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Good indoor climate, higher humidity, less harmful materials… Strong sales arguments for room plants in winter

Anthuriums – Photo: anthuriuminfo

The heating in closed rooms is a widespread problem during the winter months, since it leads to the mucous membranes drying out. Viruses and bacteria – the causes of infections such as colds and flu – can penetrate the human organism more easily via the respiratory system. Eye ailments, conjunctivitis and skin irritations are also often the consequence of indoor air that is too dry…

The indoor climate can be improved the easiest and in the most natural way during the heating months using houseplants: Because more than 90 percent of the water used to water the plants with is emitted into the indoor air as water vapour via the stoma in the leaves. Plants that need a lot of water take over this task particularly efficiently – for example African hemp (sparmannia africana) or umbrella papyrus (cyperus alternifolius).

A higher level of humidity also contributes to a reduction of suspended dust particles – which are frequently carriers of pollutants. The particles become heavier due to the moisture and settle which makes them easier to remove when cleaning. This is an important aspect especially in offices where the ventilation fans of the computers constantly whirl up the dust particles in the breathing air. Furthermore, we perceive living and working rooms warmer and cosier where the level of humidity is higher. Ergo: People who ensure a sufficient level of humidity in their own four walls, not only feel more comfortable and live healthier, but can also even save heating costs. The positive characteristics that indoor plants have on the indoor climate amazingly hardly ever play a role at the point of sale and is a point that is rarely ever thematised. Whereby these are good sales arguments the DIY stores and garden centres could impress the customers with especially during the cold months of the year.

A good ambient climate thanks to houseplants – Photo: Air So Pure

Place the focus on added value

On the other hand, a group of Dutch gardeners, who joined forces under the name “Air So Pure” and who produce houseplants for the international market, are taking a totally different approach. They breed above all plants that are not just decorative, but which also have a real added value for the buyer. Everyone knows that plants transform CO² into vital oxygen during the photosynthesis process.

Some do even more than that: They break down harmful substances like formaldehyde or benzene. The ambient air in our apartment or at our workplaces is often more strongly polluted with such volatile organic compounds than we would imagine. Because furniture, flooring, paints and synthetic materials in construction materials emit them into the environment unnoticed. The sensitiveness of people towards these air pollutants varies individually. The slightest amounts cause reactions such as respiratory problems, insomnia and reduced performance in some people. Regular airing helps create a healthy climate in closed rooms, but those who really want to do something good for their health should opt for the right houseplants. “Air So Pure” clearly emphasises this in its communication and marketing.

Kalanchoë – Photo: GPP

High detoxication capacity

The civil US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, already started researching how one can improve the air in space stations in the 1980s. In 1989, it published the “Clean Air Study” including a list of plants that effectively help reduce the concentration of harmful gases. The spathiphyllum, ivy (hedera heli) dracaena palm (dracaena marginata), anthurium or Kalanchoë have a high detoxicating capacity.


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