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Perks of office plants

May 26, 2008|Melissa Healy | Times Staff Writer
  • MOOD BOOST: Workers who display plants and foliage are generally happier.
MOOD BOOST: Workers who display plants and foliage are generally happier. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

Office plants may be a way to stem worker discontent.

In an article published in a recent issue of Horticultural Science, researchers at Texas State University in San Marcos found that workers who had at least one plant in their offices rated themselves as happier in their work and more satisfied with life in general than those without a plant. Those working alongside greenery were happier even than workers who had a window but no greenery.

Happiest of all were those with windows and greenery. But remarkably, even these lucky few were not significantly more content in their work than the windowless who enjoyed the company of plants.

The findings, which controlled for factors such as income, education level and job position, come from an Internet-based survey of 450 office workers in Texas, Kansas and Missouri. They follow research that suggests that indoor plants help purify the air, provide a calming visual cue for the troubled and create a link to humans' evolutionary past.

"It is more important to have a plant than a window," says Tina Marie Waliczek Cade, author of the study and the happy steward of a variegated philodendron and an ivy geranium in her office at Texas State University's Agriculture Department. "It was pleasantly surprising for a horticulturist."

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melissa.healy@latimes.com

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