Leafing Through the Benefits of Plants

It is slowly being recognized, and I do mean slowly, the extreme significance of plants in our environment. And I’m not talking simply outdoors.

Great strides are all around as more and more landscapes, either home or building, keep to native plants and use natural means for pest control. But indoor plants have not become fully realized as to their true significance and potential.

Besides human nature’s innate desire for the outdoors, so apparent in the lucrative travel industry, research tells us time and time again interior landscaping is not only desirable but a must-do green initiative to keep clients, tenants, and customers happy and healthy. It has been apparent for many years the value of placing plants in the home or including them in building designs and the importance it plays in the wave of the future.

This future starts now.

As a long-time interior landscape designer I have witnessed the actual transformation, seen and unseen that plants make on indoor environments. Life vibrates at so many levels and introducing a green living plant can be a visual enhancement, but more importantly a healthful one hiding behind many levels of improvement.

Cubico Plant Bringing Life to Office SpaceWe’ve all heard the word chi which translates simply as energy. Plants are wonderful at influencing chi. For instance, in the world of feng shui, the color green symbolizes growth, peace, and harmony which applied indoors can calm a room, reduce stress, and promote peaceful environment.

Long pointed leaves help prevent chi from stagnating in a recessed corner; whereas a projecting corner accommodates bushier plants with round leaves to calm the chi. Long hallways can seem hollow and vacant and the energy moves too fast through it, so staggering some plants on either side not only makes it pleasurable to walk down, but actually slows it down in terms of energy. Watch how people rush down a bare hallway versus lingering down a hallway with beautiful greenery.

Much data looms out on the internet about the total benefits of including plants in buildings and homes. More companies need to realize the potential of plants. Time and time again, it has been shown company growth is directly related to increased production from employees who find work more satisfying, simply by providing greenery at work.

How is this possible? When a company provides and maintains plants for employees, a message of goodwill is sent. It might be noticed on an unconscious level, but it is noticed. Workers feel management cares because plants create a prosperous space where people feel cared for and well-being is promoted.

Fact is, one study showed workers demonstrated 12% more productivity when surrounded by plants. Even placing a few selected quality specimen plants can help moderate the noise level, reduce stress, and create happier employees. I often wonder if air traffic control centers incorporate plants in their environment so as to ease stress, provide much needed oxygen for clear thinking, and bring some nice green eye candy to relieve the strain of staring intently at screens.

Other plant benefits include reduction of employee absenteeism, increases in tenant occupancy and retention rate, and increases in retail spending. It also reflects the holidays and changing season, an important part of our “primal” nature that promotes comfort and well being.

The most concern of all is improvement on a person’s health when plants are around. Plants take on many indoor environmental health problems by reducing levels of carbon dioxide (stuff we get rid of through exhaling), increasing relative humidity, reducing airborne dust levels, and reducing off-gassing levels of certain common interior pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and nitrogen dioxide. Due to the constant improvement of sealing off the outside environment to increase energy conservation, many buildings and homes are more vulnerable than ever to toxic build-up and stagnant air left inside.

Air is cleaned and purified by plants!

They are stationary living art forms of Mother Nature that work symbiotically with us to live and sustain our earth. They need our carbon dioxide, their breath of life and we need their ability to detox environments while giving us our own breath of life, oxygen. I cannot think of a better reason than that for placing plants, whether strategically or simply for the love of having them, at home or at the workplace so happier and healthier days allow us to laugh and work at ease while building a better world.

Featured image by Amsterdam Home Stagers HUISSTYLING

Julie Davis Farrow is the CEO and founder of Plantscapers, Inc, an award winning interior plantscaper company located in Southern California. She is an active member of numerous trade associations, including Green Plants for Green Buildings and is also a registered speaker trained by GPGB to present “Authentically Green Interiors: Optimizing Nature’s Design.” To learn more about Julie and Plantscapers, Inc. visit www.plantscapers.com.

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  • the Ficus Wrangler

    Amen, Julie, amen to all your comments. I’ve had a few occasions to service restaurants in the middle of the day, and I noticed over and over that people tended to congregate under or near the plants – always had to wait for those tables to leave before I could finish the job.

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