Benefits of Plants
Benefits of Plants – Community/Cities

Trees and plants can help reduce temperature and CO2 emissions in urban areas and aid in improving air quality – lessening the impact of climate change. They also provide food and shelter for wildlife – including important pollinators. They regulate water flow and increase property value. Noise pollution may be lessened by trees and plants deadening unwanted sound. Vegetation can have a positive impact on people’s stress and mood, creating a more pleasant environment in which to live and work. Beautifying an area with landscaping can drastically improve the perception of as well as the use of a space. Community gardens, rooftop gardens, etc. can be a source of food. Trees and plants provide an excellent return on their investment for a community.

Benefits of Plants – Home Value

Similar in the way plants benefit our community, they also benefit our home – inside and out. They provide improvement to air quality; and larger trees will have positive impact on temperatures – reducing the cost of cooling and heating a home. Indoor and outdoor plants improve our mood and general well-being. Vegetation can provide a food source for people and wildlife. Our homes can increase in property value with attractive landscaping, and plants improve the quality of life in our residential neighborhoods.

Benefits of Plants – Natives

Native plants are those that occur naturally (without human introduction), they were in the country before European colonization. And natives vary by area. Native plants do their best work when in the locations that match their growing needs. They are in their element so to speak – and therefore likely to not rely on additional watering and/or fertilizers and/or pesticides. They assist with water regulation and support the health of the soil they grow in. Native plants are an excellent and important habitat and food source for pollinators and other wildlife. Native plants draw more beneficial insects, birds, and butterflies, and they are often low maintenance plants. They increase biodiversity – the variety of life, both plant and animal, that helps our ecosystems stay healthy.

Benefits of Plants – Therapeutic/Healing
Looking for a boost in your physical and mental well-being? Tending to plants inside and outside can provide both. Having plants in our homes, where we work and in healthcare facilities benefit our overall well-being. They improve indoor air quality – helping filter air pollutants and stabilize CO2 levels. And interestingly, the presence of plants in hospitals can help people heal more quickly and use fewer pain relievers in the recovery process. When patients participate in Horticulture Therapy (interacting with and caring for plants during recovery) after medical procedures they have significantly reduced healing times. And gardening can have therapeutic effects on those who have suffered trauma. 

Ornamental plants have shown to positively affect the compassion people feel for other people. Plants decrease our stress levels and help us feel more relaxed, having them around improves our mood, creating a positive energy both important in everyday life and when undergoing medical treatment. Spending time in nature routinely can lead to better mental health – less likely to be depressed and/or stressed. Having vegetation where we live and work helps us concentrate due to their calming influence, thereby improving our performance and accuracy, and they promote a professional image along with a feeling of caring – also important in healthcare facilities.

There are medicinal properties of plants to include too. Plants are not only used in producing remedies but can also be used in the research of treatments.

Gardening and tending plants also have these positive health effects. Gardeners tend to eat healthier foods. And just 5 minutes of gardening can improve self-esteem and mood – and some forms of gardening such as digging, weeding, and raking are good physical exercise.

Benefits of Plants – Air Purification

Plants, indoor and out, help remove air pollutants and toxins, and stabilize CO2 levels. Plants, through photosynthesis, convert carbon dioxide (what we exhale) into oxygen. Plants play an important role in our ecosystem, cleaning air and purifying water as well as helping to prevent soil erosion. Wetlands, a threatened ecosystem in the U.S. store large amounts of carbon in their plants and soil. Trees in urban settings help lower air pollutants like ozone.

Benefits of Plants – Pollinators/Food Sources

Plant pollination is the first step in the series of seed, fruit, vegetables, and the next generation of plant production. Pollinators play a vital role in this process and include bees, birds, butterflies, moths, bats, other insects, and small mammals. They transplant the pollen from one plant to the next, and with a large percentage of plants needing pollinators to assist with pollination this is a vital responsibility. Sadly, the pollinator populations are declining due to loss of habitat, use of pesticides, pollution, etc. The task of pollinators is crucial to our food production – 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat exists because a pollinator helped in the production of that food. Added to the important role pollinators play in our food production, they also support plants that affect our ecosystems – clean air, water, support other wildlife, etc. To help save the pollinators and therefore secure our food sources and healthy ecosystems, we can provide pollinator habitat. Planting pollinator friendly vegetation, trees, and gardens – in both urban and rural areas – will go a long way in pollinator conservation.

Benefits of Trees – Air/ Fire Risk

Trees help clean the air and provide oxygen. They remove tons of air pollution, including fossil fuel emissions. Trees work to make Earth a healthier planet by trapping pollution in their leaves.

Healthy, well-maintained lawns and landscaping can help reduce fire risk. Make sure to prune and water vegetation to create a defensive space around your home. The right kind of plants and trees with proper placement can lessen vulnerability to fire as well. Trees and plants that are moisture rich and those with low or no resins or oils tend to be more fire resistant and can serve as a protective barrier.

Sources Referenced:
American Beauties Native Plants
National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture
Pollinator Partnership
National Wildlife Federation
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Ellison Chair in International Floriculture Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
USDA – U.S. Department of Agriculture
Arbor Day Foundation