Indoor plants - it’s more than just the looks

by Lisa Ma on Friday 30 September 2022

3 min read

Let’s be honest, we all know at least one plant person whose indoor living space resembles a sprawling floor to ceiling jungle. ​​

According to a survey by Plant Life Balance, about 18 million Australians bought a houseplant in the past year. The reason, as an admittingly crazy plant person myself, along with other Virgin Active Coaches, is more than what meets the eye. Not only do plants bring life and colour to a space, they also provide many health benefits, from filtering clean air indoors to boosting your mood and overall well being, here’s why. 

Plants increase concentration and productivity

Have you ever had one of those days where you spent a little too much time aimlessly staring at the screen or have your mind go blank trying to search for the thought you were thinking earlier? Me too.

Studies have shown that we are more productive when connected to nature and perform better at attention-based tasks when surrounded by plants. The theory is that when our attention shifts to plants in our surroundings, they provide a micro-break from our screens, resetting our mental state and boost overall concentration (this can also be said about pets, but they’re a big distraction sometimes, how can you say no to a dog or cat who wants a pat?).

Plants purify air

You know the saying “going out for a breath of fresh air”? Opening windows and creating natural ventilation can help improve your indoor air quality, but this isn’t always possible or appealing, especially in winter. So why not bring the outdoors, in?

Remarkably, there are many types of plants efficient in removing harmful organic compounds and essentially providing you with more oxygen within your living space - through a process called photosynthesis - plants take in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen. Making plants great additions to any living space as they help improve air quality.

Plants can positively affect your mood

It’s a sensory experience with plants - flowers serve as a form of aromatherapy, while plant colours/leaves in your living space can unconsciously create a sedating effect, replacing your feelings of stress and anxiety with feelings of calmness and relaxation.

Research has shown that plants can help suppress sympathetic nerve system activity, such as reducing heart rate and blood pressure, along with lowering levels of adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones).

If it looks and smells good at home, it also feels good - right?

Plant picks for beginners

So now that we know plants can increase your well being by giving you a chance to care for something, here are some easy-to-care-for and low-light picks that you can easily purchase from your local Bunnings (don’t worry too much if you don’t have a green thumb):

  • Pothos
  • Philodendron Heartleaf
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • Orchids (although they only flower once a year, the blooms last for over a month and are great for the bedroom)
  • Peace lily
  • Areca palm
  • Snake plants
  • Air plants (literally no soil needed)
  • Boston fern

Planting tips

Understanding the basic care of most houseplants can ensure your plant babies are thriving (we want big leaves, and many of them!).

  • Water roughly once a week, the easiest way to know is to place your finger into the soil and check if it is dry or not.
  • Gently clean the dust off leaves with a damp cloth, this helps your plant photosynthesise better.
  • Choose a well draining container or a pot with a drainage hole so plants don’t form root rot.
  • For soil, it’s not a 1 size fits all for plant growing conditions, thankfully our friends at Bunnings have you sorted.

Ultimately, the basic requirements for thriving plants are nourishing soil, water and sufficient indirect sunlight. If you have the right balance of those elements, it’s all happy growing from there!

Plants for a better you

Having plants indoors can be a source of pleasure and offer countless benefits outside of their charming aesthetics to your living decor. They appeal to our desires to beautify our surroundings, while giving us purpose to nurture and care, however small. No green thumb? That’s okay, I’ve accidentally lost a few plants in the past, but always feel compelled to try again. Each time I am a little more thoughtful and determined to do better.

While your plants can give you comfort, remember to also care for yourself. Take your zen a step further by discovering more stress relievers. Looking to get physical? Try a Yoga Calm or Grid Training class to kickstart or decompress your day, our team is here for you at Virgin Active.

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