Think about it! We all recognize how our mood can change when we are surrounded in an environment with living vegetation. It's the reason we take trips to the park, spend time in our backyards, desire the coveted corner office with windows or have a yearning desire to be out in nature. Plants have an immediate and documented impact on our happiness and long-term positive effects on our moods-specifically making us feel less stressed, less anxious and less depressed. The scientific term for this connection is biophilia, which describes the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with living systems (Wikipedia). Considering that 90% of our time is spent indoors-and maybe more in the summers of South Texas-bringing the outside inside is deeply rooted in our biology.
Given our affinity for nature, it is hardly surprising that many large facilities invest in bringing the outdoors in. By creating indoor parks with large trees, plants, water features, daylight and comfortable retreats, they are able to impact the experience we have while in the facility. Builders, developers and commercial realtors would not invest in this if they didn't believe that such amenities have positive payoffs.
In most cases, plants are often placed within spaces merely for their aesthetic benefits: to soften hard surfaces and to provide ambience. A few well-placed plants in a room can dramatically change the look and feel of a space. Plants can be that final touch that ties everything together and makes a space more inviting and comfortable. It is that intangible benefit that we pick up on when we enter the room that renders a subconscious attraction to the space.
The bottom line is the most important interest of most home buyers and sellers. Also, as the agent trying to sell a home at a fair price, you have to find that edge over your competition. What are you doing to create an environment that produces a positive experience to a prospective buyer aesthetically, physically and emotionally while benefiting you economically? Plants cover them all!
A Clemson University study documented the impact of landscaping on the resale value of single family residences. A house that obtained an excellent landscape rating from a local landscaping professional could expect a sale price 4 to 5 percent higher than equivalent houses with good landscaping. Homes with landscaping ranked poor relative to neighboring homes with excellent landscapes could expect a sale price 8 to 10 percent below equivalent homes with good landscaping appeal.
Other research finds that plantscaping both inside and out can add as much as at 14% to the resale value of a building and speed its sale by as much as six weeks. You can see that small improvements with plants can produce large economic returns to the seller. And, of course, you know the importance of the first impression, so just imagine how magnified the improvements by plants are on the front porch.
Interior plants are a very cost-effective way to dramatically change an indoor environment. When you evaluate what it costs for remodeling a space or to install new furniture and fixtures, the return on an investment is much greater with the addition of plants, due to their relatively low cost. We recommend at least two significant, healthy plants per 12' x 16' room.
Notice the word healthy. We find that most people tend to over-care for their plants. In other words, they tend to give them too much water too frequently, feel the need to re-pot the plant when it is not looking well, over-fertilize it when it does not need it, or stick it outside where it is often baked by the sun. Due to the much lower available light inside (100-500 foot candles indoors vs. 8,000-10,000 foot candles outdoors), your plants are photosynthesizing at a much slower rate inside your home. The water requirements of interior plants are dramatically lower than exterior plants for these reasons. A Google search can give you many options of plants that work well inside; some favorites are Aglaonema, Spathiphyllum, Dracaena deremensis and Zamioculcas zamifolia.
So, convince your buyers and your office managers not to overlook the vital role plantscapes have in your success of enhancing the prospective buyers' and clients' experience aesthetically, emotionally and biologically. Plants Work!
Joshua Senneff, CLP, CLT, is Director of Operations for Plant Interscapes, a San Antonio-based interior horticulture firm servicing San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Houston and Corpus Christi.  For more information visit or or contact Josh at 888-284-2257, ext. 111 or

31-Jul-11 6:00 PM