Max Out Your Plant Life Balance

Words by
Georgina Reid
Images by
Daniel Shipp
| November 1, 2017

‘Go on, go wild with plants’ is a regular phrase emerging from my mouth. It’s muttered sadly as I walk past a plant-less concrete covered front yard, shouted with glee at workshops and murmured encouragingly to myself as I wonder whether I can fit another bit of green into my living room.

Humans have an innate connection to nature. I think we all can recognise this. This connection is increasingly being explored and confirmed by scientific research, with a bunch of studies over the years pointing towards the same conclusion –  plants make people feel good.

Plant Life Balance, a new campaign encouraging people to go nuts with plants, indoors and out, takes things one step further by bringing together the last half century’s worth of research into the relationship between plants and human wellbeing and distilling it into an accessible guide to living happier and healthier with plants. It takes the form of a virtual reality app helping users to rate their existing space and style it with additional plants, showing the health benefits of life amongst leaves.

Desert Dreams: A succulent mix of cactus and tough sculptural plants .
Desert Dreams: A succulent mix of cactus and tough sculptural plants .

The Science
Thanks to Plant Life Balance, my ‘go wild with plants’ statement is now scientifically proven. Researchers from RMIT University and the University of Melbourne found that not only does the quantity of plants impact on wellbeing, so does the diversity of size and species.

“Plants, both indoors and out, can benefit our wellbeing as they have the ability to both relax and energise us. Being relaxed, your mood improves, you can concentrate longer and you are more productive”, says Dominique Hes, Director of the Thrive Research Hub at the University of Melbourne and part of the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub.

“Different theories explain that this effect is reminiscent of our long history in close relationships with nature: we have an innate connection with it. Our brain evolved surrounded by natural environments and seeing these patterns and colour reminds our brain of that connection. Therefore, being able to see plants or be surrounded by them can be an effective mechanism for dealing with stress.”

Then there’s the air cleaning. “Indoor plants improve air quality by filtering out particulate matter, or air pollution, and other airborne toxins caused by organic chemicals in things like paints and furniture finishes,” says Dominique.

After collating around 100 studies and putting together a massive research paper, Dominique and her team distilled the information down to a simple rule of thumb to help people improve their plant life balance. This is how it goes:

AIR QUALITY: Adding just one medium sized plant to a medium sized room increases air quality up to 25%. If you add five, air quality increases up to 75%.

WELLBEING: Adding five or more plants of different types and sizes to a medium sized room leads to increased mental wellbeing. Direct benefits include improved mood and concentration and indirect benefits include productivity.

Neat, eh?

Sharehouse Heros: an eclectic and feisty collection of plants.
Sharehouse Heros: an eclectic and feisty collection of plants.

The Style
Science is great, but it’s greater when combined with beauty. This is where TPH comes into the picture. We were approached by Horticulture Australia Ltd., the masterminds behind Plant Life Balance, to shoot and style a series of seven looks to inspire the greyest of thumbs to turn florescent green. The looks range from a tough-as-nails share-house mix to formal, jungle, desert, edible and native vibes, and more. We loved the opportunity to work on a campaign so strongly aligned with our own ethos of encouraging everyone, everywhere, to FALL IN LOVE WITH PLANTS.

The App
Science + Plants + Style = the Plant Life Balance App, Australia’s first virtual reality greening app. Take a pic of your living room/courtyard/bathroom/workplace, drag and drop some plants into it, either from one of the seven styles or freestyle, and see how your potential plant life balance shapes up. Once you’re done, you’ll be able to download your plant shopping list and begin creating your jungle.

You can also use the app to rate your existing space. I tried it with my living room. The result? Plant Life Balance to the max. Thankfully there’s no such thing as a plant overdose.

People, you know what to do next. Go wild with plants. You’ll be happier and healthier as a result, it’s a fact.

Find out more about Plant Life Balance / Download the app / Follow on Facebook + Instagram

Biggest thanks to the very wonderful folk who helped us create these gorgeous images. In particular, stylist Alicia Sciberras, Garden Life and Alpine Nurseries.

Formal Luxe: Neat well behaved plants for those with formal desires.
Formal Luxe: Neat well behaved plants for those with formal desires.
Fantastic Feasts: Stylish and delicious all at the same time!
Fantastic Feasts: Stylish and delicious all at the same time!
Fantastic Feasts: A selection of textural, flowery and human-friendly goodies.
Fantastic Feasts: A selection of textural, flowery and human-friendly goodies.
Birds and Bees: A wild mix of Australian native plants to help attract local flying folk to your yard.
Birds and Bees: A wild mix of Australian native plants to help attract local flying folk to your yard.

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