Planting power

WITH high rise city living removing us even further from nature, ECU researcher Danica-Lea Larcombe is looking at whether indoor plants can bridge the void and improve the health of apartments dwellers.

The classic Australian dream of buying a quarter acre is changing with the number of people in high rise apartments doubling over the last 20 years.

Ms Larcombe says that green space in Vincent is dwindling.

“I saw all these older houses with their gardens being demolished and they were being replaced with high rise apartments, but they didn’t have any greenery,” she says.

• Danica-Lea Larcombe. Photo by Steve Grant

• Danica-Lea Larcombe. Photo by Steve Grant

Natural world

She is trying to find out if having indoor plants in apartments can offset the decreasing contact with the natural world by looking at “human skin microbiota” (bacteria).

“You get given real or fake plants in exchange for looking after them for one year, doing some surveys, giving a snip of hair and swabbing your skin,” she says.

There’ll also be a control group with no indoor plants for the duration of the study.

Throughout, people will be given tests to see how stressed they are, work out what microbiota are present, and see if any correlations emerge.

She’s currently looking for people in Cockburn, Vincent, Northbridge and Perth who are living plant-free in an apartment above the third floor.

If you fit the bill, email


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