instituteImagine being an astronaut assigned to the International Space Station. What are you going to miss back home? Well, probably a lot of things, but in 1989, scientists from NASA who were preparing for the future space station discovered that having a little bit of nature would make astronauts both happier and healthier.

Now a local florist and a local institute have teamed up to use NASA’s science to help people breathe a little easier indoors.

Nanz & Kraft Florists has partnered with the Institute for Heathy Air, Water and Soil on the Healthy Plant Collection, which features artfully arranged houseplants that have the ability to cleanse indoor air and eliminate toxins, the partners say. Plants range in price from $40 to $125. For each plant sold, the florist will contribute $10 to the institute.

The plants, which will be updated seasonally, are listed in three categories: hospital, office and home and kitchen. Each category has three different plants in several sizes to choose from, which are tailored toward the kind of toxins most likely to be present in each of those rooms. For example, plants selected for hospital rooms metabolize ammonia, which is present in the cleaning products used throughout the day to keep a room sterile.

Examples from the Healthy Plant Collection on the Nanz & Kraft website

Examples from the Healthy Plant Collection on the Nanz & Kraft website

Studies show that people in a hospital who can see greenery experience less pain and recover at a faster rate, according to Lauren Anderson, program manager for the institute. But certain plants are “super workers,” she said.

“They reduce stress and give you more energy,” said Eddie Kraft, president at Nanz & Kraft Florist. He said that after his brother, a co-owner of the florist, read the NASA report, he took 10 houseplants home.

According to Anderson, the foliage on the selected plants have tiny hairs on them. These hairs capture airborne microorganisms. When you water the plants, you flush those microorganisms from the foliage and into the pot in which the soil and the plant’s root systems can metabolize the toxins.

It takes only an eight-inch plant to clean the air of a 100-square-foot room, according to the study. So a couple of plants will go a long way to clean the air of your work office or kitchen.

The Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil, which was founded by Christy Brown, has undertaken projects like the Green for Good program, which has planted trees and other greenery at the St. Mary Margaret School to clean the air of the exhaust from Frankfort Road and also insulate the school from the traffic noise pollution. So far, all of its air programs have focused on the outdoor environment.

“Indoors is the next frontier of air quality,” said Ted Smith, CEO of Revon Systems, and board member at the institute. 

Plants can be delivered all over the country. In the Louisville area, they’ll be delivered by Nanz & Kraft’s dedicated fleet of vans.

“Give the gift of health,” Kraft said. “Houseplants are back in vogue.”