5 Reasons to Bring Potted Plants to the Office

by Jan Fletcher on February 25, 2013
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If you have a green thumb, you may want to consider bringing a few houseplants to the office. These natural air filters can create a healthier, happier work environment, according to the Plantscape Industry Alliance. For the maximum benefit, 15 to 18 houseplants in six-to-eight inch containers will naturally cleanse the air in an 1,800 square-foot space.

Here are five reasons to populate your workplace with potted plants.

1. Potted plants boost morale. Multiple studies show a positive correlation between live plants and enhanced moods in the workplace. According to Dr. Charlie Hall, the Ellison Chair in International Floriculture, at Texas A&M University, workers in offices with ornamental plants have higher accuracy rates, enhanced memory, and improved performance. Many of the most popular houseplants are mildly toxic when ingested, but that’s generally not an issue in the average workplace, unless the plants are within reach of a young child. Mold, however can be an issue, so don’t overwater the plants. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. If mold appears, discard the plant.

2. Leafy indoor plants scrub the air. Plants can help to moisturize indoor air and cleanse it of toxins. NASA has studied indoor plant cultivation for years, with an eye toward future sustainable colonies in space. The agency’s researchers discovered that plants absorb benzene and formaldehyde and reduce the numbers of airborne bacteria and mold spores by half. Check out this list of 15 plants that act as air filters.

3. Living greenery enhances memory. Finding you’re more forgetful these days? Don’t tie a string around your finger. Instead, bring a plant or two to the office. One study confirms that indoor greenery has a beneficial effect on learning and enthusiasm.

4. Indoor plants provide affordable, attractive decor. You can add greenery to your office environment in a big way by hiring a plantscaper — the indoor counterpart of a landscaper. Living green walls provide a healthy alternative to traditional art (although they do require a bit more maintenance).

5. Potted plants are “greener” than cut flowers. Yes, it’s true that many a gorgeous potted plant eventually deteriorates into a scraggly specimen. But cut flowers have their own ecological challenges: As a perishable item, cut flowers are often transported long distances via commercial jets and may be treated with chemical preservatives. They often require energy-intensive lighting to force blooms, as well. From a sustainability point of view, potted plants are a better choice than bouquets of cut flowers.

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