Friday, May 16, 2008

Plants with a Purpose

ARA - Thank a plant today. Silent and always “working,” these green heroes toil tirelessly to purify our environment and improve our lives, naturally cleansing the very air we breathe.

And since most of us spend 90 percent of our lives inside, pay special attention to your indoor plants. They provide truly amazing health benefits. Working 24/7, they filter the very air we breathe from common pollutants and continuously release oxygen and moisture in our homes and offices.

Former NASA research scientist Dr. Bill Wolverton, author of “How to Grow Fresh Air” says, “Houseplants perform these essential functions with the same efficiency as the rainforest in our biosphere.” To maximize the health benefits and freshen the air in your home or office, he recommends at least one houseplant for every 100 square feet.

When selecting the perfect indoor plant for that perfect spot, consider the plant’s “job.” Does it work the day or night shift? Is it for the home or office? Read on for expert tips on which ‘green heroes’ will work best for you.

* Green Is in the Air!
Our modern lives depend on technology, but ordinary products like paints, tobacco smoke, printer inks and even carpets hold hidden dangers that plants can help reduce.

According Dr. Wolverton, plants improve air quality through their natural “filtering” ability. He discovered houseplants absorb up to 87 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), like ammonia, formaldehyde and benzene, found in many homes and offices.

And certain indoor plants “clean” the air every 24 hrs! How? They absorb toxins into the root zone where they’re turned into nutrients. Some tropical plants actually suppress airborne mold. These green heroes just keep doing what comes naturally.

Some of the hardest working plants are peace lilies, ferns, palms, and spider plants.

* Heavy Night Breathers
Did you know some plants actually work at night? Certain green friends “breathe out” oxygen (O2) and absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) at night, rather than in the daytime, when the majority of plants do their “breathing.”

Mike Rimland, research director for Costa Farms (, the largest indoor houseplant producer in North America, recommends Epiphytic Bromeliads and orchids, particularly in your bedroom. These natural botanical air purifiers make perfect bedroom buddies to refresh and beautify your room for a truly healthy, restful night’s sleep.

Rimland’s favorites are anthuriums. “They come in an array of colors with stunning blooms that last up to 13 weeks, are easy to grow, refresh the air, and add exotic beauty to your bedroom.”

* Bring a Plant to Work
Put a plant on your desk and feel happier, enjoy better health and be more productive. The NASA study recommends office workers should have at least one plant in their “personal breathing space” where most of the work is done to effectively remove indoor pollutants.

Another test conducted in Norway reports 25 percent fewer health problems, in particular respiratory ailments, headache, and fatigue, when plants were introduced to the workspace.

Snake plants, broad sword ferns and rubber plants are among the top ten air purifiers recommended by experts. They’re easy to grow, are natural humidifiers and remove airborne chemicals. Other green heroes are chrysanthemums, Gerbera daisies and spider plants.

* Location, Location, Location!
"Which plant you choose, and where you place your plants is important to reap optimum benefits,” says Rimland.

Consider the light, humidity, and temperature of your indoor spaces to determine the best choices for your home. Put a Majesty Palm in your living room, fern in the family room and a spathiphyllum plant in the kitchen. Add golden pothos or heart leaf philodendron for beauty and maximum air cleansing benefits.

Look for all of these environmentally-friendly plants at the ‘From the Earth for the Earth’ display at most local Home Depot stores.

For more information on the benefits of houseplants, and help finding the perfect indoor plant for your home or office, visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use

No comments: