The Delights of Houseplants: Why they are more than just beautiful

Houseplants are something that have always existed in my life. When I was young my parents had (and still do to this day) a tree in their home. It has always had deep green leaves creating a canopy which never fails to take over an entire corner of a room. This tree is 25 years old now and still going strong. While not many of our plants have had such longevity, we did always have several green babies in our home, and this is something I continue to this day. It’s something that seems to be growing in popularity and it is not hard to imagine why. There are so many benefits to housing and caring for plants, and their appearance is just a lovely bonus. Some of these benefits are explored below.

They teach us Patience & Resilience

Caring for plants is not always as simple as watering them, sometimes they need a little extra love and support to do well, and this can take time. If you started a plant from a seed the need for patience is even greater, but the slow process of watching the plant reach maturity is a worthwhile endeavor.

In following a YouTube channel titled Pick Up Limes, I was introduced to the idea of practicing patience to help you in cope better in times of stress, and growing plants is a simple way of increasing your capacity for patience that can carry through to other areas of your life (like those long grocery lines, the always enjoyable rush hour traffic, and life plans in general). Houseplants don’t require as much work as an outdoor flower bed, but there is still patience to be gained from these contained entities. The process of watching them cycle through seasons and even go through times of lowered health is an incredible show of resilience, and I think we all can learn a little lesson from watching a simple being simply exist.

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

They are a Source of Accomplishment

To successfully care for a vulnerable life to the point where your plants are not just surviving but are thriving under your care is a wonderful feeling. It often requires a bit of research and getting your hands dirty, but the payoff is worth every little pain. In a world that’s busy and taxing, sometimes it’s nice to come home to see your lovingly cared for plant and think to yourself ‘you’re still green I must be doing something right’.

They can Supplement your Grocery List

They may not make a huge dent in your grocery bill, but there are some edible plants that can do well indoors. Herbs are a great house plant and are wonderful freshly added to meals—not to mention the lovely aroma they can add to a space. It is also possible to take the tail ends of your veggies and get them growing again. Green onions, celery and romaine are a few that do well with a bit of water and soil, and of course add wonderful greenery and nutrition to your plate. An added bonus of growing your own food is it is also an eco-friendly practice, since the food is literally at the ready on your counter rather than traveling from the farm, to the store and then to your home.

They are good for your Well-Being

There are of course the benefits plants provide to the quality of air in a home, but the benefits go beyond just that. In the world of design natural elements are referred to as ‘biophilic elements’, a Metropolis article S. Kellert explains that many studies show that there are many positive outcomes to including these in indoor environments. While houseplants are a minimal element in the built world, I personally feel they represent a step in the right direction to healthy living environments. In addition to this taking the time to water them, fertilize them and ensure they are getting adequate light is a time of mindfulness, as ensuring the plant has these needs met involves being present in the moment (even if it is a short minute or so).

All in all, having plants in your home is a positive thing, and with a little patience, research, and luck the plants in your life can be thriving and the you’ll reap the benefits every step of the way.

For more about plants I recommend checking out:

Lovely Greens’ blog: Lovely Greens: Garden Living & Making

Pick Up Lime’s article: Houseplant Tips for Beginners

For more about Biophilic Design checkout:

Amanda Sturgeon’s TEDMed talk: Using biophilic design to heal body, mind, and soul

Stephen R. Kellerts article: What Is and Is Not Biophilic Design?

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