Health and hap­pi­ness in a pot

Grimsby Telegraph - - Your Garden -

GIVE your skin, lungs and men­tal health a help­ing hand by fill­ing your home with fo­liage and flow­ers. Dr Ti­jana Blanusa, prin­ci­pal hor­ti­cul­tural sci­en­tist at the

Royal Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety, gives HAN­NAH

STEPHEN­SON a few sug­ges­tions as to how house­plants can ben­e­fit body and mind:

■ Plants can re­duce ‘sick build­ing syn­drome’

HOUSE­PLANTS can help re­duce the im­pact of ‘sick build­ing syn­drome’ – which in­cludes dry skin, itchy eyes, res­pi­ra­tory ir­ri­ta­tions and headaches – by in­creas­ing hu­mid­ity be­cause of move­ment of wa­ter from leaves and soil into the at­mos­phere. Peace lilies and ivy with higher tran­spi­ra­tion rates are good op­tions.

■ Some plants trap chem­i­cal gases

THE af­ter­math of a fry up or casse­role can be a range of po­ten­tially harm­ful gaseous and volatile chem­i­cal com­pounds (VOCs). Plants can cap­ture these via small pores in their leaves, by dif­fu­sion through plant cu­ti­cle on the leaf sur­face and via the ac­tiv­ity of soil mi­cro-or­gan­isms. Va­ri­eties of dra­caena (a small shrub), fi­cus (figs), nephrolepis (ferns) and syn­go­nium (vines) have the po­ten­tial to re­move the largest quan­ti­ties of these com­pounds.

■ Plants can help in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity

HOUSE­PLANTS can also help im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity along with peo­ple’s per­ceived well­be­ing; the ex­act mech­a­nisms are not known but it is be­lieved that a vari­a­tion in plant shape, size and colour within plant­ing

schemes elic­its pos­i­tive re­sponses. There­fore a mix of plant species in a room, some flow­er­ing and some leafy, is likely to have a pos­i­tive ef­fect.

■ They boost your men­tal health

GREEN­ERY is pretty, and tend­ing for plants can give you a great sense of pur­pose and re­ward, too. Try suc­cu­lents or or­chids or in­clude large ferns for drama and im­pact.

■ FOR more ad­vice on get­ting the most from your house­plants, visit the RHS Ur­ban Gar­den Show on Oc­to­ber 27 and 28, where ex­pert grow­ers will ex­hibit and sell the best trop­i­cal house­plants, sea­sonal blooms and spring-flow­er­ing bulbs.

Sur­round­ing your­self with flow­ers at home or work can help you work harder and feel bet­ter

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