Friday, September 3, 2010

Do You Keep Plants in Your Classroom?

Recently, one of my favorite bloggers, Larry Ferlazzo, posed a question about keeping a bit of greenery in your classroom. According to his recent post:

Over the years, I’ve made a few feeble attempts at keeping plants in my classroom. Students seemed to like it, but the few times I had them I took them out at the end of the year and just forgot to bring them back.

An article I just read about, though, is making me wonder if I should make having them more of a priority, and I’d be interested in hearing feedback.

Jonah Lehrer writes in The Psychology of Nature about some studies on the effect of nature on increasing attention and working memory. In fact, one study showed a positive effect on just looking at a nature picture. He suggests that “it’s a good idea to build a little greenery into our life.”

I’m going to make a more serious attempt at bringing “a little greenery” into my classroom this year.

Do you have plants in your classroom? If so, why? If not, why not? If you have plants, do you believe it has an effect on students?
This got me thinking. I enjoy having plants in my own home, but are there really benefits to keeping them in the classroom? thinks that:

Caring for live plants can give your classroom a warm, comforting feel. It can also help teach students responsibility – and science! Local nurseries or greenhouses may even be willing to donate the plants to your class.

Similarly, according to an article by, having a bit of plantlife in your classroom seems to have a variety of positive effects:

“Over the last 10 to 15 years a lot of research has shown that indoor plants not only beautify indoor spaces, they also make them a healthier and more productive place to live in. The results of Dr. B.C. Wolverton's research on air purifying benefits of indoor plants, sponsored by NASA and the Landscape Contractors of America, have been widely reported in both print and broadcast media. Wolverton has shown that plants such as the Bamboo Palm and Madonna Lillies can reduce the level of airborne toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene….Virginia Lohr has conducted test which show that plants can improve the humidity inside buildings by up to 20 percent. A lot of work has also been done by researchers such as Ulrich and Simons to show that people feel better about an indoor space with greenery than they do about one without. People were shown to be more relaxed, which can improve productivity, reduce stress, and reduce blood pressure.”
What do you think? Do plants in the classroom have a positive effect on you or your students? For more ideas regarding plants in your classroom, visit's Teacher Page.

Image courtesy of

1 comment:

Healigan said...

I teach in a windowless room on the third floor of a 1300-student building. I swore when I left industry that I would never be a cubicle prisoner again, but here I am, doing a job I love in a room that makes my skin crawl. So two years ago, I added African violets to the mix,and it helps. I believe it recirculates the stale air to a degree, and the kids watch for the blooms. The room is definitely more inviting. Since they are African violets, I bought myself a tiny light table for them and the soft glow makes me feel happier too. When we watch a video or I am projecting the net in the dark, that light grounds me. Don't know why. It's a mystery--or magic. I have only had two days so far, and someone has already asked where the violets are, but I do not bring them in until the weather is OK for them to travel. Soon, I tell them.