Plant the seeds of good health

Australians love surrounding themselves with plants. (iStock)

Jenan Taylor

It’s a growing thing, gardening. According to Nursery and Gardens Australia, some 1.9 billion plants were sold in 2018 and 32 per cent of those customers were private consumers. Perhaps it’s that we’re more aware of the environment, maybe it’s the rise of online nurseries and ‘plantfluencers’. Either way, Australians love surrounding themselves with plants.

And a good thing too, because plants allow us to decorate, camouflage, screen, insulate and sustain the environment, all while keeping ourselves healthy.

Decoration and camouflage

Plants make any space more attractive, whether indoors or disguising a dreary corner of the yard. The colours, scents, shapes, patterns and textures energise and simply encourage you to enjoy being in natural surroundings.

On a balcony or in an apartment, grouping and staggering a few succulents together with lofty shrubs such as the rubber plant, can make a striking arrangement, says Plant Life Balance’s Jason Chongue.

“When clustering plants, make sure to stick to plants that require similar lighting levels,” he says.

Privacy and insulation

A few large palm fronds or even Ivy threading its way through trellis or up walls can help provide privacy, while a curtain of cascading spider plants and ferns may help filter light and, through trans-evaporation, even help to naturally cool a space. Other plants may also help absorb excessive noise, like those used in Sydney’s “Breathing Wall” in Mitchell Street Plaza to muffle traffic sounds.


Trees, grasses and other groundcovers curb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere but plants can also clean and stabilise the environment indoors. Studies from Sydney University of Technology and RMIT show that clustering medium-sized indoor plants, such as peace lilies, together, can absorb pollutants and purify the air by up to 25 per cent which could prevent and help treat headaches, fuzziness and dementia.