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Go Crazy with Houseplants – Sustainable You

Houseplants

By Karen Langston

Do you find when you take time to be in nature you just feel better? The more stressed we are in our daily lives, the more we need to connect with Mother Nature Did you know plants have numerous health benefits? But what if you can’t find the time to bathe in a forest or walk among the trees, especially during times like summer, when the temperature soars? Bring Mother Nature inside.

Houseplants are becoming quite trendy. Look at any home decorating magazine and you will see photos graced with houseplants of varying sizes. Your local nursery, grocery, and
home hardware stores are full of plants perfect for the home.

Did you know plants can help reduce stress? Stress hormones deactivate the ability of our immune system to protect us and keep us healthy. Look at the epic proportions of people suffering with depression, anxiety, low energy, and other wellness challenges. I wonder if they are lacking plants in their home.

Indoor plants have a calming influence. Seeing greenery and nature helps people feel more relaxed and calmer, which in turn benefits our everyday mood. According to
Peter Bongiorno, author of Holistic Solutions for Anxiety & Depression in Therapy: Combining Natural Remedies with Conventional Care, touching soft and smooth plants may also make you feel calmer. Caring for plants can help increase compassion and, improve relationships, which in turn, creates the greater likelihood of caring for others. Flowers also have an immediate impact on happiness, and improve memory.

Take a look around your home and office; is your scene green?

Plants are living filters. They have the ability to remove toxins from the air, including formaldehyde. They also filter airborne microbes and increase humidity. A 1989 NASA study looked at how Sick Building Syndrome and the off-gassing of building materials and furniture were making employees sick. Researchers found that adding plants to the building helped to remove the toxic substances, as well as pathogenic viruses, bacteria, and other organic chemicals. Extensive research by NASA has revealed that houseplants can remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in a 24-hour period.

Other studies have shown that houseplants can help remove dust, which is quite helpful to those with allergies and other breathing problems. One study found a 20 percent
reduction in dust with indoor plants and increased humidity, which is something we can appreciate during the dry Arizona summer heat.

Do you find yourself a little sleepy in the afternoon or does your concentration wane, especially while working? Add some plants to your work space. According to numerous
studies, plants help with concentration, and create happier moods, better job satisfaction, and stronger relationships. Small plants such as cacti, or small, growing plants in a
terrarium, are perfect for the desk. So, skip the coffee and grab a small plant instead.

If you can’t add plants in your work space, adding pictures of nature can provide the same mood-enhancing benefits. Switch your desktop background and screensaver to photos of lush landscapes. Take some pictures of your favorite outdoor space and add them to your work space. If you can, sit by a window and look out from time to time.

Can plants help with a better night’s sleep?

You bet! When it comes to plants, we have an essential relationship—we need them to provide us with oxygen. During the day, with the help of photosynthesis, plants take
the carbon dioxide we exhale and turn it into oxygen. During the night, however, most plants do the opposite—they release carbon dioxide. So, keep these plants out of the bedroom. Instead, add orchids, succulents, snake plants, and bromeliads as they create oxygen during the night (thus can help in aid in a great night’s sleep!).

Here in the desert we have screens on our homes to keep the bright sun out. This may affect your ability to keep houseplants healthy. You can remove screens on windows
where the sun does not directly shine in, such as north-facing windows or windows which are covered by a porch or awning. This will help bring in enough light for low-light plants.

Houseplants are relatively easy to care for. Small plants that are in 4- to 6-inch pots, require about a half cup of water, once a week. Larger plants in an 8- to 10-inch pot will require about 1 cup of water. Larger than this may require up to half a gallon of water, depending on the size. As for cacti, watering is typically every two weeks, depending on the type.

If you do not have a green thumb, start with smaller plants and follow the watering instructions. Set a time on your calendar to remind you when to water your plants. In return, they will love you back by keeping you healthy and in an upbeat mood! You may not be able to get out and garden. You can, however, bring the outdoors in with houseplants. Mother Nature will thank you!

Keep up with all of Green Living’s content by visiting our website.


Karen Langston is a certified holistic nutritionist working with clients and professionals on how to have three healthy poops a day. Poop well, be well. www.healthygutadvisor.com

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