A potted sword fern dangling from the ceiling in a beaded holder to portray a more bohemian flair to the room. (Melody Bathaee/Orange Appeal)
Other than enabling our ability to live, plants are continuously used throughout interior design to warm up a room or add a pop of color to neutral-toned areas of the home. Newer aesthetics allow ferns and succulents to dress a confined area up or down, ultimately tying a space together. However, new research by biodiversity engineer and ecologist, Jessica Green, reveals that these decorative pieces serve a greater purpose of improving our cardiovascular health overall.
The greenery we accumulate in our kitchens, living rooms, or bedrooms can protect the human immune system by creating natural ventilation within enclosed spaces. According to Green’s 2011 TED Talk, we spend 90% of our lives indoors. Most of these buildings use mechanical ventilation or air conditioning systems. While these filtration bodies are “colonized by airborne microbes that enter through windows and mechanical ventilation,” they do not necessarily prevent harmful pathogens from passing through and into the air we breathe.
A spider plant sitting decoratively in a pot alongside some added books and dainty, colorful candle holders. (Melody Bathaee/Orange Appeal)
In fact, the sourced microbes—good and bad—are brought in by people and eventually circled throughout spaces by mechanical filtering systems. This increases the likeliness of inborn microorganisms interacting with humans and, therefore, escalates risks related to sickness. Instead of keeping the outside out, promoting natural ecosystems will diversify the microbial beings in the air and can reduce crossing paths with potential pathogens. Indoor plants are also known to be “air purifiers.” Through photosynthesis, they convert carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen that even removes toxins from the air. Because we spend most of our time inside, air pollution is higher inside than in the outdoors. A 2004 study by Ralph Orwell demonstrates that indoor plants create better air quality in their environments by removing volatile organic compounds that are present in indoor settings. Even potted soil is linked to the elimination of cancerous agents like benzene and formaldehyde within the air we breathe.
This playful philodendron stacks on top of a Fender amp with a bright red bass guitar leaning against it. (Melody Bathaee/Orange Appeal)
As the sight of our beloved self-made nurseries warms our hearts, we now begin to realize how much it affects our body and protects our immune systems from possibly damaging microbes inhaled throughout the day. Make sure to take loving care of your plants because they are taking care of you.