Plants are everywhere nowadays. They’re in every coffee shop, window sill, boutique, and bookstore I go into. Friends of mine cover their tiny apartments in plotted plants and spend hours scouring nurseries on Saturday mornings for a new “child” (their word, not mine). They hang succulents from their ceilings and know the difference between a fiddle-leaf fig and a spider plant (I do not).
While I always admired plants and thought they added a nice decorative touch, I never understood the obsession. Why would I want to add another thing to my life I’d have to take care of? I can barely keep myself alive, so I really didn’t think a plant would stand a chance.
That is, of course, until I learned about all the health benefits associated with owning plants. We all know about the benefits of eating clean and regular exercise, but did you know owning a plant can be just good for us? Well, it’s true!
If you’re looking for easy ways to improve your mental and physical health this year, it’s time to officially become a plant parent once and for all.
Plants Are Like Pets, But Better
Taking care of anything that’s “alive” can feel like a big challenge, but there’s something rewarding about seeing something grow right before your very eyes. And, while it does require work to keep a plant alive, it is less stressful than owning a pet. It’s a lot less expensive, too. After all, plants don’t need to go to the vet, and plant food costs a lot less than pet food.
And can your dog or cat filter the air you breathe, scrubbing it of toxins and releasing oxygen? No, they cannot! If you live in a place that doesn’t allow pets, have dander allergies, or simply don’t want the responsibility of a pet, houseplants offer many of the same benefits–plus a few extra perks.
It’s Like Counter-Programming For Your Brain
We all spend the majority of our lives looking at screens. Whether we’re texting a friend, watching TV, working on a computer, or trying to navigate with GPS, screens dictate our lives.
While digital life has many incredible benefits, it’s also forced us to expect instant gratification. We want our food to be delivered in 15 minutes, shipping can’t take more than two days, and streaming services release all 10 episodes at once because they know we can’t wait.
Plants, however, offer us a different experience. According to author Alice Vincent, who wrote Rootbound: Rewilding a Life, gardening and tending to plants is relaxing and offers us a new experience.
“With gardening, nothing is instant. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing can be tapped on a phone,” she told the BBC. “It is a slow, physical and patience-testing activity – all of which I personally find hugely relaxing when the rest of my life is so rapidly paced.”
Step Aside, Meditation
Meditation has become very mainstream in recent years. With more and more people looking for ways to practice “self-care,” meditation apps and books have grown in popularity.
While there’s no denying the benefits of meditation, owning a plant can be just as beneficial as sitting still for 20 minutes a day. There’s something about taking time out of your day to tend for something, whether it’s five or 10 minutes, that can bring a lot of zen into your life. A deeper connection to nature carries its own benefits–and yes, the potted fern on your windowsill counts as “nature.”
Creativity Brings Joy
Another benefit of owning plants is it gives you the gift of creativity. It can be hard to find ways to be creative in our day-to-day lives, but having the freedom to pick which plants you want to put in your home is a fantastic outlet. Not to mention that consistently seeing a room full of color and life will improve your mood.
You can also choose colorful pots, baskets, and other containers, making your plants part of the overall aesthetic of your living space. Start small with plants that are easy for beginners. As your green thumb grows, you may find yourself at the farmer’s market or nursery every weekend, too!