The lines between the outdoors and indoors are being blurred. Homeowners build extensive outdoor living spaces so they can relax on weather-resistant furniture and even cook in lavish kitchens in their backyards. In addition, indoor three-season rooms full of bright, open windows that showcase outdoor vistas challenge the boundaries between outside and inside.
“It gives me a sense of emotional purpose and wellness,” said Sharon Kosofsky, a coach trainer with Ideal Wellness that has a location based in Smokey Point. She said, during the lockdown, caring for plants help provide a routine and schedule for her family.
For those working with limited budgets, there are some easy, inexpensive ways to enjoy the majesty of natural landscapes indoors. Houseplants can be used to improve indoor spaces, and they also provide various health benefits.
Help with allergies
According to WebMD, rooms with houseplants tend to have less dust and mold in them than those without any foliage.
“They purify our air by reducing toxins,” Kosofsky said. She added such plants as spider plants and snake plants help eliminate dust and toxins and are easy to care for.
Leaves and other parts of the plants serve as natural filters, catching airborne particles and allergens. Plants with textured leaves might be especially effective at trapping particles.
Put more oxygen into the air
The human respiratory system works by bringing in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. Plants do the opposite during photosynthesis. They absorb carbon dioxide and then release oxygen. Plants can put much more oxygen into the air, improving indoor conditions.
Increase indoor humidity and reduce illness
Studies from the Agricultural University of Norway found that indoor plants can increase humidity in indoor spaces, which decreases the incidences of sore throats, dry coughs, dry skin, and the common cold. Higher absolute humidity can decrease the chances of survival and transmission of the flu virus.
Kosofsky said ferns help add moisture into the air especially during the winter months where forced heat can reduce humidity. She said ferns can help boost people’s mood, which increases dopamine. She said ferns can help remove toxins in the air too.
Filter the air
Researchers who presented their work at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society found certain houseplants can combat the potentially harmful effects of volatile organic compounds. Plants may help filter out VOCs like benzene, acetone and formaldehyde, which can enter indoor air via cleaning supplies, dry-cleaned clothes, furniture, printers, and paints.
Improve interior atmosphere
Prevention magazine says plants can be used to screen unattractive areas, moderate room temperature by shading spots from the sun and even reduce noise. Plants also can improve ambiance and create a pleasing atmosphere in a room.
Another handy plant to have in the house is Aloe Vera. They can help heal small burns and “they need very little care,” Kosofsky said.
Can improve mood
Growing and caring for plants can alleviate everyday stress. A nationwide study from UK Magazine Gardeners World found 80 percent of gardeners declared themselves satisfied with life compared to 67 percent among non-gardeners. Gardeners were more positive mentally. Greenery can help people feel more at home and improve mental health. A rehab center in Norway found patients reported a greater increase in well-being four weeks after having greenery added to their surroundings.
A lavender plant is a great mood enhancer, Kosofsky said.
“The smell is delightful. It helps fighting against depression,” she added.
Bringing a house plant into the home does require a bit of planning.
“It’s good to do a little research,” Kosofsky said. Learn how much sunlight a plant needs, if it’s an annual or a perennial. If someone has a pet, they should find out what plants are harmful to animals. It’s also good to learn how to check if a plant has died or has simply gone dormant.
She recommended checking out a local nursery or buying online as great sources to acquire plants. In addition to snake and spider plants, lavender, and aloe vera, she is growing an avocado in a mason jar on her windowsill. She said it’s getting ready to sprout.
For more information about Ideal Wellness and the services they offer, go to www.idealwellness.com.