By Dayle Beazley
There’s no denying that this has been one hell of a year for all of us. Whether it’s politics, money, or the global pandemic stressing you out, needless to say, we’re all in need of a pick-me-up this year. While some people have used this opportunity to develop their skills in bread baking, embroidery, or art, I’ve found a new passion – plants.
Raising plants is nothing new. Chances are that some old relative of yours has a garden which has been growing and thriving for years. Well, it’s time to take a page out of their book – go get yourself a succulent and thank me later.
Surrounding yourself with living plants has countless benefits. From a physical standpoint, plants add (slightly) more oxygen to the air and even purify the existing air around us. Studies have even shown that having plants around us can increase productivity and focus and decrease the chances of us falling ill.
With that being said, that has nothing to do with why I decided to become a plant mum. I did it for the mental health benefits.
Gardening has been used to improve mental health for hundreds of years. Countless studies have shown that caring for plants can help to reduce stress, improve mood, and minimise symptoms of depression and anxiety. Not only can gardening be used as a form of escapism, but it’s an outlet where success and achievement is often given.
Those benefits are transformed to a lower scale too. While we might not have a large home and an outdoor garden, our houseplants do exactly the same thing. In fact, having beautiful plants living in your home might be even better for you. When we live among aesthetically pleasing things – such as artworks, décor, or plants – we feel even happier. As an added bonus, the colour green even increases creativity and emotional stability.
While parenting some plants may seem like more of a chore to the untrained eye, it’s truthfully a really fun hobby. Just like any other hobby, growing plants has one hell of a community behind it. Of course there are rotten eggs, but generally speaking, the communities of plant people across the internet are some of the most helpful and friendly people you’ll meet. Have a quick search for plants on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok and you’ll find thousands of plant people who are ready to help you out, share tips, and support your plant journey.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your real-life friends about plants too. It turns out that people really love plants, even if they don’t talk about it much. Chances are, your friends will be: a) plant-obsessed, b) have a few succulents here and there, or c) aren’t very good with plants but still think they’re neat. Either way, you’re in for an interesting conversation. I’m very lucky in that all of my friends are crazy about plants, just like I am. That means I can share propagations and even take day trips to popular nurseries down the coast.
If you’re still not sure you can handle a couple of houseplants, I’ve made a list of plants to get which are super easy to maintain. And I mean super easy.
Devils Ivy (Golden Pothos)
I was gifted this plant before my plant obsession began. In fact, the last thing I wanted was something else to look after. So I neglected this plant more than you can imagine. It lived in a plastic pot in a plastic bag in a poorly-lit kitchen, and very rarely got water. As you can imagine, the living conditions allowed for this poor pothos to become stuck in a mouldy pot. But he was still alive and kicking.
One day I (finally) got my shit together and replanted this poor guy into a proper pot (free from mould) and gave him the right conditions. He’s been thriving ever since, even having some beautiful yellow variegation. This is seriously one of the easiest plants to look after – leave it in moderate indoor light and keep the soil moist, and it’ll love you for it.
My snake plant was the first plant I bought when my obsession started. I heard they were easy to take care of, which was basically all I needed to hear. In fact, snake plants are so good they basically survive off neglect. Place them in indirect sunlight, water once a month, and you’re good to go. Just make sure the soil is well-draining and it dries out between every water. Trust me, these guys basically can’t die.
ZZ plants are well known for how easy they are to maintain which makes them a great choice for plant newbies. Actually, they’re so popular that it took me months to track one down. If you’re an office worker or have a brown thumb, this might just be the plant for you – neglect it for a while, leave it in almost any light condition, and just water it once a month and this baby will thrive.
Whether you have a small apartment or a full-blown mansion, plants are the perfect addition to your home. They’re (mostly) budget-friendly, they add a lot of personality to your house, and they’ll improve your mental health and wellbeing beyond belief. And trust me, nothing will compare to the accomplishment you feel when your pothos starts growing a new leaf.