5 Ways House Plants Can Make You Feel Good

variety of small house plants on a stand

Deciding to Become a Plant Mom Again

Plants have somehow shown up at various stages of my life. As a kid, I remember my mom had a three-tier glass stand that housed different plants. As a student, one of the lawyers in the office I worked at propagated her Pothos plant and gave me a stem that I kept in a water bottle then repotted. I had that plant and would go on to own my own three-tiered plant for many years. But as I changed jobs and apartments, I ended up re-homing my plants with my mom and aunties. 

The last time I owned houseplants was about eight years ago. Sadly, the two plants grew into small trees that threatened to touch the ceiling and take over my small apartment. I ended up re-homing them and hadn’t considered getting new ones until the pandemic hit. 

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve spent about a million hours at home since the pandemic. Ok, so it may not be a million hours but it’s definitely in the thousands. It’s not surprising that home improvement sales surged in the past year with all of us forced to use our spaces to the fullest. We’ve had to stay put long enough to actually start asking ourselves, whether we felt good in the space we were now forced to occupy every waking hour of our lives? It was these questions that led to my decision to become a plant mom again. 

There I was forced to stop and look around my space and decided that it could use a boost, during such depressing times. But the change I felt was needed had to be a low cost, low maintenance and aesthetically pleasing way to liven up my space and that did not involve fur or daily walks. Plants naturally were the answer. [Lesley can you insert link back to your Plant  blog post]

three small and medium sized houseplants in neutral coloured decorative pots on the floor against a wall

Deciding What House Plants to Buy

Despite having had some experience with house plants, I was not really “into” plants. I didn’t know their names and certainly never did any research on how to care for them. Again, with the pandemic, I was forced to change my behaviour. Since most of the stores in the city were closed, I ended up buying two plants online. This required that I do some basic research about:

  • What type of plants did I like?
  • What plants might look good in my space?
  • Which plants were low maintenance (minimal watering and sunlight)
  • What type(s) of soil would I need?
  • What size and style of planters were available? (I would discover that 10” planters were in short supply).

It was a definitely a big learning experience.

Unfortunately, it turned out that everyone on the planet had the same idea as me and was buying plants. As a result, a lot of the plants were sold out at local nurseries. However, I managed to get my hands on a snake plant – which is hard to kill – and a monstera deliciosa (or swiss cheese plant).

Plant Power in Full Effect

Once the plants were delivered and repotted I thought that I would admire them for about a week and then forget about them, as one does when one gets new, pretty things. We simply get used to them. However, if you know anything about the monstera deliciosa (if you don’t that’s ok, neither did I until I bought one), the leaves are fairly large so you can’t help but notice any changes. Recently, as I was watering my monstera, I noticed a new leaf, shaped almost like a thin, tightly coiled blade of grass. This was the beginning of my discovery of the meaning of plant power.

Just like that, I was like a kid again. I was filled with a mix of awe, anticipation and excitement waiting for the surprise once the leaf opened up. I’m not kidding, not since ninth grade science class was I this fascinated about a plant leaf (we learned about plants and the process of photosynthesis – I was a terrible science student but it’s the one lesson that I remember enjoying). 

a fig plant in a beige wicker basket on the light wood floor next to a framed photo of a leaf.

Finding a Happy (Plant) Place 

I found myself watching the various changes and waiting patiently for the leaf to make its appearance and shout, “I’ve arrived!” I realized at that moment that I was feeling happy in a time that we had already spent many months living in lockdown with the constant fear of contracting a deadly virus and the uncertainty of when it would end.

So, why was the experience of plant ownership so different this time around? When I think back to the previous times that I’ve owned plants, I realize two things. One, on a basic level, seeing this new leaf emerging meant the plant was growing and I hadn’t managed to kill it. It meant I was #WinningatPlantParenthood and two, having plants in my space has always made me happier. I just hadn’t taken the time, up until this point, to pause and truly appreciate this fact.

There are so many life lessons to come out of being in a global pandemic and two of them for me are practicing gratitude and finding joy in the simple things. I’ve been slowing down and paying closer attention to my relationship with my family and friends and now with my newfound connection to my plant family. I’ve been enjoying the peace, calm and feelings of happiness household plants can bring.

5 Ways Plants Can Make You Feel Good

A happy young black woman holding a snake plant in a terracotta pot, and smiling.

Here are five of my favourite ways bringing indoor plants into your space can be beneficial for your overall wellbeing and just make you feel good about it.

1. Transforming the look and feel of your space – adding some greenery to your space can add an element of beauty and life to your space.

2. Providing a connection with nature and a living thing – Having a plant requires you to be in the present moment when you water it, being careful not to overwater or you inspect the leaves to determine if they still look healthy. In that brief moment, it’s you in full nurturer mode making sure you are caring for this living thing.

3. Encouraging mindfulness. Being able to take a moment to pause and enjoy the beauty a plant can bring to your space and the feeling of calm and tranquillity that can come from being in the present moment, connecting with nature in that way.

4. Improving air quality. Studies show that household plants may be a way to help improve air quality in your space by removing certain types of buildup from off-gases in the air. Research is still being done in this area and this doesn’t mean that having a few houseplants will purify your air completely, you may need to invest in a good HEPA air purifier to do that. Yet, according to the research, indoor plants can make a difference in reducing air pollutants.

5. Benefiting your overall wellbeing – Some studies show having indoor plants can have a positive effect on not only air quality but also on psychological wellbeing – plants can help lower stress, anxiety levels and improve productivity and overall wellbeing. Plants can make you feel better.

Houseplants can be a low-cost way to not only add some style to your living space but improve your air quality and overall health and wellbeing.

As for my former plants (the two small trees), my cousin sent me photos of the ‘twins’ recently to let me know they were happy and still thriving. 

This post first appeared on the Swell Made Co. blog.

About cassandra mcd.

World's coolest aunt (so I've been told). I'm all about personal growth and living a healthy lifestyle that prioritizes self-care and mental wellness. I want to embrace aging with swagger (and less gray hair), living life more mindfully and filled with an abundance of gratitude.
This entry was posted in Health and Wellness, lifestyle and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.