Houseplants have a somewhat unremarkable reputation; like, your mom had some that you had to water sometimes for chores kind of reputation, but it turns out they're super beneficial! I started collecting and indiscriminately murdering plants about three years ago, and I now feel like I have a decent grasp on what works to keep a plant generally upright and alive and how it really enriches life. SUNLIGHT
I used to not really care if our blinds were closed. I opened them sometimes so I could see what I was doing during the day, but otherwise, meh. Now that I have plants in every room, I'm super conscious of letting as much sunlight into the house as possible! As a result, I've noticed that I have a new appreciation for bright light and happy colors and that my overall mood has been boosted.
In a list of good stuff, you'd hardly expect that word to EVER show up. Bleagh. But here's the thing: plants are basically low-maintenance pets. Their needs and rewards are more subtle, but there's a real satisfaction in keeping even just one alive for years (I have TWO out of COUNTLESS that have made it from the beginning, and I beam with joy at them. #proudmom). Watering used to be annoying to me, but now I see it as affirmation that I'm taking care of something living and dependent on me. It's kinda therapeutic in a way!
Plants are a little cheaper than a diffuser (unless you buy a fiddle leaf fig every other day #lifegoals) and are really effective at improving air quality in your house, especially during winter when the windows aren't open as often. NASA itself did an intensive study on this, and recommends at least one plant per 100 square feet of indoor space (nailed it). I can't exactly anecdotally testify that anybody's breathing is significantly better around here, or that it even smells better than three years ago (actually, it does, but that's because I got better at cleaning and we moved out of a run down rental), but just knowing that those plants are pulling their weight around here is nice.
Plants are the dark wash jeans in the décor world; they are SO versatile. Blank spot on a shelf? Plant. Ugly subwoofer on the floor? Plant. Weird color scheme? Plant. You know how you sometimes feel like a room is just so plain and...boxy? Heck, you might think that right this second if you look around. Plants provide an organic contrast to all our indoor straight lines. Seriously, you cannot go wrong here. And can we talk about POTS??? The above picture was a somewhat unsatisfying gold paint attempt but I'm SO going to play with pots later. The possibilities are endless.
I mean natural in the sense that plants are "of nature." We humans have an intrinsic need to be connected to nature. Much like the food we eat, the more processed and removed from nature our environment is, the more it harms us. It's way too easy to not even notice after a while. Plants offer a reminder of what's important for our health (this is not a health and wellness blog so I'll stop there lest I rant endlessly).
Ever notice how plants - particularly flowers - have been trending in the art world for the past few centuries? I'm telling you, plants, with their diverse leaf patterns and seemingly random growth methods, are a hive of creative expression. I can honestly say that looking at a plant sparks a little artistic thought that can go so many ways. If you're pursuing your creativity, a plant or two that makes you feel just a little something is SO good for you.
SUPER BASIC CARE
Let the record show that I acknowledge I am not a plant expert. What I have learned, however, that the most effective methods of not letting plants die is 1) drainage and 2) reading them.
Drainage is a big one, folks. I've seen some fun, cute DIY projects for plant containers, but then they don't proper DRAINAGE! DANK DRAINAGE! This post is out of control. You either need to have a little reservoir for water to pool and evaporate, like the little dishes on the bottom of pots, which have holes drilled into the base, OR about an inch or more of large-ish gravel at the bottom of the pot. Otherwise, root rot. I had a plant that slowly turned brown and died a horrible, slow death. When I pulled it out of the pot, there was half a gallon of dirt water festering at the bottom. Thus, I learned that day. Drainage matters.
Reading plants is a little weird-sounding, like beta fish whisperer (which I'm convinced my husband is), but I've gradually figured out that a drooping plant with sort of wrinkly, soft leaves is thirsty (some are big drama queens about this), a plant losing leaves and color needs more light, and browning at the stem base plus drooping means too much water. There's more to it, surely, but I've managed to keep plants generally sustained by knowing those three things. The key is just to move your plant around the house if it seems to be suffering despite proper watering. It'll tell you when it's happy somewhere!
I do feed the plants once a week with this:
I've been doing it for a while so I can't exactly compare how they do without it, but it can't hurt, right?
I hope this gave you a little nudge to nab a plant or two or twelve from the store next time you're out. Enjoy your little green friends! :)