Positively Potted

In the words of Luther Burbank, the famous botanist and creator of more than 800 new varieties of plants, “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”

Surely receiving flowers or a new plant is enough to brighten anyone’s day but as Burbank appreciated, they do so much more. A slew of new studies demonstrate the positive impact plants have on mental and physical health. Here are 5 reasons to keep potted plants or flowers indoors:

1. Plants are mood boosting.

Studies show that indoor plants enhance mood and creativity and the positive effect lasts for days.

2. Plants can help improve your health.

Patients recovering from surgery in a hospital room decorated with plants and flowers had lower blood pressure, felt less fatigued and required less pain medication. Employees take fewer sick days if they work in offices with plants. Fatigue, headaches, sore throats, coughs and dry skin were all reduced in plant rich indoor environments.

3. Plants reduce stress.

Plants and flowers have been shown to reduce stress and lower blood pressure in as quickly as five minutes. They help people feel relaxed and content. Taking care of plants enables people to cope with negative feelings and loneliness.

4. Plants increase productivity levels.

Enriching an office space with plants boosts productivity by as much as 15%. “Green” office spaces can increase employee happiness and the bottom line. They also convey the important message that the employer cares about the environment and the wellbeing of the employees.

5. Plants make an atmosphere more likable.

The presence of fresh flowers on a table has a positive effect on a diner’s experience and increases the likelihood they will return. Guests feel welcome and well taken care of in a room adorned with flowers.

6. Plants help build relationships.

Plants and flowers create a welcoming atmosphere and bring people together. The presence of flowers in a room has been shown to lead to increased contact with family and friends and to build empathy.

7. Plants can help increase focus.

Plants can increase concentration. People report feeling more attentive in an environment with some greenery. Children who spend time around plants learn and retain information better.

8. Plants have a positive effect on perception.

The Opryland Hotel in Nashville has an 85 percent occupancy rate — a high number by hotel standards where the average is 64 percent. According to a case study, the main factor accounting for this high occupancy rate is the large investment in flowers and plants.