HomeVOLUME 8November 2023 Biophilia: Indigenous and indoor plants

SRAVAN BANDA is an architect with a strong awareness of Nature and its role in building. He shares some thoughts on the importance of indigenous plants and local biodiversity in creating designs and environments, and the benefits of indoor plants.

The Importance of Embracing Local Biodiversity

There has been a growing trend toward biophilic design in architecture and interior design. The innate human connection to nature has numerous health and wellness benefits, including stress reduction, increased productivity, and improved well-being. The incorporation of plants is key to biophilia, but not all plants are created equal. Incorporating indigenous plants can have even greater benefits than simply adding any old plant to a space.

Indigenous plants are those that are native to a particular region or ecosystem. They have evolved to thrive in their specific environment, and are better adapted to the local temperature, rainfall, and soil quality. By incorporating these plants, we create a stronger connection to the local environment and biodiversity.

One of the key benefits of using indigenous plants is that they require less maintenance and resources, because they are already adapted to the local environment. This not only reduces the environmental impact of the design, but also makes it more cost-effective.

Another benefit is that they provide habitat and food for local wildlife, creating a more balanced ecosystem that supports a diverse range of species. This is particularly important in urban areas, where development has often led to the loss of natural habitats.

In addition to these ecological benefits, there is the cultural and educational value. By showcasing local plant species, we celebrate the unique biodiversity of a region and create a deeper connection to the local culture and history. This provides educational opportunities for visitors and residents to learn more about the local environment and the importance of preserving it.

Finally, using indigenous plants preserves these species for future generations. By showcasing their value in design, we create greater awareness and appreciation for the plants and the ecosystems they support. This can lead to increased conservation efforts and a more sustainable future.

The Role of Indigenous Plants in Health and Wellness

Indigenous plants have been gaining popularity, as people are realizing the importance of preserving local ecosystems and biodiversity. But beyond their ecological significance, these plants also offer numerous benefits for human health and wellness.

Using indigenous plants in biophilic design can help create a sense of place and identity. Designers can create a unique and authentic atmosphere that reflects the local culture and traditions. This, in turn, contributes to a sense of community and belonging, and fosters a deeper connection to the environment.

When it comes to selecting species, it is important to consider their functional and aesthetic qualities. Some plants are better suited to indoor environments, while others require more sunlight or humidity. Additionally, designers create different sensory experiences by selecting species with different textures, colors, and fragrances.

The visual connection with nature brings
tranquility, providing a much-needed
respite from the demands of daily life.
Indoor plants also reduce anxiety, boost mood,
and enhance cognitive function.
Their presence in indoor spaces can
improve focus, creativity, and productivity.


Indoor Plants 

In our increasingly urbanized world, the need to connect with nature is more important than ever. One powerful way is through the presence of indoor plants. They not only add beauty but also enhance well-being, by creating healthier and more harmonious indoor environments in the following ways:

  • Air quality and purification 

    Indoor plants remove toxins, improving air quality. Through photosynthesis, plants increase the oxygen levels in indoor spaces. Additionally, certain plants have the ability to remove harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde and benzene. This leads to fresher, cleaner air, reducing the risk of respiratory issues and improving overall health.
  • Stress reduction and mental well-being

    Plants have a calming effect on our minds and bodies. Studies have shown that they significantly reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, and promote relaxation. The visual connection with nature brings tranquility, providing a much-needed respite from the demands of daily life. Indoor plants also reduce anxiety, boost mood, and enhance cognitive function. Their presence in indoor spaces can improve focus, creativity, and productivity.
  • Beauty

    Biophilic spaces mimic natural environments, creating a sense of connection and harmony. Indoor plants add visual appeal, texture, and color, transforming sterile environments into vibrant and inviting spaces. By bringing nature indoors, we create an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere that uplifts the spirits.
  • Noise reduction and enhanced acoustics

    Indoor plants contribute to noise reduction and improved acoustics. Certain plants have the ability to absorb and diffuse sound, reduce background noise, and create a more peaceful environment. This is useful in open-plan offices and busy indoor settings where noise is distracting. Placing plants strategically creates quieter and more focused spaces that support concentration and productivity.
  • Increased productivity

    Numerous studies have highlighted the positive impact of indoor plants on workplace productivity and employee well-being, increased job satisfaction, reduced stress, and enhanced overall employee morale, leading to higher levels of engagement and improved job performance. Indoor plants also mitigate the negative effects of artificial lighting and create a more natural and balanced ambiance.
  • Humidity regulation 

    Plants release moisture through transpiration, regulating humidity in indoor spaces. Optimal humidity levels can improve respiratory health, reduce dryness of the skin and mucous membranes, and alleviate dry throat and congestion.
  • Connection with nature 

    Indoor plants provide a connection to the natural world, even in urban environments. This connection has a positive psychological impact, promoting a sense of harmony, grounding, and overall well-being. Being surrounded by plants can help us feel more connected, balanced, and in tune with our environment.
  • Increased oxygen levels 

    Indoor plants release oxygen, improving the oxygen levels in indoor spaces. This can have a positive impact on our overall well-being, increasing alertness, concentration, and productivity.

Indoor plants provide a connection to the
natural world, even in urban environments.
This connection has a positive psychological impact,
promoting a sense of harmony, grounding,
and overall well-being. 


Here are some popular indoor plants that enhance well-being:

Snake Plant (Sansevieria)

Air purifier, removing toxins like formaldehyde and benzene from the air. Low maintenance, requiring minimal sunlight and watering. Releases oxygen at night, making it ideal for bedrooms, improving sleep quality.



Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

Adds beauty with elegant white flowers and purifies the air by removing common indoor pollutants. Thrives in moderate light conditions and prefers slightly moist soil.


Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)

Features feathery arching fronds that add a tropical touch to any space. Areca palms are effective air purifiers, removing toxins and increasing humidity levels. They thrive in bright, indirect light.


 Money Plant (Epipremnum aureum)

Cleans the air and is thought to bring good luck. Has heart-shaped leaves and can be grown in water or soil. Easy to care for, versatile, and thrives in various light conditions.


Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

Has lush feathery foliage and the ability to improve indoor air quality. Thrives in humid conditions and prefers indirect light. Increases humidity levels, making it beneficial in dry indoor environments.


Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

Versatile indoor plant with multiple benefits. The gel can be used for soothing burns and skin conditions, and the juice for digestive health. This succulent plant prefers bright, indirect light and well-drained soil.


Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Popular for its long arching leaves and ease of care. Removes pollutants like formaldehyde and xylene. Thrives in bright, indirect light and can adapt to various indoor environments.



Indian Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)

Tulsi is considered sacred in Indian culture. It has medicinal properties and is believed to bring positive energy to the surroundings. Requires bright light and regular watering.


Indoor plants create healthier, calmer, and aesthetically pleasing environments that align with our innate connection to nature, leading to a more harmonious and fulfilling indoor living experience and nurturing mind, body, and spirit.



Sravan Banda

Sravan Banda

Sravan’s expertise is constructed wetlands and wastewater challenges. He is an accredited Green Building Professional through IGBC, and a member of the Society of Wetland Scientists, USA. His interest extends to Indian Traditional Medici... Read More