New Year Greenspiration

So, you made it through 2020 – a huge accomplishment, considering the crazy year it was!

Now you’re determined to make 2021 better, and what better way to start on a path to an easier, happier, more beautiful life than considering adding house plants to the home, office, or home office? While it wasn’t that long ago that we used to think plants were for the outdoors and our gardens, indoor plants have quickly changed this perspective over the past few decades.

From the mental and physical health benefits, to the beauty it adds to our shelves and windowsills, plants are here to make our space look good and us feel great.

If you don’t want a plant just to have one, you can also bring some of your garden in with mini herb gardens and dwarf varieties of fruits and vegetables. Whatever you’re looking for, here are our favorite reasons to be inspired by plants this New Year.

Plants add decoration to your home.

It’s easy these days to care more for the appearance and aesthetic of your home than in years before because of the rise and popularity of social media. With everyone posting photos of their perfectly decorated bedroom or dining space, it’s easy to get caught up wondering about your style. If you were once like me, wondering how to decorate your space, why not start with plants?

There’s very little that plants don’t go with and the beauty of a happy, healthy plant isn’t something even the most beautiful painting can compete with. With the rise of popularity (and availability, thank goodness) of rare plants, there is a plant out there for everyone now.

You can grow small trees like the Ficus lyrata, a beautiful vining plant like the Marble Queen Pothos, or even cultivate your own mini dessert through the addition of cacti and succulents. Dark greens, deep burgundies, blush pinks, and light blues are a few of the colors you can find in plant varieties – if you’re lucky, you can find something that is variegated, meaning its base color has splashes of lighter greens, yellows, and even white.

The options are endless, especially when your house plants start to grow right along with your through life.

 

Your favorite house plants are keeping your air clean.

In 1989, the NASA conducted research in what is commonly called the Clean Air Study, or Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement. In this study, a team of researchers got together to test if plants could purify the air on the International Space Station and if so, how well. Dozens of plants were tested in this study, including Sansevieria, English Ivy, a Ficus benjamina, and a few members from the Dracaena genus.

Contaminants like trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde are naturally produced by humans, animals, and the machinery we use in our homes, but participators in the study hypothesized that common house plants could reduce the presence of such contaminants.

The plants were placed in enclosed cases and exposed to high levels of air pollutants that are commonly found in and around homes and offices and their leaves, soil, and root systems were sampled and tested to see how the plant was doing. Many of the scientists were surprised to find that not only were the harmful contaminants being absorbed by all of the plants involved, but the process of doing so actually allowed the plant to extract useful properties from the pollutants that they turned into food for their roots that contributed to their growth.

While the results of this research still ring true and promising for our daily lives, it is important to note that each plant was given 100 square feet worth air to purify; so, to begin to see similar effects in your home or office, you will want a lot of plants – but that’s honestly good news in our opinion!

Reducing the contaminants listed in the NASA study can help reduce your risk for leukemia, certain kinds of cancer, and sinus problems.

Can any of the other décor items in your home say they can do the same?

Caring for house plants is good for your mental health.

Over the past decade, it is becoming more well known that plants are wonderful for encouraging positive mental health, both in the short and long term. There are even reports of doctors “prescribing” plants as an alternative way to coping with some levels of anxiety, loneliness, and depression! Seeing as the majority of us will experience some sort of mental health issues at one point or another in our lives, keeping plants has become a great way to remind us to look on the bright side.

Caring for a plant (or an entire forest of plants – we’re not judging) is, unsurprisingly, helpful in reducing stress, bringing a sense of calm and relaxation, and giving you a feeling of purpose. The Journal of Physiological Anthropology gave twenty-four young males the task of repotting an indoor plant and compared their feelings during and after that act to doing mental computer work; they found that just this one, simple process promoted comfortable, soothing feelings and even lowered blood pressure. The health benefits seem to be almost endless the more research that’s done.

Becoming a plant parent and dedicated yourself to tending for a Begonia, Fiddle Leaf Fig, or whatever you like to have around can also help you stay present and remember to take care of yourself. When you are watering your plants, checking their leaves, or repotting them, you are focusing on being in the moment and can experience a kind of Zen-like state. You’re no longer in your heading, thinking about work or family or other stressors, you’re just thinking about how to make your plants happy. This can easily translate in remembering to care for yourself, too! When you are trimming away dead leaves, take a minute to think about if there is anything no longer serving you that you can trim out of your life. Next time you are watering a plant, think to yourself “when was the last time I gave myself some water?”

REFERENCES

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19930073077

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4419447/