Inspired living

A Q&A with Plant Life Balance Ambassador Jamie Durie

plant life balance

What is the initial vision for Plant Life Balance?

Research has found that within our homes, there’s a range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) hanging around in our carpets, paint and furniture that’s adding to bad health effects like restless sleep, poor productivity, depression, bad moods and increased allergies. Concentrations of many VOCs are up to 10 times higher indoors than they are outdoors, and with Aussie urbanites spending 90 per cent of their time indoors, alarm bells should be ringing. But there is a solution … the humble pot plant. Plant Life Balance is a new campaign that’s designed to get Australians excited and confident about styling their homes with plants, while promoting the health and wellbeing benefits they bring.

What is a healthy plant life balance?

Plant life balance will vary for everyone, but to improve air quality, just one medium-sized plant in a 5m x 4m room increases air quality up to 25 per cent. And when it comes to improving wellbeing, five or more plants leads to feeling healthier and happier (direct benefits include improved mood and concentration and indirect benefits like productivity).

How do we achieve a better plant life balance?

By choosing different-sized plants and species (spiky, smooth and complex) and including five or more plants in a room, you’re going to start to feel the benefits plants can bring. Just remember — keep them healthy because happy plants make happy people.

What are some of the health benefits to having a better plant life balance?

When we connect people with plants, we quickly start to restore their health and mental wellbeing. We also know that by bringing nature indoors, where we spend a lot of time, it can have a great impact on our physiology and psychology, not to mention the benefits to the health of our planet.

What are some of the economic and environmental benefits?

Plants make any space beautiful and beauty attracts people. If you have a business, such as a retail shop, you can immediately enhance store appeal and draw customers in by having plants in that space. In offices plants purify the air, keep the environment healthy and help workers destress, thereby increasing productivity and work enjoyment, which affects a company’s bottom line.

Plants help create a positive aesthetic environment that acts as a magnet to attract customers to businesses. Plants help boost occupancy rates of apartments and municipal and business buildings because people prefer living and working in those areas that have lovely landscaped spaces close by. Not only are you increasing the amount of green life in the cities, helping them stay cool, but air quality is improved, habitat for birds, bees and butterflies is created, and we are connected to nature, which is imperative for a healthy disposition. Beauty is also created, enhancing health and wellbeing, whenever plant life is present and that only has benefits. There is no down side to this.

Tell us about the Plant Life Balance app.

The app allows users to rate their own indoor or outdoor space. Users are asked to confirm the size of their space and then select the number and size of plants currently in that space. The app then draws upon collated scientific studies to produce a rating on how good the air quality and wellbeing levels are. If your plant life balance is a little lacking, users are prompted to improve their rating by adding more plants.

Through augmented reality, users can take a photo of their space and have the ability to place, position and play around with different plants to create their own look. It gives users the unique experience to ‘try before you buy’ and see the benefits of adding plants in real time. When you’re ready to buy, the app creates a tangible shopping list of real plants, making it easy to purchase.

Plant Life Balance

How do our readers get involved?

Download the free app to rate your plant life balance or find it on our website.

What are your top three plants for office spaces?

Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, Ponytail Palm and Rubber Plant.

What are your top three tips for greening our lifestyles?

  1. Grow your own vegies, even if it’s only some rocket and cherry tomatoes to make a salad or herbs to add to your Sunday roast or Friday night cocktail. It’s one of the most satisfying things you can do. Even if you only have a small balcony or courtyard, you can still grow some edibles that you enjoy eating.
  2. Turn your bathroom at home into a spa sanctuary by adding the healing force of plant life. Plants in the bathroom create a healthy and tranquil environment that helps you de-stress and feel rejuvenated. If you have any lemon verbena, rosemary, lavender or spearmint plants, you can add their leaves and flowers to a hot path for some instant aromatherapy.
  3. Use plants as a natural air freshener for your Home. Grow small containers of plants that produce blooms with a beautiful perfume, such as gardenias or jasmine, and when you get home from a hard day’s work, bring these plants indoors and let their heady scent fill the air. It will lift your spirits and help you unwind.


Kate Duncan

Kate Duncan is the Editor of WellBeing and WILD. She loves surfing, creating raw desserts, flowing through nourishing yoga sequences and spending time with her new pooch, Maribou.