Benefits of Growing Indoor Plants

Jul 15, 2018 by Colin Thomas with Veterans Off-Grid in Sustainability
Whether you are living off the grid, in the suburbs, or in the heart of the city, there are benefits for indoor plants such as improving overall health and producing food. Granted, not everyone lives in a big house or have dedicated sunrooms or greenhouses, but there are ways to participate still! To save space, plants can grow in water or air if low on space by using the Hydroponics or Aeroponics methods. Several off-grid house designs have gardens on the roof to keep the house cooler and maximize sunlight and space.


Improving Overall Health and Productivity

According to NASA and Washington State University, plants that improve air quality are associated with lower rates of flu symptoms. To prove the importance of having plants nearby further, there is a correlation between the lack of plants and higher rates of heart and lung complications. There is no specific plant to reduce these risks, any aesthetically pleasing plant will do. On top of improving health, plants improve memory, alongside boosting creativity and optimism among other benefits, according to a study conducted by the University of Technology Sydney.

Fun Fact: To purify water, use Water Lilies to absorb nutrients and Bulrushes to remove oils and bacteria. To clean air, use Peace Lilies to remove mold and benzene, and use Lady Palms to remove ammonia.

There are more than a few unique species of plants you can use to repel insects; what better way to stay focused on your tasks and stay positive? Lavender repels moths and mosquitoes, Bay Leaves repel flies, Chrysanthemums repel cockroaches, and Venus Flytraps get rid of ants and flies. Because there are so many species of plants, it may be difficult, depending on how many you possess, deciding where and how to store them. Of course, you can use pots and soil to grow plants in your living room, but there are other options.


Producing Food

Whether you are looking to save money or eat more organically, growing your food indoors is a way to remove toxins from the air and facilitate a more eco-friendly lifestyle. You may be surprised the kinds of plants you can grow inside: apples, blueberries, onions, carrots, peppers, cilantro, basil, and lavender to name a few. Because indoor gardens are not as affected by the changing seasons, they grow and blossom year-round.

Growing your food has other advantages such as choosing which fertilizers and pesticides comes in contact with your food (if any) in addition to allowing control as to when to harvest. Vegetables that ripen in the garden have more nutrients than most store-bought vegetables. If you are uneasy about producing food, or maybe you have had lousy luck previously, start small. Focus on growing a couple of veggies you like to eat and then slowly add to it.

Helpful hint: make sure there are at least 6 hours of sunlight available and consider water access. Moreover, talk to local farmers (maybe the farmers market or community gardens) and pick their minds with your concerns.


Saving Space

Hydroponics is a technique of growing plants in a nutrient-rich water solution. Since nutrients are delivered directly to the plant roots, the plants grow faster, have higher yields, and take up less space than plants in soil. Zero Soil Gardens claims you can use hydroponics to plant as many as 16 plants per square foot. Besides, the plants can be stacked on top of one another to increase the growing space within your living space.

Tip: “Alternate low, bushy plants in your hydroponics garden like spinach and lettuce with tall, vine plants like tomatoes and bell peppers to make sure your taller plants don’t shade each other,” as quoted by Zero Soil Gardens.

Aeroponics is another method by growing plants in the air and spraying them with nutrients. It has the potential to grow plants faster and likely the best way to grow plants if living in a tight space. The suspended roots get more oxygen than the hydroponic plants; therefore, there is less chance of diseases spreading between plants vs. when sharing soil and water. The water is sprayed at their roots with a high flow water pump and micro sprinklers. The micro sprinkler system costs roughly twenty dollars more than the hydroponic system because there must be continuous spraying. The downside being if the equipment breaks, the plants may die quicker than in a hydroponic system.

Rooftop gardens can be used for people who live in apartments and do not have a yard or much space. They provide extra gardening space for any home, help manage stormwater surges, provide extra insulation reducing heating costs in the winter, and they help cool roofs in the summer. It goes without saying if you do not own your house you must be cleared by the property manager. A word of caution to those with angled roofs as you may encounter added difficulty, but a rooftop garden could increase the value of the building if it is applied correctly.