There are a range of benefits of having plants in your home. Not only do they look wonderful as a feature in your home, they can also provide you with a physical and mental boost!
Studies have shown that indoor plants can:
- Reduce stress and fatigue whilst boosting productivity, concentration and creativity at the same time.
- Add life to a sterile space, provide privacy and even reduce noise levels.
- Act as natural air purifiers by cleaning toxins, increasing humidity and producing oxygen.
Research has been carried out to better understand these benefits and potential of incorporating plants into the internal environment, and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is one of the pioneers in these studies. Research evaluates the use of plants to remove pollutants and maintain a safe breathing environment.
During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, significantly contributing to air quality. Plants are also potent in removing different air pollutants indoors. They can reduce airborne contaminants, such as nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dust, acetones, pesticides, cleaning products, tobacco smoke, fungi and bacteria, insulation and furniture, among others.
Sansevieria trifasciata and Chlorophytum comosum can be used as efficient botanical biofilters for phytoremediation of multiple pollutants from cigarette smoke. Zamioculcas zamiifolia absorbs formaldehyde (used in building materials, carpets, paints and cosmetics, etc.) and toluene (present in furniture, paints, oils, adhesives, leather tanning and disinfectants, etc.)
Plants grown on substrate may also have additional benefits from soil microorganisms to clean VOC-contaminated air. The interactions between plant/soil and certain microorganisms, which support and develop each other, form a complementary biofiltration system. In addition to eliminating air pollutants, plants can decompose some odor molecules in an indoor environment, eliminating possible unpleasant smells.
Many ornamental plants still release pleasant aromas, which perfume the environment, bringing comfort and well being. In addition to these air purification benefits, plants also release water vapor, leaving the environment more humid and refreshing. The presence of plants in the environment is correlated with a 23% decrease in dry/hoarse throat levels and dry facial skin.
Another positive aspect of the insertion of plants to improve the quality of indoor environments is the low cost for implanting potted plants. In addition, potted plants have the flexibility to move indoors, in which people spend most of their time, as well as ample possibilities for plant combinations. Thus, it is a solution to improve air quality, while contributing to the aesthetics of the environment and offering psychological, physiological and cognitive benefits.
Interior design that includes plants will provide a richer sensory environment, reducing stress, promoting learning, recovery and involvement in therapeutic interventions.
ULLAH, H.; TREESUBSUNTORN, C.; THIRAVETYAN, P. Application of exogenous indole-3-acetic acid on shoots of Zamioculcas zamiifolia for enhancing toluene and formaldehyde removal. Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, v.13, p.575-583, 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11869-020-00820-y [ Links ]
WOLVERTON, B.C.; JOHNSON, A.; BOUNDS, K. Interior landscape plants for indoor air pollution abatement. 1989. Avaliable : https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19930073077 Accessed on: June 17, 2020. [ Links ]
NASA. (n.d.). Plants clean air and water for indoor environments. Available at: Available at: https://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2007/ps_3.html Accessed on: May 14, 2020. [ Links ]
ODEH, R.; GUY, C.L. Gardening for therapeutic people-plant interactions during long-duration space missions. Open Agriculture, v.2, n.1, p.1-13. 2017. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opag-2017-0001 [ Links ]
ORWELL, R.L.; WOOD, R.L.; TARRAN, J.; TORPY, F.; BURCHETT, M. D. Removal of benzene by the indoor plant/substrate microcosm and implications for air quality. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, v.157, p.193-207, 2004. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/B:WATE.0000038896.55713.5b [ Links ]
IRGA, P.J.; PETTIT, T.J.; TORPY, F.R. The phytoremediation of indoor air pollution: a review on the technology development from the potted plant through to functional green wall biofilters. Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology, v.17, n.2, p.395-415, 2018. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11157-018-9465-2 [ Links ]
PETTIT, T.; IRGA, P. J.; TORPY, F.R. Towards practical indoor air phytoremediation: a review. Chemosphere, v.208, p.960-974, 2018. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.06.048 [ Links ]
AYDOGAN, A.; CERONE, R. Review of the effects of plants on indoor environments. Indoor and Built Environment, Online First, 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1420326X19900213 [ Links ]