By Ruth Doherty published
Looking for low maintenance house plants to brighten your home with? Did you know that bringing foliage indoors can have fantastic health benefits too?
With a significant increase in the number of people working from home in response to the current lockdown, it's a great time to consider the extraordinary health benefits of house plants and how they can improve your workspace at home
It is unknown how long we will be working from our makeshift home offices so it's worth investing time to add a little greenery to your setting.
Not only will this make your desk a colourful, more peaceful and engaging place, it's also the perfect way to bring nature into your home and the multitude of health and wellbeing benefits associated with house plants.
See: The top 10 house plants – that all interior design lovers should know about
5 top low-maintenance house plants
House plants are versatile and can be used in most rooms within your home. Haskins suggests:
1. Devil’s Ivy
Fantastic trailing plant that performs well in a hanging pot or on a high shelf. Prefers indirect light conditions and liberal watering in spring and summer.
Really easy to care for, these architectural plants love light and occasional watering.
- See: Monty Don's house plant watering tip – stop yours turning brown
3. Dragon Tree (Dracaena)
Thrives in a warm room in light shade near an east or west facing window.
4. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
A great air purifier, this distinctive popular plant thrives if kept damp and away from direct sunlight. Can also tolerate lower light levels.
5. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas)
Whether it’s a bright lounge or shady hallway, this plant is a great focal point and will thrive on neglect. Just remember to water it occasionally.
- See: Hilton Carter's house plant cleaning tip – to keep yours in rude health
The three main health benefits of houseplants
Haskins Garden Centres has offered some top tips on the benefits of house plants and some of the best options to buy for your home office.
1. Boost concentration levels and productivity
Researchers from the University of Exeter in 2014 found that plants can increase productivity by 15 per cent. The scientists suggested that a green office increases employees' work engagement by making them more physically, cognitively and emotionally involved in their work.
2. Alleviate stress and anxiety
Many of us are under a lot of pressure at work, and given the current uncertainty, this is likely to be amplified. Research has shown plants in the home can reduce tension by almost 40 per cent, because they remind us of the outdoors, nature, and a slower pace of life, which is instantly calming.
An additional study conducted by Washington State University in 1996 made workers complete timed computer tasks in rooms with and without plants. When the plants were present, the participants were more productive, less stressed and had lower blood pressure.
3. Improve air quality
According to a NASA study from 1989, plants can help clean the air. Scientists identified 107 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in the Skylab space station which were contributing to poor health. Houseplants also help to make the air in the home less toxic by purifying the air and eliminating any toxins. Homes can be full of airborne pollutants, with carpets, paint and even people harbouring toxins.
Ruth Doherty is an interiors writer who has worked for Homes & Gardens and Ideal Home magazines among many others.
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