topside view of a bromeliad

I don't know about you, but after all the festivities of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year are over, there's a bit of an empty feeling in the house. The joyful lights and songs give way to the normal rhythms of everyday life. So what do with that big empty space where the Christmas tree once stood? One suggestion may even tie into a certain New Years resolution to live healthier in 2019: houseplants! Now is a great time to usher in the freshness of the New Year with houseplants. They provide so many health benefits!

a white anthurium houseplant

While you Sleep

When you breathe your body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This makes plants and people natural partners! Adding plants to the interior space of your home can actually increase oxygen levels. By adding orchids, succulents, and bromeliads, you can refresh the air in your bedroom at night while you sleep.

Increase Humidity to Ease Breathing

As part of the photosynthetic and respiratory processes, plants release moisture vapor into the air as well, increasing its humidity. Since plants release roughly 97% of the water they take in, by placing several plants together you can actually increase the humidity of a room, which can in turn help with respiratory distress.

Purify Air by Reducing Toxins

Plants can remove up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (VOC's) every 24 hours, according to NASA. VOC's include bad substances that can be present in rugs, vinyl, fibers, inks, solvents, paint and even books and paper. What's worse, our modern climate controlled air-tight buildings actually trap VOC's inside. But NASA also discovered that plants can purify the trapped air by pulling contaminants into their soil, where root zone microorganisms actual convert the VOC's into food for the plant!

An array of houseplants

Speed Recovery

Adding plants to hospital rooms can speed up recovery rates of surgical patients, according to researchers at the Kansas State University. When compared to patients' rooms without plants, patients in rooms with plants requested less pain medication, have lower heart rates and blood pressure, experience less fatigue and anxiety, and are released from the hospital sooner. Who wouldn't want that!

Sharpening Focus

A study at the Royal College of Agriculture in Cirencester, England, found that student demonstrate 70% greater attentiveness when they are taught in rooms that contain plants. Attendance was also higher for lectures given in classrooms containing plants.

So it's clear - plants can improve our home, office, school, or even hospital environments from a health perspective, while at the same time providing us a with a new focal point and a way to usher in the new year.