In your opinion, how can plants add some joy to our lives or homes right now?
TS: Not only do indoor plants enhance the overall appearance of a space, but studies have shown that plants can boost your mood, reduce your stress levels, increase creativity and productivity, and even eliminate air pollutants (but you’ll need a lot of plants in a very small space to make a big impact). In studies comparing situations with plants to situations without them, “with” had the most positive outcome (The Relative Benefits of Green Versus Lean Office Space, 2014).
While sheltering in place currently, my houseplants definitely brighten my mood. I enjoy taking a break from my computer screen and checking in on them, seeing if there’s any new growth as we head into the growing season (spring through summer). They provide a much-needed break from technology, and a reconnection with nature.
How can having plants contribute to living a more sustainable lifestyle?
TS: There’s a couple different ways to think about that, but I have two I thought I’d share:
First – plants are something you grow with. They can last a very long time, across generations even. And that same plant changes, often. It has new growth, sometimes it has blooms, it gets bigger. So plants aren’t something that you have to continually replace – although we’ve all been there during that “learning to care for them phase,” when you might find yourself needing to replace them for another one often, ha! But for the most part, you can enjoy the same plant for many, many years to come. And generally, you aren’t creating much waste with this hobby. If you can, splurge for pots that will last. They might be more expensive than plastic ones, but you’ll find that you won’t toss them, and instead will continue to reuse them through the years. Or upcycle a ceramic container; I have so many small succulents growing in what were fancy candle containers right now.
Second – if you buy cut flowers on a weekly basis, a blooming plant could be a great alternative to that habit. I love fresh flowers, and supporting our gardeners is important, but I’ve cut down on buying them on a weekly basis by adding blooming plants like calla lilies, orchids, and anthuriums to my houseplant collection instead. Although I usually have to wait a full year for my orchids to rebloom, the anthurium produces “flowers” regularly throughout the year! How? They aren’t actual flowers but modified waxy leaves. You can even snip them at the base, and pop them into a vase with water if you want some “fresh flowers” in another room of your home. We’re actually into flowering plants so much so right now, as a way to spread some color and cheer during this tough time, that we’ve based our entire ( Mother’s Day Collection around them.
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