The Science of Indoor Plants
A recent collaborative study between RMIT and the University of Melbourne has found that indoor plants yield two big benefits: improved air quality and mental wellbeing. Simply put, there is strong scientific evidence that prove indoor plants have the power to enhance and improve health and wellbeing. The Plant Life Balance has put together a super simple guide to help you understand the science. This study reviewed over 100 scientific articles using the best available scientific evidence to determine the relationships between plants and human health in the two key areas of air quality and mental wellbeing. All results were submitted to a peer-reviewed expert panel to ensure their validity before being published.
Articles on air quality research reviewed a plants’ ability to absorb airborne pollutants and reduce inorganic compounds such as carbon monoxide.
Wellbeing research articles investigated the direct benefit of improved mood and concentration and how that could be responsible for increased productivity and positive social behaviour.
Indoor Plants to Improve Air Quality
Indoor plants have been scientifically proven to remove air-borne toxins that are created by many of the items in our everyday lives, such as paints, furniture finishes and air pollution. These pollutants are known as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. The reason they are considered so harmful is because they can easily become vapours or gasses that contaminate the air. Because we’re now living and working in smaller areas with more processed objects, VOCs can be up to 10 times higher indoors than out. And with so much time spent indoors, this can easily negatively affect your health. Plants are responsible for absorbing carbon-dioxide and releasing oxygen via a process called photosynthesis. However, it’s also been found that plants also absorb other air toxins that fall into the VOC category. These toxins are benzene, formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene and trichloroethylene. If you’re experiencing headaches, eye irritation, dry coughs or drowsiness around the office – these toxins may be the culprits.
It’s been found that just one indoor plant in a space of 4x5m can improve your air quality by up to 25%!
Indoor Plants to Boost Wellbeing
Being around nature and plants has been known to simply make people feel better – but this investigation has backed up that statement with science. A proven link between indoor plants and positive mood and increased concentration has been found. However, the catch is that just one plant is unlikely to give you these benefits in spades. Filling your space with a number of the same species and size of plant is unlikely to give these benefits either. It’s been shown that the greater mix of sizes, species and colours will result in great mental wellbeing benefits.
An average space of 4x5m the results suggest that 6 medium-sized plants of around 30cm tall will improve mental wellbeing by 60%, but 10 medium-sized plants will result in maximum mental health.
Not All Plants Are Created Equal
Obviously, you won’t be able to get the same effects from any old plant. The size of a plant needs to be taken into account – larger plants will give you increased benefits than a smaller plant. Also the species of plants will play an integral role in its ability to reduce air pollutants and boost moods. For air quality, the total leaf size is very important. The larger a leaf’s surface area, the more easily it can do its job. NASA has also conducted a Clean Air Study on indoor plants concluding that some of the best plants for air filtration include:
- Peace Lillies
- Bamboo Palm
Additionally, as previously mentioned a mix of different plant species and sizes is also necessary for the highest benefits for mental wellbeing.
From these intensive studies, it’s been shown that you can greatly improve the air quality and the overall mood in your office space by adding plants to your decor. Adding variety of the best plants to improve air-quality along with some of the most visually appealing plants can make all the difference. To put it simply:
1 Medium Sized Plant = +25% Increase in Air Quality 5+ Of Different Species & Sizes = Significantly Improved Wellbeing
Introducing indoor plants to your office will mean your workers will feel at ease at work, be motivated and exhibit more positive behaviours. They’ll even feel healthier getting less headaches, eye aches and coughs – three common afflictions that can plague an office. Make your office a positive place and ultimately, increase your bottom line with fewer sick days and increased productivity.
If you’re ready for your office to being reaping the scientific benefits of indoor plants, Contact Us to arrange an indoor plant hire consultation.