Our generation has truly brought the term jungalow to life. We share our curated, plant-laden spaces with a lot of pride (millennials were responsible for 31% of houseplant sales in 2016 alone, so, yeah – this is an investment we’re taking seriously). But beyond just boosting our IG game, a houseplant obsession (also affectionately known as being a Crazy Plant Lady) can actually help us give back to the earth by helping out the environment in multiple ways.
More plants could help make your apartment more energy efficient, improve your air quality and your health, and they could even potentially help loosen up your smartphone addiction. Plants + humans = magic. Here are 7 reasons to be a proud plant parent.
Plants Cool Your Home Naturally and Reduce Energy Costs
If you’ve been dealing with this heat wave by mcguivering multiple fans into just the right positions (just me?) know this: houseplants can actually cool down your home up to 10 degrees. As plants lose water during transpiration, they cool the air in the space and also leave it moistened and feeling fresher. Save on that energy bill, and breathe cleaner air. Win-win.
They Can Also Help Keep Your Air Clear of Toxins
About time to reinvigorate your summer health goals? Start by heading to the nursery. Back in 1989, NASA found that houseplants are able to absorb harmful toxins from the air, particularly in enclosed spaces with limited air flow. Now, research shows that plant-filtered rooms have 50-60% less airborne microbes, like mold spores and bacteria. This has a big impact on the air you breathe all day and all night.
Consider these top air-purifying plant picks:
- English Ivy: This is NASA’s top pick for air-purifying plants. (Though: Be warned, it’s not safe for dogs to eat!)
- Spider Plant: These guys can grow with minimal light, and are able to filter 90% of formaldehyde (found in glues and woods furnitures) from the air.
- Peace Lily: These beauties are effective for clearing ammonia (found in cleaning products).
- Snake Plant: If you want to sleep better in addition to clearing your air of formaldehyde know that this plant releases oxygen at night time, which can help support a good night’s sleep.
- Rubber Plant: These super low-maintenance plants work to filter carbon monoxide (can come from appliances, gas fireplaces), and formaldehyde.
- Aloe Vera: This versatile plant will come in handy if you get a sunburn, and also removing formaldehyde.
Plant-Tending Could Help Lower Your Stress Levels
Nurturing plants could give you the sense of pride in your space you’ve been seeking, but as you master your growing skills you might also find your daily stresses fall away easier. Studies show that people who spend time cultivating, touching and smelling plants actually feel less stress in their lives. Why? Plants give us a way to channel our energy, unplug, slow down and connect with our senses. As you manifest your dream indoor garden, you also nourish yourself!
Research also found that the increase in people’s health and happiness lasted for months after the initial study had been completed. Plants leave a lasting impression.
Strengthening Your Connection To Nature Could Make You Feel More Alive
Would living in a lush, alive environment make you feel like you were thriving in your own life? Some jungalow owners say so. I love how Urban Jungle Bloggers owner Igor Josifovic put it:
“In today’s fast-paced, digitalized world we need to reconnect with nature. Especially the urban dwellers… we feel the need to surround ourselves with nature, we want a connection to something so basic yet so essential, that will remind us of the ‘natural pace of life’ beyond smartphones and social media.”
It’s easy to get attuned the high highs and low lows of life in the city, but living among more plants reminds us that nature doesn’t flip flop from one extreme to the other. Make your apartment the fertile, oxygen-rich space where you can slow down and feel truly restored.
Surrounding Yourself with Plants Boosts Your Work-Efficiency
Freelancers, if you have trouble concentrating at home, adding more plants might help. Studies have shown that tasks performed while under the calming influence of nature are performed better and with more accuracy. And, that being under the influence of plants, inside or outside, could increase memory retention up to 20%. Add some indoor pots to your office supplies list, sub more coffee for more oxygen.
Up Your DYI Game and Lessen Your Reliance On Chemical Cleaners
Herbs are powerhouse ingredients you can use for natural (read: toxin-free) skincare and house-cleaning. Here are a few basic recipes to inspire your window herb pots:
Thyme-Based All-Purpose Cleaner
Thyme has antiseptic and antifungal properties, making it a potent bacteria-killer you can use to clean your countertops, sinks, and toilets.
What You Need:
Peels of 2 lemons
A handful of fresh thyme leaves
2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 T castile soap
2 cups water
What To Do:
In a mason jar, combine the lemon peels, fresh thyme and distilled white vinegar. Screw the lid on tight and let the mixture infuse for 10 – 14 days. Afterward, strain the lemon peel and thyme out and transfer the vinegar to a spray bottle. Add the water and the castile soap to the vinegar to dilute, close the spray bottle and shake it up to mix. You’re ready to use!
Quick DIY Essential Oils:
Turn your fresh herbs (lavender, thyme, mint, and rosemary are ideal) into ‘essential oils’ you can use to add fragrance to your homemade cleaning solutions. All you need to do is chop up a few handfuls, put them in a glass mason jar, and cover with heated plant-based oil (olive or canola oil). Seal the jar tight and store in a cool place for at least a week, then strain the liquid. To use, add one teaspoon of essential oil per quart of cleaning solution.
Chop up a handful of mint and thyme and mix with a cup or so of baking soda (enough to cover the surface area of a carpet you’d like cleaned). Scatter on your carpet, let sit overnight, then vacuum up.
Plants May Help Increase Your Pain Threshold
In post-operative patients, those with plants in their rooms actually reported lower pain ratings by 20 – 25%. Whether this is due to their air purifying qualities, pleasing smell and look, or just knowing that things were being cared for in the room, plants apparently also function as a low-key self-care system. If you suffer from regular headaches or another chronic illness, or, you’re going through a breakup – more green life could make your home a little bit more healing!
(Story by Contributing Editor, Kait Fowlie)