If a healthy house plant makes one relax, an unhealthy plant doesn’t do anything right? In reality, unhealthy or dying plants go the other way—making us depressed.
A study done by the English RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) found that dead or sickly houseplants are worse than having no plants at all, and should be removed immediately.
The health benefits of having a healthy house or office plant, such as a birds-nest fern, Ficus, or snake plant, are well worth the effort of taking care of them. They can absorb volatile organic compounds emitted by paint or furniture, oxygenate the room, and help reduce stress by seeing living green.
But this is only the case when healthy. The study from the University of Reading asked participants to rate plants in various states of health for their appearance and perceived ability to clean the air.
A neglected palm used in the study “was the least attractive, least preferred plant and participants thought the appearance was unhealthy and depressing.”
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“This important finding shows that to benefit occupants’ well-being, sick or dead plants should be removed from the indoor environment,” the authors concluded.
They went further to suggest that people with little experience looking after plants should avoid plants that are difficult to care for. An example of this might be an orchid, which can live indoors but which is difficult and moody.
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Another conclusion was that people should avoid decorating the home or office with plants that feature the color brown, as a large section of the participants said it didn’t make them feel good, but rather sad, and that spherical or conical shapes should be preferred to spreading plants.
Featured image: By Vicky G, CC license
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