PEORIA (WEEK) - If you're looking to improve your physical and mental health, try houseplants! They are useful, decorative, and perfect for fall.
A previous NASA study, known as the Clean Air Study, showed that plants can remove volatile organic compounds from the air, such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene in a small chamber.
Naturally, plants intake toxins and release oxygen, but that process is not fully effective in larger rooms. So how can plants help us in our homes with rooms much bigger than a small chamber?
Hoerr Nursery Horticulturalist Caitlin Mclaughlin said, "Bigger plants can help improve your air quality by pulling some of the dust out of the air. It will collect on the leaves' surfaces, and as they transpire they will help pull the air in to collect the dust, which is why it is important to clean our houseplants leaves occasionally."
The larger the leaf surface area, the more dust can be collected and air can be purified. The transpiration of the leaves can help remove spores of mold in the air as well. This can improve air quality, especially for those who suffer from allergies.
Some large leafed plants that are good for trapping dust are dracaenas, fiddle-figs, snake plants, ZZ plants, and spider plants. If you have pets, make sure the plants you buy are not toxic to your animals. (You can check the ASPCA's website for poisonous plants https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants .)
Mclaughlin mentioned how studies have shown that physically caring for a plant and feeling the soil and foliage can improve mental health by relieving stress and providing a sense of accomplishment. Also, caring for a plant can boost memory, concentration, and sleep.
The more the green, the better! Decorating your home with houseplants can provide a sense of satisfaction and happiness, therefore improving your mental health.
If you're worried about starting to care for plants, they are plenty of options available for beginners, and Mclaughlin said don't be scared. Hoerr Nursery can provide you with many options and styles suitable for you and your home.