The Benefits of Urban Houseplants
Living in the city can be both exciting and exhausting. The fast-paced lifestyle, noise pollution, and lack of greenery can take a toll on our mental and physical health. But did you know that having urban houseplants can make a huge difference? In this article, we’ll explore the many benefits of having houseplants in the city.
Improved air quality
One of the most significant benefits of having houseplants in the city is improved air quality. Plants are natural air purifiers and can help remove harmful pollutants from the air. Studies have shown that plants can remove up to 87% of air toxins in just 24 hours, particularly pollutants. Plants have tiny openings on their leaves called stomata, which allow them to take in gases from the surrounding environment. As air circulates around a houseplant, pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are absorbed into the plant. Once inside the plant, the pollutants are broken down and used as nutrients. Houseplants also release oxygen into the air through a process called photosynthesis. During photosynthesis, plants use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. This oxygen release can increase the amount in your home, which can be especially beneficial in areas with poor ventilation. Houseplants can also help control the humidity levels in your home. As plants release moisture through their leaves, the surrounding air becomes more humid. This can be especially helpful in indoor environments, where low humidity can lead to respiratory problems and dry skin.
There is research that has resulted in inconsistent takeaways for how many plants it would take to impact air quality. Controversial NASA research had advised that as few as a dozen plants in a home would have a significant effect. However, more recent research has concluded that it would take an order of magnitude more than that. If air quality is your primary goal, I would advise getting a larger plant or even a small tree. In many ways, the smaller sized apartments of NYC would actually amplify the air quality benefits of urban houseplants. Here is a list of my favorite larger, statement plants that work for small spaces.
Reduce stress and increase mental health and productivity
Living in the city can be stressful, and studies have shown that houseplants can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. The act of caring for plants can be therapeutic, and the presence of greenery in our homes can create a sense of well-being. Another benefit of having houseplants in the city is increased productivity. Studies have shown that people who work in offices with plants are more productive, take fewer sick days, and are happier at work. This is because plants can help reduce stress levels and create a more pleasant work environment.
In addition to reducing stress and anxiety, houseplants can also have a positive impact on our mental health. Studies have shown that plants can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, increase positivity, and even improve cognitive function.
Providing a natural aesthetic and improving sleep
In addition to their health benefits, houseplants can also add a natural and aesthetically pleasing element to any living space. They can provide a pop of color, texture, and variety, and can help create a relaxing and inviting atmosphere in your home.
Some houseplants, such as lavender and jasmine, have been shown to have calming properties and can help improve sleep quality. This can be especially beneficial for those living in noisy and busy urban environments. If you are having a hard time sleeping at night, incorporating plants into hour bedroom can be helpful. If you have the space, its entirely feasible to grow a small eucalyptus tree besides your bed, which will provide a soothing smell and also aid in the quality of the air that you inhale while you sleep.
Supporting sustainability with urban houseplants
Finally, having houseplants in your living space can be a sustainable choice. Plants can help reduce the carbon footprint of your home by improving air quality, reducing energy consumption, and supporting a more eco-friendly lifestyle. This is even more true if your plants are on a balcony or yard, where they are contributing to the local ecosystem.
In conclusion, there are many benefits to having houseplants in the city. From improving air quality to boosting mental health and increasing productivity, houseplants can be a valuable addition to any urban living space.