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8 Reasons You Should Own a Plant and What Type to Get

As someone who owns four succulents, I take pride in owning plants. I have complied a list of reasons why you should consider getting a plant and some college-friendly options. And hey, they are easier to take care of than a dog, right?

1. Plants purify your air

We all have learned that plants turn carbon dioxide into oxygen; that’s simple science. So why not bring one of those natural-air providers into your room? NASA even uses plants on the International Space Station to get rid of toxins in the air. They recommend one plant per 100 square feet for proper air purification.

According to the American Society of Horticultural Science, indoor air quality is an increasing health concern. Some places can be up to 12 times more polluted than outside areas. Having a plant can take these pollutants out of the air through a process called phytoremediation.

2. They makes us happy

Staring at pretty flowers and plants can improve your mood. They make us more relaxed and positive. The American Horticultural Therapy Association says that the plants can benefit you psychologically. Some of the psychological benefits include increased self-esteem; improved mood and sense of well-being; reduced stress, anxiety, and depression; increased feelings of calm, relaxation, and optimism; and increased sense of stability and control.

A study by researchers at Washington State University found that people in a plant-filled room saw a four-point drop in their systolic blood pressure after taking a stressful test, compared with a two-point drop in a group with no plant exposure. 

3. They give us self-worth

Plants are like easy pets: they need love and care, but less responsibility. Taking care of something so little will bring out the inner parent in you the same way a child or pet could. Seeing it bloom will give you a sense of pride, knowing you took great care of your plant.

4. They enhance cognitive function

Studies have also shown that plants can have a positive influence on cognitive areas. Some benefits include improved concentration, improved memory, better goal achievement, heightened attention, and boosted creativity. Another study from Texas A&M University showed that people placed in a room with plants had 13% more creative ideas than people placed in a room with sculptures.

5. They help deter illness

Plants go through a process called transpiration, which is when they evaporate water through their leaves. They do this in your home, and it raises the humidity levels. According to a study at the Agricultural University of Norway, having a plant indoors decreases the occurrence of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs. Another study showed that higher levels of humidity decreases the survival and spread of the flu virus.

6. They boost healing

Have you ever wondered why bringing plants to a sick person is commonplace? Not only does it brighten up a room, it can make the patients recover quickly. A study by Kansas State University found that looking at plants while recovering from surgery led to an improvement in blood pressure, lower ratings of pain, lower anxiety, and lower fatigue.  Another study done by Texas A&M University showed that patients who took care of and interacted with plants had a reduced recovery time.

7. They help you work better

Looking for a way to improve your motivation? There have been several studies done with students and workers that show working in a room with plants improves concentration, memory and productivity. The University of Michigan discovered that the presence of plants can increase memory retention by 20 percent. In Norway, two studies have shown that worker productivity increases by the presence of plants.

8. They sharpen your focus

According to a study by The Royal College of Agriculture in England, students’ focus increased by 70 percent when they were taught in rooms containing plants. In the same study, attendance was also higher for lectures given in classrooms with plants.

So just how many plants should you get? Well, it all depends on what you want to happen. To improve health and reduce fatigue and stress, place a plant about every 130 square feet. For purifying the air, about 1 large plant or 2 small plants every 100 square feet. It’s key to remember that for best results, make sure that your plant is in an environment where it can flourish.

 

Aloe

It’s good plant for soothing cuts and burns and for monitoring the air quality. It can purify the air from pollutants found in cleaning products. 

 

English Ivy

It is listed by NASA as the number one best air-filtering houseplant. It is one of the best at absorbing formaldehyde. It is easy to grow, so this would be a good beginner plant.

 

Rubber trees

They are another easy plant to grow, since they don’t need much sun or warmth. They are low maintenance and are powerful toxin eliminators.

 

Peace Lilies

They are also low maintenance flowers. They do well in shade and cooler weather, and help reduce pollutants in the air.     

 

Snake plants

They don’t need much light or water, so they’re an easy choice for people with busy lives. They produce oxygen at night instead of during the day, which could be beneficial.

 

Bamboo plants

They are also on NASA’s list of top air-cleaning plants, effective at cleaning benzene and trichloroethylene. They require constant watering and shade.

 

Philodendron

It is popular due to being easy to care for and having decorative vines and leaves. They are great for absorbing formaldehyde and can live for many years.

 

Spider plants

They are a common plant and are on NASA’s list of best air-purifying plants. They are effective at fighting pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.

 

Red-edged Dracaena

They are vibrant plants that can grow to be ceiling-height. They remove toxins including xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from the air.

 

Golden Pothos

It is another plant on NASA’s list due to clearing formaldehyde from the air. Its leaves will grow down in cascading vines, and they grow easily in cool temperatures with low sunlight. 

Cathlene is a senior studying journalism and women's studies at Auburn University. She has been a part of Her Campus Auburn for three years and is in her first year as Campus Correspondent. When she isn't studying and working on Her Campus, she enjoys baking desserts, reading young adult fiction and watching Netflix (mainly Friends, The Office and The Great British Baking Show). Some of her favorite things include Disney, desserts and fluffy animals to cuddle. Cathlene aspires to write for a magazine once she graduates and hopefully move back to Los Angeles. 
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