Benefits of plants: Life as we know it, live it and pay for it

Have you promoted the benefits of plants at your greenhouse business lately? Consider promoting how plants benefit our planet, lives and wallet.

Greenhouse retailers often do not communicate to consumers about the benefits plants provide. Michigan State University Extension encourages floriculture retailers to consider marketing the benefits of plants explained in this article as one way to potentially increase sales. Gardeners, too, will appreciate these benefits as explained below.

Life as we know it

The ultimate benefit of plants is the air we breathe. Our ancient Earth likely contained very little free oxygen, but scientists estimate that about 2.5 billion years ago the evolution of photosynthesis, whose byproduct was oxygen, was the ultimate cause of the rise of oxygen levels in our atmosphere. Modern levels of oxygen in the atmosphere allow us to breathe easy, thanks to photosynthesis.

Today, the levels of oxygen in our atmosphere are not much of a concern, but the rapid rise of carbon dioxide is. However, another benefit of photosynthesis is the absorption of carbon dioxide from the air which ultimately transforms into carbon (organic matter) stored in plant tissues. If the carbon is stored long-term, such as in trunks of long-lived trees, this process is called “carbon sequestration.” Many scientists are looking at ways to use plants to sequester carbon in order to mitigate or defer global warming.


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