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Welcome to the Plants at Work (formerly efig ltd) website  - the association representing Interior Landscapers by promoting the use and benefits of Interior Plants.
 
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Houseplant Appreciation Week

on Sunday, 10 January 2021. Posted in News

Houseplant Appreciation Day is celebrated every January 10 and originates from people finding the gaping space left once the Christmas tree was gone unbearable.

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Of course it’s quickly acknowledged that houseplants are more than something to fill a space and that’s where we’d like to start our appreciation. As all plants@work members know, houseplants are so much more than a green decoration and that‘s what makes them so perfect to celebrate and appreciate.

As well as refreshing the air and improving humidity levels, a year of intermittent lockdowns has really shown how plants can help our mental health. Tending and caring for a plant or two in particular, really help our stress levels and has really helped many people coping with lockdowns. Several research studies have shown that they reduce stress and even one plant can do this.

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A barrier of plants

As we’ve already mentioned, plants also refresh the air giving us cleaner air to breathe which is good t know if you are working in an office with sealed windows.

Other studies have shown that having plants in your room, help to improve productivity – good news for businesses in particular – and they also help with creativity. These areas of research might seem obscure but they have been proven several times by different researchers.

There are many other things that plants do and so we will add to this article as the week goes on using research and our 2018 publication ‘Plants for Wellbeing’ as the sources of information.

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Biophilia

Let's start with biophiliia. The concept was first recognised or publicised by Edward O Wilson, a Havard professor and Pulitzer prize winner twice over. Biophilia recognises our need to interact with nature; we function best when we can include views of it and immerse ourselves in it. This was recognised by some of the early plant researchers though they didn't call it biophilia but they did acknowledge that we evolved in the natural world and after the industrial revolution and later the technological revolutions, we had come adrift from our roots.

How do we recreate biophilia in our homes and perhaps more importantly our places of work wherever that is now? Plants are the most obvious way to recreate a natural space but they aren't the only way. Natural light, views of the natural world beyond the walls of your office, natural materials like wood and patterns that reflect the wonderful natural world outside.

Bird of Paradise

Bringing the outdoors in

But plants are a very good place to start creating a natural feeliing indoors. As lockdown has shown, having plants to care for, earlier a renewed interest in gardening, and also the rise of popularity of houseplants shows that more and more os us appreciate having them around.

From the Human Spaces Global Report

'Biophilic design is a response to the human need to connect with nature and works to re-establish the contact in the built environment. Ultimately, biophilic design is the theory, science and practise of creating buildings inspired by nature, with the aim to continue the individual's connection with nature in the environments in which they live and work every day.'

Alocasia

A beautiful Alocasia

Invest in a houseplant or two to bring the outdoors in and get caught up in biophilia!

Houseplants cleaning the air

It was as long ago as 1989 that NASA first published their findings on plants cleaning the air of toxins. The basic principles are that during photosynthesis plants exchange oxygen which they expel for us to breathe, in exchange for carbon dioxide which they take in from the surrounding air. They also absorb harmful substances found in the air that are expelled by many different objects including car exhaust fumes, industry emissions, paper products, machinery such as photocopiers, carpets and upholostery, perfumes, deoderants and cleaning products being some of the biggest culprits.

'NASA named several plants that they tested in this way which are still referenced today. Later in Australia, Dr Ronald Wood looked at speciic toxins being absorbed by selected plants and later still, Prof Margaret Burchett also from Australia, claimed that all plants clean the air to a greater or lesser degree.'

Ficus lyrata

A floor-standing Ficus lyrata (image courtesy of The Joy of Plants)

The big quesstion always is 'how many plants does it take to clean the air?' It's a very hard question to answer although Dr Ronald Wood developed a gauge by which to measure this.'Basically in a 10 - 12 metre squared room occupied by just one person, he estimated that just 3 floor standing plants or 6 table-top plants would effectively clean the air effectively lowering toxins by 50 - 70 %. All of these statistics change if anything in the 'set-up' changes i.e. more people in the room; a fluctuating number of people in the room; windows opened or closed; door opened or closed and so on. In reality although plants work to clean the air, filling a workspace with enough plants to clean the air effectively is usually unrealistic. However it might be easier if you are working from home in a dedicated office.

Some facts about indoor air

  • Indoor air can be 10 times more polluted than the air outside
  • As we know there is growing concern about emissions and unclean air in built-up areas
  • Reports suggest that polluted outdoor air puts our health at risk
  • Did you know that we breathe in 0.5 litres of air, 12-20 times per minute i.e. at least 17,000 litres per day
  • That is the same volume as 8,500 x 2 litre bottles of water