In today’s economy, more and more people are turning to growing vegetables for ecological and economic reasons. I love growing veggies, but when I was younger and lived in a less temperate climate, I always had a house full of tropical plants. Living in Southwest Florida where most common houseplants will grow outdoors, I have all but forgotten how pleasurable it is to grow plants indoors. With age creeping up on me and the limitations that lupus places on my outdoor activities, I’ve been thinking more and more lately about moving back to indoor gardening. Not only do indoor plants add beauty to the decor, but houseplants in a home have many physical and mental benefits.
Houseplants Clean the Air
With most houses being closed up tight during most of the year, with no fresh air coming in, houseplants can filter harmful airborne gasses. According to a study conducted by NASA, houseplants not only remove carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, but they can also absorb benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. NASA scientists have found that there are 17 plants that excel at scrubbing your air, including some of my favorite low-light plants such as spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), pothos (Scindapsus aureus), snake plant (Sansevieria spp.), several philodendrons (Philodendron spp.) and a number of dracaenas (Dracaena spp.).
Houseplants Increase Humidity
Drying air conditioning and heating can cause your airways to become susceptible to pathogens more easily. By placing groups of plants in a room, you can increase the humidity. The Agricultural University of Norway conducted studies which show that having plants indoors decreases instances of dry cough, dry skin, sore throats and colds. This is especially important to asthma and allergy sufferers like me.
Decreasing Fatigue and Sharpening Focus
This is something important to me, because chronic fatigue and brain fog are two serious effects fo lupus. Studies show that indoor plants decrease fatigue and flu-like symptoms and can increase attentiveness by up to 70 percent. A Kansas State University study showed that patients in rooms with plants “request less pain medication, have lower heart rates and blood pressure, experience less fatigue and anxiety, and are released from the hospital sooner.”
Mental Health Benefits of Growing Indoor Plants
I know that I feel much better just being able to see beautiful things. Caring for plants gives me a sense of peace and tranquility that nothing else does. I raise miniature African violets, and get such joy from sticking a tiny leaf into the soil and watching the miniscule plantlets emerge from the ground, then growing those out until they are covered with blooms. Washington State University finds that gardening can alleviate symptoms of depression, Alzheimers, stress, dementia and even benefits the cognitive function of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.
I am going to start bringing some of those tropicals I have outdoors into the house again. The benefits are worth the little extra time it takes to care for them. Don’t let vegetables take over your gardening life. Bring nature into your home and reap the benefits both outdoors and indoors.
More by Deborah Aldridge:
What Disaster and Hurricane Survival Sites Don’t Tell You
Replace Your Lawn With a Crop You Can Eat
To Buy or Not to Buy Markdown Plants