Plant ladies are the new cat ladies among the millennial generation, and not only because so many of us are living too frugally and precariously to be able to look after an animal: They’re low-maintenance, affordable, good for our mental health, and, most importantly, make for a great Instagram photo.
The once-tacky artificial plant may be coming back into vogue in the interior-decor sphere — they’ll never die, unlike even the hardiest succulent, and are more realistic than ever before — but now there’s a new reason to remain loyal to real houseplants: our skin health.
Indoor greenery actually helps to increase moisture in the air and therefore combat dry skin, according to a study by the Royal Horticultural Society — a welcome finding as winter draws near, when the contrast between freezing air and indoor heating can wreak havoc on our largest organ. The recent research, a collaboration between the RHS, the UK’s University of Reading, and PhD researcher Curtis Gubb, found that houseplants can reduce dry-skin symptoms through evapotranspiration, whereby they lose water through their soil and leaves.
Tijana Blanusa, principal horticultural scientist at the RHS, described houseplants as “a simple and affordable way to reduce air dryness indoors and alleviate symptoms of dry skin, while providing multiple other benefits — for human psyche and physical health.”
Dr. Blanusa added that “thirstier” plants — those with large canopies and high transpiration rates that require more water to grow well — can provide humidity benefits. “In our study of seven varieties, the best performing were peace lily (Spathiphyllum) and ivy (Hedera), but there are likely to be many other species whose characteristics lend themselves to the job and need to be tested still,” she said.
Plants can lose as much as several hundred milliliters of water per square meter of leaf area depending on their type, size, and condition within a room, Dr. Blanusa explained. That means a plant like the peace lily, which stands at about 20-inches tall and 12-inches wide, transpires around 100 ml of water and more in a day — equivalent to a small teacup evaporated.
Dr. Blanusa also said that the more the merrier when it comes to reaping the benefits of houseplants. “Usually multiple plants in a room are required to have an effect,” she added. “Studies have found that a mix of shapes, sizes, and colors influences positively parameters like self-reported productivity and …read more