ACCORDING to US space agency
The latest experiments prove that indoor plants can remove pollutants that build up in an enclosed chamber.
The findings had immediate implications for office workers in air-conditioned, poorly-ventilated, modern high-rise buildings - primarily in the US.
It has long been known that over time microscopic particles of formaldehyde, benzene, and ozone are emitted from building materials, furniture, carpets, copying machines and cleaning solvents.
In poorly air-conditioned and sealed buildings the pollutants are unable to disperse into the atmosphere and their levels of concentration increase. Eventually, people complain of itchy eyes, skin rashes, drowsiness, respiratory problems, sinus congestion, headaches and a variety of allergies - characteristics most commonly associated with the "sick building syndrome".
From these findings, scientists estimate that one plant can clean and purify an area comprising 10m2. Flowering plants such as the chrysanthemum have a high metabolic rate and are able to remove toxic molecules quickly. Foliage plants tend to work slower, but their permanency makes them better suited to interior environments.
Aside from their very obvious health benefits, it is becoming clear that indoor plants also have a direct influence on productivity levels in offices. This is on account of higher levels of employee satisfaction, reduced stress levels and improved physical health.
"Active and passive interaction with plants can change human behaviours, attitude and physiological responses", says
The reaction time of the participants occupying rooms with indoor plants was found to be 12 percent higher. In addition to the improved productivity, those persons surrounded by plants were shown to have lower blood pressures, a significant indication of lower stress levels.
"Many people have an intuitive sense that contact with nature is beneficial", says Dr
In a study at
The tests showed that stress levels for those in rooms where plants were present were lower and also that the recovery rate during the post test period was quicker than those in the empty environment. Further studies by researchers at the
More recent studies from
It is now proven that indoor plants filter and clean the air by removing up to 87 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies and even pesticides.
Allergic reactions, headaches, nausea, asthma and other respiratory-tract irritations are common indicators of VOCs. The negative effect of these illnesses on productivity in the workplace is high, increasing absenteeism and a more recently identified malaise, presenteeism.
Presenteeism, a modern word that seems to be finding its way into many modern research documents, might be defined as the act of attending work while sick.
A study undertaken by the
There are numerous factors that positively influence the ability of a workforce to operate at the highest level. These need to operate in combination in order to optimise both personal and organisational output.
The convincing evidence presented in these modern studies supports the importance of incorporating indoor plants into the office design. The higher levels of employee satisfaction, the reduced stress levels and improved physical health are sure to have a direct influence on productivity levels.
If breathing clean air is an important personal concern, indoor plants will no longer be a luxury, but a necessity in homes and offices.
GARDEN WALKS: Join daily walks through the gardens at Kirstenbosch. Today,
2014 CHELSEA TOUR: Join the 21st annual seven-day garden tour to the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show, |17-24 May. Contact Gillian on 021 683 2838 or 083 261 3961.
CONCERT IN THE FOREST:
CONCERT IN THE GARDENS: The Old Mutual Summer Sunset Concert series tomorrow showcases
GARDEN TALK: Join Edwin Rye as he talks about some of his favourite gardens in
CELEBRITY GARDENING: Meet Keith Kirsten, get a book signed and learn about Proven Winner plants on
CONCERT IN THE RESERVE: Enjoy Sunset Concerts at Helderberg Nature Reserve in Somerset West. from
GARDEN PROTECTION: A talk on protecting your garden from summer heat is on
PLANT HACK: Attend an alien vegetation plant hack on the second Saturday of every month.
HERB GARDENING: A talk by
INDIGENOUS GARDENING AND GARDEN HEALTH: A talk on the joys of Cape flora by Mariana takes place on 27 February at Stodels Bellville at
A talk on combating bugs and disease in the garden by
l Give roses a light cutback to encourage an autumn flush, but make sure enough leaves are left to feed the plants and to prevent sunburn on the stems. Water deeply and feed with
l A rose garden can look more interesting between flushes if under-planted with herbs such as aromatic sage, origanum, lavender or dianthus. Other ways of growing herbs where gardening space is limited is in pots, hanging baskets and window boxes on balconies and patios. Growing herbs in raised beds is a way of providing drainage for herbs that do not like "wet feet". Herbs can put on a lot of growth in summer. Cutting back will encourage a more compact shape.
l Great care should be taken not to disturb the roots of a bougainvillea when planting. The easiest way is to cut around the base of the bag and remove this, then carefully lower the plant in its plastic sleeve into the hole. Only then should the sleeve be slit and removed. Water newly planted bougainvillea regularly until well established.
l Visit garden centres for ideas on how to improve your garden. Talks relating to all aspects of gardening are always popular and well attended, as are viewing the mini-show gardens on display. These may be permanent displays showing seasonal plantings, water features, hard landscaping, or temporary gardens built by professional landscapers and horticultural students. Staff members are on hand to give advice and guide the visitor to the correct section.
l Cut lawns little and often. Keep lawnmower blades raised, as exposing roots to hot sun will result in burning. Fertilise with a commercial lawn fertiliser, always watering in thoroughly after application. Trim edges once a week to prevent runners from growing into beds.
l The indigenous Black-eyed Susan, Thunbergia alata, is a fast growing, semi-hardy twining vine with heart-shaped leaves and orange or yellow flowers and a black throat. Suitable for growing on trellises and over fences, arches and obelisks.|The cultivar Blushing Susie has dark pink flowers and a black throat that turns apricot pink and eventually ivory.
l To have continuous colour through into autumn regularly deadhead, water and feed crocosmias, echinaceas, rudbeckias, cannas and dahlias.
Most Popular Stories
- Obama Administration Releases Proposal to Regulate For-Profit Colleges
- Apple, HP, Intel May Take a Hit from Slowdown in Smartphone Sales Growth
- Elizabeth Vargas' Husband Marc Cohn Addresses Rumors
- Keurig Adds Peet's coffee, Alters Starbucks deal
- Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx Marries Model Courtney Bingham
- U.S. to Relinquish Gov't Control Over Internet
- FDIC Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Banks Allegedly Hurt by Libor Scandal
- Chinese e-Commerce Giant Alibaba Gears for IPO in U.S.
- Some California Cities Seeking Water Independence
- Quiznos Files for Chapter 11