6 Reasons to decorate your home with plants

By Kevin Eichenberger

Any urbanite who has made the occasional exodus into the wilderness can attest to the healing effects of plants on the spirit.

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In their passive benevolence, plants cleanse the air and paint the spaces around us – all without requiring much more beyond some sunlight, nutrients, and a place to call home. Here are six reasons why you should consider decorating the interior of your home with some potted plants.

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Plants make breathing easier

Children who have attended their first day of biology class will be able to tell you that plants breathe in a manner opposite to animals – that is, they absorb the air we exhale (carbon dioxide) and release the air we inhale (oxygen).

This beneficial relationship is only generally the case during the day – when the oxygen released through photosynthesis outweighs the amount of carbon dioxide that plants put into the air around the clock.

At night, when there is no sunlight for photosynthesis, most plants take in slightly more oxygen than they give out.

At night, when there is no sunlight for photosynthesis, most plants take in slightly more oxygen than they give out.

That difference does not matter so much when air can move freely in the open wilderness – but in closed and air-conditioned spaces such as bedrooms, the imbalance renders waking minds feeling groggy in the mornings.

Plants such as bromeliads, orchids, succulents, and trees of the ficus genus, have been found to consistently put out more oxygen than they take in during the night – making these varieties the more beneficial choices of plants to incorporate into the bedroom.


Plants clean the air

Most plants exhibit an ability to absorb a wide range of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) – a variety of chemicals that can be found in the average home and are known to have adverse effects on health – and our tendency to air-condition living spaces traps those compounds in the air we breathe.

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The effects of plants on airborne VOCs are so obvious that NASA (the American space exploration agency) considers plants to be a viable approach to air purification – and it turns out that many of these air-purifying plants can be found right here in the nurseries of tropical Southeast Asia.


Plants increase humidity

There is an abundance of scientific literature around indicating that the drier environments brought about climate change are leading to a rise in respiratory illnesses around the globe – and here in the tropics, we compound the risks with a reliance on air-conditioning.

Being made up largely of water, plants contribute to humidifying the air around them – as can be seen when mists soak Malaysia’s green hills in the mornings.

It's called the rainforest for a reason.

It’s called the rainforest for a reason.

Grouping some plants together in the bedroom will replicate a fraction of that effect to your benefit by countering the drying effects of the air-conditioner with their natural tendency to moisten the air.


Plants generally improve our health

Various hospital and workplace studies have turned up results showing that rooms filled with plants make for faster healing, less fatigue, and fewer respiratory illnesses.

The association between greenery and healing is so undeniable that some hospitals render surgical theatres green to take advantage of this effect.

The association between greenery and healing is so undeniable that some hospitals render surgical theatres green to take advantage of this effect.

Whether these effects are evolutionary or chemical in nature, the correlations are difficult to ignore – so until scientists discover the exact reasons for this relationship, just play it safe and keep plenty of plants around.


Plants somehow sharpen our minds

Something about a verdant sprawl of greenery snaps the mind to attention – perhaps our primal brains demand for the extra focus to be mustered in order to avoid predators, or the bold contrasts between modern decorative materials and natural colours just have that effect on people.

A delightful and striking contrast is created with greenery and representations of leaves juxtaposed against the modern fixtures and upholstery – making for a lush living space that transports residents to a tropical paradise.

A delightful and striking contrast is created with greenery and representations of leaves juxtaposed against the modern fixtures and upholstery – making for a lush living space that transports residents to a tropical paradise.

Whatever the true reason may be, numerous scientific studies have found a beneficial effect of classrooms and lecture halls containing plants on the attendance rates and test scores of students.


Plants are the least fussy living beings in your home

Growing mediums in the past may have lacked some key characteristics – delicate roots would dry out and even the hardiest of plants may occasionally be starved of nutrients – which necessitates diligent (and sometimes inconvenient) attendance to the care of indoor plants.

One of these living creatures needs more tender loving care than the others. Hint: it’s the furry one.

One of these living creatures needs more tender loving care than the others. Hint: it’s the furry one.

The folks at Midorie have formulated a revolutionary growing medium in the form of Pafcal, which makes plant maintenance far easier and no more time-consuming than pouring yourself a drink of water.

This plant probably drinks less than you do.

This plant probably drinks less than you do.

If you typically associate keeping indoor plants with having to devote significant time to a new hobby, perhaps it’s time to consider using a soil-free and fuss-free grow medium such as Pafcal to keep your plants happy and working hard at protecting your health.

More reasons to decorate your home with plants here.

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