Planting Your Health

BY V ALERIE CASE

Staff Writer

House plants are good for more than just decorum. In addition to sprucing up the inside of an apartment or cramped dorm room, indoor plants may improve one’s health and well-being.

College living may feel uncomfortable and foreign at first and many feel the need to make their new home as comfortable as possible. Indoor plants are an opportunity to do just that.

The act of caring for and nurturing any living thing may have profound effects on mental and emotional health. To ease stress and promote spiritual wellness expensive essential oils and aromatherapy are often cited as holistic practices; however, the answer may be much simpler and less costly.

Recently in Psychology Today Doctor Johnathan S. Kaplan reported nature’s benefits on the human body and mind.

The presence of potted plants at a work space or home environment has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve reaction time, raise productivity and lower anxiety according to Kaplan.

Indoor plants are like built in health providers. As part of photosynthesis they take in carbon dioxide from their surroundings and convert it to the oxygen we breathe.

If kept healthy, these indoor beauties improve air quality and filter out toxins from the environment, which is one reason plants are often found in hospital rooms and nursing homes.

Though it may be tempting to romanticize the thought of plants having stress relieving superpowers don’t go buying up the entire garden section of Lowes just yet.

It is important to remember that plants require a certain level of care just like pets, albeit incredibly low maintenance pets. And some plants are better suited for outdoor living than indoor settings.

Even the most organized of college students may become hectic and harebrained at times. When this happens, small things in life tend to fall through the cracks; such as remembering to water your plants.

An easy solution is to keep low maintenance plants rather than a species that requires daily attention. Succulents such as cacti, jade plants or aloe are plants that have minimal water needs.

They are characterized by waxy coating on their leaves which help to conserve water and decrease evaporation.

They survive best in soils on the drier side so don’t worry about watering every day. As long as they have lots of sunlight these babies are happy.

Other low light options are the cast iron plant, snake plant, dragon plant, spider plant and peace lily. These require little natural sunlight and don’t need to be watered daily but differ from cacti because they prefer more moist soils. Be careful if pets or children are around. Some plants are toxic to typical household pets. Lilies are poisonous to cats while jade plants and aloe are poisonous to both cats and dogs.

House plants can be easy to care for and may help with emotional, mental and physical health. These little wonders may prove to be helpful for when finals come around.

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