The joy of nature

For a very long time, it’s been known that humans have a strong bond with the natural world. For many of us, simply being outdoors immersed in nature has an incredibly positive effect on our health, both mental and physical.

So, when it’s winter and we’re also being encouraged to remain indoors due to a global pandemic, how can we still draw on the benefits of nature?

The introduction of house plants is a fantastic way to help improve your wellbeing and health whilst being stuck indoors. Scientific research suggests that there are many ways in which plants help to support our health. The two key areas are:

  • Improved psychological wellbeing
    • Improved mood
    • Reduction in stress levels
    • Improved attention span
    • Increased tolerance for pain
  • Improved physical human health
    • Reduction in blood pressure
    • Reduction in reports of fatigue and headaches by 20-25% in one study
    • Decrease in post-operative pain reported by hospital patients in rooms with plants present. *

Rooms with a view
Plants are fantastic mood enhancers and also help improve our concentration and effectiveness. Studies show that tasks performed with elements of nature surrounding us are performed better and with greater accuracy.

Having a view of nature through a window can even have a positive effect on our stress levels and general health. Ideally, we would be outside immersed directly in nature, but where that’s not possible a large view of open, green spaces can also be of benefit. If your views are mainly of urban landscapes then the introduction of plants and flowers indoors would deliver benefits.

The good news is that even if you’re not particularly green-fingered, or don’t have the right conditions for indoor plants, artificial plants around your home can still have a positive impact on your overall wellbeing.

Hardy houseplants
Winter is a tough time of year for houseplants. It’s either too cold/drafty or too warm and drying when we have the heating on. There’s also a greater lack of natural sunlight which they often crave. So, which plants are the best for surviving through these trialling times with us?

Zamioculcas Zamiifolia (ZZ Plant) – considered to be virtually ‘unkillable’ this plant manages to thrive where there’s a lack of light and doesn’t need a lot of watering.

Maidenhair Fern – due to thriving on forest floors in the wild, this plant doesn’t need a lot of natural light, however they are very thirsty and need regular watering.

Clivia – if you have a conservatory or room that’s a little chillier than others then the Clivia is ideal for that room. They prefer conditions a little cooler and also don’t need a lot of sunlight.

Jade Plant – If you’re looking for a plant that can tolerate a combination of cold draughts and warm radiator as you switch from airing your rooms to heating them, then this plant is ideal.

Monstera – these hardy houseplants are incredibly low-maintenance and just need a mist every few days or a proper drink once a week or so.

Where to buy
If you’re not able to get out to a garden centre currently, then have no fear, there are an increasing number of online plant retailers that deliver plants and flowers to your door, some which you can subscribe to in order to receive fresh flowers through your letterbox each month.

Canopy plants offers a plant subscription service.

Bloom & Wild offers a flower subscription service

Bloom Box Club offers deliveries and a subscription service

Patch Plants offers plant deliveries

Appleyard Flowers offers stunning flower deliveries

A greener future in buildings
For many years now the building design and construction industries have been incorporating elements of ‘Biophilic design’ into new building projects. Due to nature’s documented restorative effect on humans (hence why many hospitals are often decorated with a lot of green colour to promote recovery), highly urban areas are being redesigned to introduce as many biophilic elements as possible. Biophilic design is based on the ‘Biophilia hypothesis’, which suggests this innate connection, our bond with the natural world and that exposure to it therefore has a positive effect on us. To learn more about biophilic design and the projects it’s inspiring click here.