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Unless you suffer from severe allergies, you likely appreciate all of the good that accompanies the presence of greenery. Unfortunately, most people spend almost every day entirely indoors, sacrificing quality time with Mother Nature. People trapped in insufferable and almost inhumane dorms or offices have it the worst, as both can become depressing relics of a time when aesthetic, psychological and health considerations weren’t included in design and development. But even the worst of places can be livened up with the presence of indoor plants and their many benefits. Here are 10 great reasons to grow plants in your dorm or office.
- They add aesthetic value: Drab old rooms that seemingly offer no hope aesthetically can be transformed into desirable dwellings with the addition of a few colorful and shapely plants. It’s not uncommon for new undergrads to decorate their dorm rooms to the hilt, using plants that conform to the style of the decor. People who work in offices usually aren’t afforded the same privileges, so the presence of a few plants is their only way to make an otherwise cold place warm.
- They occupy space: Although this reason could be stashed under “aesthetic value,” it deserves its own explanation. All too often, people move into offices or dorm rooms with few belongings, resulting in extra unused space that ends up hosting a mess — like equipment, books, files or clothes. These areas can be filled with larger house plants in order to avoid the inevitable appearance of a miniature wasteland. A parlor palm or weeping fig (technically trees) are perfect space eaters.
- They reduce noise: That’s right. Indoor plants actually reduce noise, an appealing prospect for anyone who has experienced a typical dorm or poorly-constructed office. You may have already known that outdoors plants are used in urban areas to obstruct traffic noise. It’s the same concept, but with smaller plants. Numerous strategically placed plants — especially those with big and thick leaves — can dissipate sound waves.
- They fight stress: Given the sometimes hectic environment of the workplace, taking steps to relieve stress bit-by-bit is essential. The presence of indoor plants is soothing, as opposed to a plain office that’s devoid of any reminder of the outside world. Dorm rooms can also be a drag, especially when you’re spending long hours studying or working on an assignment. Studies have shown that indoor plants can enhance your attitude and increase productivity, substituting for the great outdoors when you’re stuck indoors. Specifically, bamboo palms, Chinese evergreen and devil’s ivy are excellent stress defeaters.
- They fight colds: Indoor plants increase humidity and decrease dust, helping relieve sore throats, coughs and other cold symptoms by more than 30 percent, according to the University of Agriculture in Norway. During the winter months, it’s wise to stock up on plants — like English ivy, peace lily and fragrant dracaena — to counter dry air from the furnace. Don’t allow the season to send you to the sidelines and cause you to fall behind at work or in the classroom.
- They remove toxins from the air: A recent study by NASA indicated that indoor plants absorb toxins — namely formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene — that are released by building materials. Newer buildings that were constructed to be energy efficient can trap indoor toxins, disallowing them to circulate into the outdoor air and dissipate.
- They improve the smell: Indoor air can easily become stagnant and the resulting unpleasant smell can linger. This is especially the case in dusty office buildings and unsanitary dorm rooms. With the use of flowering plants like scented geraniums and fragrant plants like evergreen, a once smelly room can bring back memories of grandma’s backyard garden.
- Some produce food: Food-growing plants come especially in handy for broke college students. Tomatoes can be grown indoors with adequate sunlight and the use of pollination spray. Pineapple Guava produces edible flowers and fruit. Dwarf Cavendish is small banana tree that produces slightly smaller-than-normal bananas. You can also experiment with an abundance of indoor-grown herbs.
- You may cultivate a hobby: Caring for indoor plants is a fun and soothing hobby that’s highly rewarding, as evidenced by the benefits highlighted on this list. How many activities result in cleaner and healthier air, a healthier mind and soul, and the creation of edible treats? Plus watering and pruning give you the opportunity to step away from your desk, laptop or textbook, and clear your mind.
- They make great conversation pieces: As you become more devoted to your indoor plants, you’ll become more attuned to their benefits. When a coworker steps into your office, your plants can become a source of small talk as you extol their virtues, delaying the inevitable boring minutia that comes with work conversations. In addition to being a positive distraction, they’re another subject in which to become an expert. It’s always fun the be an expert in something, especially something that’s good for the world.