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When in Crisis, Get a Plant

Aimee Kuiper, Creative Team Member

June 30, 2023

When work stress, family drama, and traffic nightmares follow you home, scientists and gardeners agree on one solution: get a houseplant. A wide variety of studies describe the effect green plants have in classrooms, hospitals, offices, and especially homes. Overall, the presence of two to five growing things in your living space will improve your well being. The effects are most profound in children and young adults, as well as any person experiencing low mental health.

There are two major reasons for this plant presciption’s potency in improving our happiness. First, the gentle responsibility of caring for a plant can provide purpose and routine to our schedules without becoming overwhelming. In essence, it is easier than a dog but happier than a rock. Secondly, our brains naturally associate houseplants with everything we like about the outdoors. Thanks to the connections your brain has already forged, the freedom of a hike, the smells of a garden, and the fresh air of a front porch can be summoned by the humble potted plant. In addition, two or more plants noticeably improve the air quality in your home and leave a pleasant aroma.

Despite these benefits, some people hesitate to take on the hobby. This post addresses a few common questions and offers guidance with plant selection; hopefully, it will inspire you to head to the nearest nursery!

image of a plant

What if I’m not good at raising plants? Some plants are hardier than others, so if you’ve killed greenery before, don’t let that stop you. A Jade Pothos runs on love and a little water, making it the perfect beginner’s choice. Set her up with a moderate amount of sun, a weekly watering schedule, and a daily affirmation, and she will thrive.

image of a plant

What if my apartment is too small? Don’t worry, small plants will boost your mood, too! The classic choice is a group of succulents, which you can place on a windowsill or any shelf within reach of the sun. They will be easy to raise, won’t overgrow, and will survive if you forget them for a few weeks. If you can, try hanging plants, too! Instead of using up your floor/table space, they will add beautiful, vertical decor to your layout.

image of a plant

What if I’m not at home all the time? One word: Cactus. Because cacti come in a huge range of shape, size, color, and prickliness, you can grow a fantastic garden with minimal face-to-face time. Depending on the species, your beautiful cactus will easily coast through a month unattended as you travel the world.

image of a plant

What if I’m on a budget? Don’t let the fancy garden websites fool you; it only takes a couple bucks to start your green emporium. Get your dirt from mother earth herself – most dark brown soils will support plants as long as you mix and dampen it first. Get plant clippings from your friends, buy seeds or smaller sprouts at the store, or (don’t tell anyone where you heard this) sneakily snip a clipping from large public plants*. For instant greenery, collect moss from your local forest and let it rest in a shallow dish of moist soil. These methods require patience, but yield the same amazing results in the end!

*Don’t grab anything from a conservatory or protected lands, or I will put you on my “frowny face” list.

image of a plant

What if I can’t have dirt in my home? Nearly all plants grow just as well hydroponically as they do in dirt. This works best with fresh clippings, but place any green friend in a glass jar full of clean water and watch it grow. Change the water every month for happiest results. If water is still too messy for you, look into getting air plants for your home. They are specifically designed to live indoors and will cooperate with fluorescent lights, no water, no dirt, and minimal care.

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