When talking about plants in this environment, we tend to use very general labels (e.g., street tree and patio tree). In today’s Plants, Life, Riverside column we focus on another group of plants with a vague name — houseplants.
Houseplants may be the least exciting plants we encounter in everyday life. Unfortunately that expression “seen one, seen them all” kind of fits in their case. But did you know houseplants contribute much to your well-being?
Houseplants are fascinating in their own right because of the role they play in improving indoor air quality. This information comes to us from the National Aeronautics Space Administration’s (NASA) research into creating livable environments in space. Thanks to NASA and the work of international research teams, we have a better understanding of how plants in built environments improve indoor air quality.
According to B.C. Wolverton and Kozaburo Takenaka, authors of Plants: Why You Can’t Live Without Them, plants not only improve indoor air quality, but also have:
- A positive effect on the physiological and psychological well-being of people occupying built spaces.
- A positive effect on recovering patients.
- A positive effect on worker productivity.
Wolverton and Takenaka discuss indoor and outdoor air quality, volatile organic chemicals in built environments, and the purification abilities of plants in the first half of their book. Wolverton and Takenaka (2010) have many years’ experience studying indoor and outdoor environments. Dr. B.C. “Bill” Wolverton is a retired NASA scientist and has received patents and awards for his research into environmental pollution. He is the author of How to Grow Fresh Air (1997) and Growing Clean Water – Nature’s Solution to Water Pollution (out of print). Kozaburo Takenaka is the founder of Takenaka Garden Afforestation, the top plant leasing company in Japan. Takenaka has created green environments in indoor and outdoor spaces and has researched green plant-related technologies.
In their book Wolverton and Takenaka also discuss rooftop gardening, vegetable gardening, commercial crop production, medicinal plants, aromatherapy and phytoremediation (the use of plants in waste filtration). To guide the reader through these topics, the authors include a glossary of terms and a bibliography of interesting articles and resources in the back of their book.
Plants: Why You Can’t Live Without Them can be purchased online from your local independent bookstore.
Wolverton, B.C. 1997. How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants That Purify Your Home or Office. New York, NY: Penguin Books
Wolverton, B.C. and Kozaburo Takenaka. 2010. Plants: Why You Can’t Live Without Them. New Delhi, India: Lustre Press
Wolverton, B.C. and John D. Wolverton. 2001. Growing Clean Water: Nature’s Solution to Water Pollution. Picayune, MS: WES, Inc.
Bring plants into your classroom
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