National Houseplant Appreciation Day

by Sara White

Who says the holidays have to stop at New Year’s? Today is National Houseplant Appreciation Day – which means there’s an entire 24 hours devoted to treasuring their aesthetically-pleasing greenery. But indoor plants go far beyond just filling our homes and offices with beauty and tasteful décor – they are extraordinary, intricate living systems that also provide tremendous benefits for our wellbeing and environment. Here’s how:

Credit: Great Big Green House

1) Breathe Easy – Plants Can Help Clean the Air

Thanks to photosynthesis, indoor plants emit oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide, helping to increase indoor air quality – which is important being as around 90 percent of our time is spent indoors – yikes. This means that indoor air pollution, in part created by dangerous chemicals found in paints, carpets, cleaning supplies and furniture, poses some serious health risks to us. Indoor plants can help clear stuffy, stale air, and can even function as a natural humidifier to help relieve eye, nose and throat irritations.


2) Plants can help Boost Your Mood & Productivity

Do you feel more relaxed around plants?  I certainly do – turns out that a study published by the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that plants can help reduce stress and anxiety, particularly when interacting with them through touch or smell. Further findings revealed that just being around the soil can also help relieve stress, as its microbes, frequently called ‘outdoorphins,’ release cytokines, which can boost your mood by prompting your brain to produce more serotonin.

Another study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology also revealed that indoor plants can improve concentration and productivity by up to 15 percent – which makes me feel very excited about the new plant we just got for our office! He goes by Henry.

3) Plants may like Music – Talk about ‘Pickin’ up Good Vibrations’

Playing music for your plant may sound a little weird… but research has shown that music actually can help stimulate plant growth. The theory is that plants can feel vibrations from the sound waves, which, according to an article on Sciencing, “seems to stimulate growth factors.” Spotify even has some playlists specifically for houseplants!

4) They Teach Us How to Nurture

As beautifully put by artist Adrienne Adar, who creates interactive sound sculptures and installations to “hear what plants are feeling”:

“We as humans, derive enormous benefit from nurturing a living thing and watching it grow, be it an ornamental flower or a plant that provides food. It makes us aware of the difference in human time and plant time. Although we cannot physically see a plant grow when we come back day by day, to see a leaf or blossom grow by day establishes a deep connection to our humanness.”

However, if you’re like me and aren’t necessarily gifted with a green thumb, but are determined to prove to yourself that you actually can take care of something (I still feel guilty about you, orchids), you may want to start with houseplants that are, apparently, pretty difficult to kill. Some options include Chinese evergreens which don’t require a ton of natural light and are relatively forgiving when it comes to watering. They can even last up to 2-3 weeks without moisture if needed. Other good choices include the ZZ plant, which needs good sunlight but only needs to be watered once a week, and the snake plant, which doesn’t need direct sunlight or a lot of water, either.

Whether it be playing your plants a tune, purchasing a new plant stand or even buying a new indoor plant – be sure to give your beloved houseplants some extra appreciation today!

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