How Plants can Improve your Home and your Health!

If you think your home is lacking a bit of freshness or greenery (or if you’re just nuts about nature!) then you may want to invest in wall / vertical gardens or some indoor planters, to bring some of nature’s brilliance inside your home instead of just out in the garden. Greenery is perfect for squeezing out as much charm as possible out of those tight little spaces that often feel like they can’t accommodate any kind of decoration.

Along with the ability to bring a tired house back to life, they can also fill up the largest or littlest of spaces, without taking up any of the floor and becoming a trip hazard! However, plants aren’t just good for filling empty spaces, they can be real statement pieces and often the star of the show! You can pick between thousands upon thousands of varieties, and find a plant in any colour or with any kind of style. You can even dye your plant a different colour if you change your mind, though you will have to do some thorough research beforehand to avoid killing your plants. They cannot really be resuscitated and so all your hard work and time could potentially go to waste!

Go along to your nearest garden showcase or workshop to find out from industry expects which plants will be the most effective in your home, but are still suited to your experience level when it comes to tending to plants. Some plants require no water, some require a bit of watering here and there, but some need a constant eye on them if they are more pernickety! Of course, there’s the added bonus of the oxygen they will produce for your environment (if you look after them well!) as well as the environmentally friendly nature of plants as wall décor. After all, it is easy to see that using plants instead of plastic paintings is better for the environment, as they reduce our carbon footprint.

You may be inclined to believe that keeping plants within your home or hanging off your walls as a form of decoration, is a modern, avant-garde type of décor. Interestingly enough, this is a practice that precedes modern times, and there is even evidence of this form of design being used in the ancient world of Babylon. It just goes to show the timeless wonder and beauty of nature, and plants as a form of decoration are unlikely to ever go out of trend or stop being a refreshing addition to a home. Plants work fantastically well in modern and traditional settings alike, as long as you go with the right variety and are very particular about where they are placed and for what effect. You may already have a theme that the plants must complement, or equally, you may just want an array of bold and brash colours to bring some vibrancy into any setting, though the living room particularly is often a candidate.

Home-made Herbs

If you want some greenery in your kitchen, why not go with a herb garden? In much the same way you’d grow and tend to regular flowers, you can grow and tend to herbs and be left with a fantastic garnish or ingredient at the end! Herb gardens will become essential to you if you consider yourself an experienced cook, but equally, if you are interested in the world of cooking a simple herb garden could help you along with your foray into food. Either way, there are few feelings comparable to eating food you have grown yourself!

Loving your Living Wall

If you are really daring, instead of a few plants here and there you could create an entire living wall / vertical garden! It would likely make sense to then have this wall as your accent wall, so as not to attract too much attention away from something so beautiful, or have the wall compete with another statement piece for attention. If the idea of a living wall is, um, growing on you, then you may not want to delay getting started. They can take a while to perfect, as you will likely make little tweaks here and there. If you are planning to grow seeds rather than buying matured plants, you will need a lot of patience as they grow into something magnificent, but as with a lot of things that take time and effort, the end result will be worth it! Be sure to enjoy the journey of a blossom rather than just the finished piece itself, for you will feel much more pride and joy in your creation if you do.

Living Wall

When it comes to maintenance, over-watering your living wall can often be just as big a problem as under-watering it. Watering your wall too often can severely damage or even kill your plants, and also contributes to the growth of mould, which certainly is not a welcome presence in a home. Do what you can to make sure your living wall is one that is in direct sunlight, as this is imperative if you want your plants to thrive and blossom to their full potential. Often this means you will need to choose a wall that is near to a window that can let in light. Also, take care not to overdo your wall in terms of décor – let the plants do the talking. If you add too many cool and crazy patterns, colours and decorations you can run the risk of ruining the elegant effect of the plants. If there are noticeable blank patches in your living wall, you could potentially hang a frame or two or something equally personal, as long as your item/s of choice complement the greenery. In most cases, however, a living wall that is minimalist in style will have the most profound effect on a set.

More Than a Just Pretty Face

Now, the average Joe will agree that plants are a marvel to behold – they possess a certain effortless beauty and are very pleasing to the eye. However, underneath the surface, they do more than just sit and look pretty, and in fact, extensive research and psychological studies have shown that plants have other benefits to our health and wellbeing that may come as a surprise to you.

It has been proven that office workers have higher levels of productivity when in an environment that incorporates greenery. They are also off sick less often, and even make fewer errors in any tasks they complete! Greenery also has a positive effect on patients in hospitals, and students in classrooms. Plants are of course adapted for efficient gas exchange, and thus a benefit of having plants indoors is that they reduce the level of carbon dioxide in your surroundings. They also reduce the amounts of certain pollutants that may be present in your environment as well as tackling some of the dust that may be floating around, which could be particularly useful for those who find that dust often sends them into a sneezing fit.

Studies have shown that plants’ leaves can even absorb or reflect noise to a certain extent and therefore can help to reduce some of the background noise that may be present in an office or classroom, perhaps due to heavy traffic or a lively city. Plants have even been proven to improve systolic blood pressure levels, reaction times and even concentration/attentiveness! Plants truly are nature’s medicine!

Picking Plants

When it comes to which type of plant is the best for you, you need to consider what exactly it is that you want from the plant. Do you want a long, droopy variety that will have the effect of drapes and would work well in a living wall? Then you may want to consider the likes of the aubrieta and dichondra. Do you want to go for pure beauty and elegance, something that instantly catches the eye of anyone who enters the room? Then plants such as the Calatheas or Neoregelia may be for you, and as a bonus they don’t need natural sunlight to grow, making it that much easier to look after them! Do you need something simpler, just to fill a blank space? Then consider plants like the Pothos or English Ivy. If your primary concern is maintenance of the plants, then you may want to prioritize air plants, which are a variety of plants that don’t even need soil to be able to flourish, or succulents, which are also very easy to tend to do. These two types of plants are an ideal choice for a beginner, who may not have had much experience looking after plants before.

Presenting your Plants

Once you know which varieties of plants will be the right fit for your home, get creative about how to display this gorgeous greenery in a way that will do it justice! There’ll be a variety of pots and planters you can purchase to display your plants, but you could also try your hand at making your own planter! This way it can be personalised to your style and specifications and is more likely to complement your home nicely. You could use a trellis (propped against a wall or hung up) and have some hanging plants criss-cross through it for something fabulously unique. You could try some sleek and stylish geometric planters if your home has a more sleek and modern theme.

If you want something really out there perhaps you’d like to consider upside down planters! These can be suspended from the ceiling if plants that are the right-side-up are just too mainstream for you! You don’t need to worry about how the plants will be cared for and watered, upside down planters feature innovative designs that mean maintenance is still possible. You can also fashion a simple herb garden using rods and curtain rings, or perhaps with the use of a pallet or crate. Pockets can be crafted out of sturdy materials such as wire or plywood. Using wood as your primary material will produce something that is particularly warm and comforting. The benefit of making your own plant or herb display is that you can chop and change the size and style whenever you wish, maybe by repainting the panels or adding stickers and decorations. You also get the satisfaction of having made something with your own hands! You can find a bank of videos and forums online each with their own unique take on a DIY planter you could make, with step by step instructions and sneaky tips and tricks, if you are interested in the DIY route and want to see what options you have.

If you’re not into the idea of hanging plants off walls, there are a large variety of other styles you could opt for. These include concrete planters to suit a minimalist home, or maybe hexagonal planters for something elegant and chic. You can even use old boots and other shoes to grow plants in, for a more homely and rustic setting. Encourage the little ones to each grow their own plant in an old throwaway shoe. You could also experiment with the likes of mason jars, with an added advantage being that these are easy to transport and place on a windowsill, which is the place that will be seeing the most sun in all but a few homes!

There aren’t many limits to how or where a planter or pot can be placed. If your planter is on the larger side you may be more constricted as to where you can place it, maybe on a large shelf or windowsill. Smaller planters can be placed a larger variety of places, perhaps on a table or even in the corner of a bookcase. You can place pots in ascending order on a shelf, or if you are creative you could find a way to make other shapes or even a pyramid with your plants! You may or may not choose to leave that to the pros though! Of course, it is not a requirement to have multiple pots and plants, if the only one does the job, then one is enough!

These are just a few of an ocean of ideas about which kind of greenery you could potentially incorporate into your home and how. Plants possess a natural therapeutic beauty, but more than that they also have positive physical effects on those who are near them. They may not be the ideal for all homes, but they can add a breath of fresh air to most any room, and are definitely worth any time you may have to give them!

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