Experts agree, houseplants are good for you!


by Char Campbell

My vocation as a houseplant manager met my love of science fiction when I learned about NASA’s research using houseplants to purify air in sealed environments. The original goal was life-support for moon bases (cool), but in the process the scientists found out that indoor plants can actually absorb toxins from the air and break them down into harmless by-products. Not only the chemicals released by practically every man-made material (carpets, clothing, cleaning products, computers, etc.), but also the “bio-effluents” that all humans emit.

Red Anthurium

Red Anthurium

(See  “How To Grow Fresh Air ” by Dr. B.C. Wolverton.) Add these revelations to the facts I learned in school just before I hopped the wagon train to head out west from Fargo: plants give off oxygen, raise humidity and circulate the air as they live and photosynthesize, and it becomes clear that the philodendron on the table is a healthy- air-making machine!

I think houseplants just make a room more comfortable, less sterile, and give the eye and nose something natural to play on. Check out an article by Dr. Leonard Perry at University of Vermont Extension ( He tells of studies showing that plants reduce stress, even reduce blood pressure, HousePlant2and increase productivity. Once, a school teacher told me that she always keeps plants in her classroom because she’d found they made the students less likely to cause disruptions and more able to concentrate. If a person gets interested in the many different types of indoor plants and how to grow them it can be a great hobby, and that’s good for something too.

My conclusions? Houseplants could improve indoor environments in homes, schools, stores, offices, hospitals, prisons, etc., especially in new and energy-efficient buildings. The more houseplants the merrier and healthier.

About Brenda Powell

I'm one of the owners of a family-owned retail nursery. I have a degree in horticulture from Oregon State University. I love to garden and read. My technically savvy but horticulturally challenged husband, Mitch, spends most of his time as slave labor in the garden. Thank goodness he adores me! My goal in this blog is to share my enjoyment of gardening, my love of nature, and my addiction to books. Did I mention I like to cook, too?
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