Editorial: July 2014

June 11, 2014
Written by
What if you had products that could lower blood pressure, absorb harmful airborne toxins, reduce headaches, improve moods and improve productivity?

You would assume anyone producing such products, veritable miracle drugs, would be very well compensated in a market. Consumer demand would be constantly growing.

Well, many of you are producing them already!

Welcome to houseplants, low-cost medical wonders to be sure.

The science is conclusive: plants are good for people. Years of peer-reviewed study throughout the world have produced volumes of supporting documentation. Yes, an apple a day is good for you, but so too is a potted gerbera or rose.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that very little of this message is getting out to consumers. We’re talking big dollars being left on the table. Indeed, that has to change.

Virgina Lohr of Washington State University led a study into the benefits of adding plants to a windowless workplace. Its message is important.

In the study, the blood pressure and emotions of participants were carefully monitored while they completed a simple task. Its report concluded that: “When plants were added to the interior space, the participants were more productive (12 per cent quicker reaction time on the computer task) and less stressed (systolic blood pressure readings lowered by one to four units).”

A Norwegian study, led by Tove Fjeld, found substantial health benefits were associated with office plants. “Fatigue and headaches fell by 30 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively, when the subjects had plants in their office; hoarseness and a dry throat fell by about 30 per cent, and coughing by around 40 per cent; and dry facial skin (reports) fell by around 25 per cent.”

Environmental consultant Dr. Bill Wolverton, a retired NASA scientist, has spent many years studying the effectiveness of plants in absorbing toxic chemicals in indoor air. In his book, How to Grow Fresh Air – 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office, he suggests including two or three plants, in eight-inch to 10-inch containers, for each 100 square feet of living space to reduce indoor air pollution issues.

Further, plants are great energy-savers. Plants cool via transpiration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture says this can decrease air temperature in offices by 10 degrees F. Imagine the market potential you could tap if your consumers were informed of the full benefits of plants for improved health, well-being and productivity. The more invested in this marketing, the greater the potential in market growth.

And a growing market is essential for the continued good health of the industry.  Now that’s something that would make us breath easier.

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