Indoor Plant Benefits

Those who spend significant time in spaces with live plants, whether on the rooftop or within walls, are afforded many important advantages.

Here is a  brief overview of why having plants around us is important.

Plants fulfill an ancient, profound need.

This is Biophilia

Biophilic design is a design philosophy that focuses on the human connection between nature and the constructed environment

In 1984, Harvard biologist Dr. Ed Wilson named our natural human affinity for nature, Biophilia. He was referring to humans’ “love of living things”. Wilson describes Biophilia as the “innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes.”

The consistency of natural themes in historic structures and places suggests that biophilic design is not a new phenomenon; rather, as a field of applied science, it is the codification of history, human intuition and neural sciences showing that connections with nature are vital to maintaining a healthful and vibrant existence as an urban species.

Plants provide a natural solution to cleaner indoor air

Plant scientist with special expertise in plant environmental toxicology and management,  Dr. Margaret Burchett, declares in her studies that “…to ensure sustainability of the urban environment, satisfying the ‘triple bottom line’ of environmental, social and economic considerations, it is expected that indoor plants will become standard technology – a vital building installation element, for improving indoor air quality.”

Indeed, when plants transpire water vapor from their leaves, they pull air down around their roots. This supplies their root microbes with oxygen. The root microbes also convert other substances in the air, such as toxic chemicals, into a source of food and energy. Microbes, like bacteria, can rapidly adapt to a chemical contaminant by producing new colonies that are resistant to the chemical. As a result, they become more effective at converting toxic chemicals into food the longer they are exposed to the chemicals.


Biomimicry is the science and art of emulating nature’s best biological ideas to solve human problems. Interior plants within a green design are a perfect example. Live indoor plantscapes demonstrate nature’s hearty resolve and process of cleaning surrounding air while exchanging it for fresh oxygen.

For those who seek clean, natural solutions to environmental issues, live interior landscaping can serve as a living illustration, affirming belief in nature’s intelligence.

Carbon Dioxide reduction

Our concentration and productivity are negatively affected when the level of carbon dioxide is high indoors. For example, having a well-sealed building can results in having drowsy employees. However, during photosynthesis plants naturally extract carbon dioxide and exchange it with fresh oxygen. Based on modest estimates of existing and emerging data, it has been calculated that a minimum of 300g (10 oz) of carbon dioxide can be eliminated from the enclosed environment for every square meter of leaf surface in the area per year. Over a year time this amounts to a removal of 6 cubic feet of Co2 gas. In areas where there exists an abundance of natural light, this process is amplified, affording even more absorption. A review of the plant’s carbon assimilation from planting to disposal is needed to provide a comprehensive analysis of its carbon footprint.

We are less stressed and more productive around plants

Both studies from Dr. Roger Ulrich of Texas A&M University and Dr. Virginia Lohr of Washington State University verify that plants significantly lower workplace stress and enhance worker productivity.

In Dr. Lohr’s study, common interior plants were used in a computer laboratory with 27 computer workstations. A computer program to test productivity and induce stress was specifically designed for these experiments. Participants working in an environment with plants present were 12 percent more productive and less stressed than those who worked in an environment without plants.

We are willing to pay more in retail areas that include trees

Retailers have long understood the importance of store environments in enhancing the shopping experience. Marketers have studied the situational influences of product packaging and store layout on the behavior of shoppers (Engel et al. 1990). While business people are keenly interested in the presentation of their product and store they often overlook “macro” level settings – the district that surrounds their shop or office. Mattila and Wirtz (2002) extend the notion of Gestalt to consumers’ perceptions of retail environments and demonstrated that consumers perceive the service-landscape holistically.

Interior plants and landscapes create situations more favorable for retail activity. When we shop in retail areas with “tree” versus “non-tree” environments we visit more frequently, stay longer, rate the quality of the products 30% higher and are willing to pay about 12% more for goods.

Flowers and Plants inspire our creativity

“We know the importance of learning, for example, how natural surroundings affect drivers, school children and hospital patients,” said Ulrich, who has conducted extensive research on the effects of environments on psychological well-being, stress and health. “To businesses, it should be equally as important to understand what features can improve performance at work and make employees more productive.”

In an eight-month study, the Texas A&M University research team explored the link between flowers and plants and workplace productivity. Participants performed creative problem solving tasks in a variety of common office environments or conditions. The conditions included a workplace with flowers and plants, a setting with sculpture and an environment with no decorative embellishments.

Plants are important to a healthy lifestyle

Real life office studies have proven the direct relationship between clinical health complaints and plant installations. Sick Building Syndrome is a serious and expensive issue, and the degree to which interior plants can positively affect employees’ health is an important issue in today’s workplace.

Professor Tove Fjeld of the Agricultural University in Oslo, Norway carried out several conclusive studies regarding health claims relating to Sick Building Syndrome among workers. This crossover study was conducted among 51 offices. During one period, plants were included in the offices. And during another, plants were not included. All participants worked in identical, single offices, with a floor area of ten square meters and a window covering most of the outer wall. When plants were included, 13 commonly used foliage plants placed in three containers on a window bench and a terracotta container with plants in the back corner of the office. When reviewing 12 of the common symptoms most often related to poor indoor air quality and ‘sick building syndrome,’ there was a 23% lower complaint rate during the period when the participants had plants in their offices.If the symptoms were clustered, a significant reduction was obtained in neuro-psychological symptoms and in mucous membrane symptoms, while skin symptoms seemed to be unaffected by the plant intervention (Fjeld et al. 1998).

This is a non-exhaustive list about the benefits brought by live greenery within the built environment.

Do you want to discuss more about your concerns and your project?