Updated: May 21
This week we’re looking at the power of plants in our lives and the many purposes they can serve not just for our well-being but also for our environment.
It seems that in recent years, houseplants have grown in popularity with sales reaching a new high. All over the web you can find various plant care “support groups” popping up to guide us through our plant-rearing journey. In fact some of the major social media influencers are coming from the houseplant community with pages like @urbanjungleblog showing us how to make the most of our cramped city spaces.
Why the rise in popularity?
1. THEY’RE CHEAPER THAN CHILDREN OR PETS!
In our increasingly expensive and individualistic world, it seems harder and harder for us to give up our career, social and personal needs to fulfill the biological call to procreate and many of us are substituting parenting with planting.
According to this article from the Independent; in our involuntary state of “suspended childhood,” millennial's are turning to plants as a cheaper, and let’s face it, less terrifying alternative to actual child rearing. And understandably so, as rent prices rise and our time for almost anything other than work quickly diminish, plants provide an affordable and undemanding hobby that serves as a short and sweet escape from the demands of everyday life.
By the way, no matter what anyone says; Plants.Do.Have.Souls. Well, they respond to their environment as any other living thing and therefore encourage us to get in touch with our most nurturing, most responsible selves.
Of course to suggest that planting is the new parenting is an exaggeration as it’s unlikely that anyone would seriously compare raising a plant to raising a child. But nevertheless it has to be noted that plants do provide an outlet to nurture a living thing in an increasingly isolated and detached world.
A beautiful Golden Pothos from Ikea will take you back literally £2.50
2. THEY’RE GOOD FOR YOUR ENVIRONMENT!
Plants are not only much quieter and cheaper than a human child, they offer us and our environment many benefits that may go a long way towards explaining their popularity.
Plants help to purify the air around them by producing oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide levels; reducing levels of certain pollutants and reducing airborne dust levels.
3. THEY’RE GOOD FOR YOU!
Plants have been shown by several studies to increase alertness, creativity and concentration levels with participants performing at much higher rates when plants were present.
This could be in part explained by a hypothesis known as Biophilia which claims that humans have an innate desire to be close to nature and other life forms. This means that when we look at or tend to plants, our connection to our natural environment is slowly mended leading to significant boosts in mood levels, stress reduction, and can even relieve aches and pains.
We gravitate towards animals and nature for a reason.
They’re also a surprisingly captivating and relaxing hobby, one for which you rarely need to actually leave the house. It should also be mentioned that tending to our plants might be one of the last few hobbies for which a wifi connection isn’t required; offering even the most avid blogger or Netflix addict a chance to escape the traps of the screen.
4. THEY’RE NICE TO LOOK AT.
Perhaps their most appealing quality is that plants are beautiful and brighten up even the dullest spaces. From offices to bedrooms, plants are being utilised to bring natural beauty to an increasingly artificial world. Human beings have developed for the majority of our time on earth in and alongside nature and as a result we still crave that connection. There is a universal appreciation of nature that’s visible in our most popular paintings, poetry and film; even our favourite artificial fragrances are plant-based.
This is the suggested result of the aforementioned Biophilia Hypothesis and it’s being utilised by many interior designers and influencers to bring plants back into our lives.
So, whether it’s escaping the daily grind with some plant therapy, feeding a need to nurture something outside of ourselves or perhaps it's our growing awareness of the climate crisis that's encouraging us to play our own micro-level role in nurturing our planet; whatever the reason, plants are in and you should get one! Or 100, like me!
I propose that you invite a plant or two into your life. An affordable hobby that looks great without damaging your bank balance or the planet, it’s easy to see why Peace Lillies are the new Roses.