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House Plants - Remedy For The Quarantined

For those of us used to working in an office environment, a work from home mandate probably felt like a gift from the gods.  What’s better than having Zoom calls with a collared shirt on top, sweats on the bottom? 

However, as we start week six (?) of quarantine, some of us may be realizing just how unconducive our home environment is for staying on task. Whether we’re battling temptations of a fully stocked fridge, elbowing our roommates at the kitchen island (which now doubles as a shared desk), or attempting to block out sounds of tiny humans running amuck, our mental agility has been compromised. To be blunt, our innovation and productivity is in quite a slump. 

There is only so much that can be done about the fridge and shared company. But one quick and easy fix to staying on task, is as simple as incorporating plants around your work area. And not just to enhance otherwise drab and lackluster spaces (although, creating picturesque spaces is always a plus) but to boost our productivity and creativity. 

Nature’s Adderall

Routine interactions with plants are proven to have a restorative and regenerative effect on our mind by reducing stress and improving our mood. Creating and surrounding ourselves with monocultures or micro habitats of plant species within our homes has been shown to reduce our body’s production of cortisol, a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands.  Reducing our cortisol levels in turn reduces blood pressure, calms irritability and boosts cognitive functions like focus and memory.   This in turn allows our attention to be redirected to the job at hand. This benefit comes in handy when we’ve been delegated mundane tasks like paperwork, performing calculations and analyses, readings, etc.


Why do plants have such an effect on our psychological state?

Biophilia! The study of humans’ innate connection to all things natural.  This is a topic we discuss at the start of all our CEU presentations on Living Walls and Green Roofs.

Biophilia is based around the idea that humans, through a long evolutionary history, have acquired a strong genetic propensity for nature and natural environments. This explains why our senses are stimulated by experiences such as; crashing of ocean waves, strolling through a park, animal companionship, and even the crackling of a fire. We flourish in nature!

Biophilia is an important concept to grasp for people living in a metropolis or megalopolis. For those of us living in increasingly dense urban areas, or more relevant, everyone in quarantine; we experience the mental repercussions of being alienated from nature. Repercussions such as depression, ADHD, regression, and vapidity. A walk through the woods or even having a view of some form of nature while we work.

Several studies conducted over the years tell us that living and working in natural environments, i.e spaces with greenery and ample sunlight, help to reduce stress and symptoms of depression. According to a case study survey, 88% of respondents said having direct views and access to the natural elements indoors improved their sense of well-being."

What can plants do for our indoor environment?

Aside from enhancing aesthetics with bright, vibrant colors and wild textures, air purification is an amazing benefit. 

Plants are living technology, scrubbing the air of impurities while producing oxygen for our living environments. They are actively working for us by removing volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and particulate matter, i.e., dust particles. And through the process of photosynthesis, plants convert the carbon monoxide (CO2) that we exhale in every breath, to fresh oxygen.  Plants are natural air purifying systems…..they just don’t swivel…..on their own.

Which plant species do best indoors?

Tropical plants do best in indoor environments. Plants of this family are fairly resilient, making them easy to care for. However, there are still general guidelines to follow to ensure your babies are happy and thriving. 

Light - is something that sustains all living things on this planet. However, with plants, a certain amount is expected in order for your plant to survive. This is because, through photosynthesis, light serves as a food source for plants. A rule of thumb is to give your plants 6-8 hours of indirect sunlight each day. Depending on the species, this is subject to change. Meaning, shade tolerant species need as little as 4 hours and bright light species may need as much as the day can give. However, for the species listed below 6-8 hours is a comfortable range. 

Water- is also a necessity for all life on this planet. As for plants, how much water is needed is dependent on varying factors in your home. Factors such as temperature and humidity levels, light exposure, soil mix, and the type of container the plant lives in. 

For the species listed below, a weekly watering is recommended. But pay attention to your plants, they will exhibit signs of their comfort level via leaf tips, leaf color, and posture. It is important to check the plant’s soil before watering, as to not drown your plants. This can be achieved by sticking your pointer finger in the soil. If the soil is still moist up to your first knuckle, your plant does not need a drink just yet. Assuming that you’re now inspired to create your own garden oasis; below are a few plant recommendations to get you started. 

  1. Pothos
  2. Peace Lily
  3. Aloe Vera
  4. Chinese Evergreen
  5. ZZ Plant
  6. Snake Plant

 That’s all for now.  Enjoy the week

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