We all know that plants breathe in our carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen for us, but did you know that they can purify the air as well? Studies done by NASA found that even the most common of house plants can filter our air for the better. In fact, they do double duty: they remove toxins from the air with their leaves as well as pull toxins underground with their roots.
Up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be filtered by a plant’s leaves every 24 hours! VOCs are nasty fumes like formaldehyde (present in rugs, vinyl, cigarette smoke, and grocery bags). Other toxic fumes from man-made fibers, inks, solvents, and paint contain benzene and trichloroethylene. Higher doses of benzene are found in places that store books, furniture, and rugs. Luckily, studies have proven that plants can filter away these toxic gases by natural plant functions.
Plants can also pull toxins through their leaves and redistribute them in the ground around the root zone. Once there, microorganisms living in the soil make a meal of the toxic materials. How cool is that?
Another study done by the Kansas State University found that patients who had plants in their rooms recovered in nearly half the time, and required only half the dose of pain medications. Plants also transpire nearly 97% of the water that they take in. Studies at the Agricultural University of Norway documented that grouping plants together in your living space will decrease the incidences of dry skin, colds, sore throats, and dry coughs.
Even the most novice of growers can have lots of success growing plants indoors. Remember to give them adequate light, either from a window or grow light, and water them only when they are mostly dry. Keep the pots on the small side and make sure there is excellent drainage. Nothing kills a houseplant faster than by letting it sit in water!
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