houseplants can be toxic to pets such as philodendrons and sago palm trees. Most types of ivy can also cause health problems in cats in dogs, but as long as these plants are kept out of reach so they can not be ingested by pets, they pose no real threat.

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