Social distancing rules and self-quarantines look like they are going to be here for a while, which means it’s time to double down on our plants. Why? Because plants are the therapeutic relief we need during this time of adversity and uncertainty; working 24/7 to keep us mentally and physically healthier. Just the presence of plants in your environment can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression by 37% and 58% respectively, (New University of Technology in Sydney) and considering that most of us will be working from home for the foreseeable future, plants in our workspaces can boost our creativity and productivity by as much as 15% (Human Spaces Report).
Plants are the friends we need more than ever, but it’s important to remember that we were already spending most of our time indoors.. It is time to bring the outside in, and adding plants in our homes can help satisfy this human need and prevent us from going stir crazy. If you are new to plant parenthood and are looking for a green companion (or twelve), here are a few starter options that won’t struggle and add to your pandemic-anxiety:
Sansevieria are resilient options because they can handle various degrees of light and don’t need much water (every 3-4 weeks). I love putting them in corners to hide unsightly wires and outlets, and I usually have two identical plants so I can rotate them out of lower light areas like my bathroom. Plus they release their oxygen at night which makes them great for enhancing your quality of sleep.
Pothos are my go to trailing plants because not only do they grow well in high or low light, and come in multiple varieties, but they communicate well with their plant parents. Their leaves are quite expressive and you will observe a noticeable droop when they are thirsty. An added bonus is that you can hang them from the ceiling, wall, or place them on a bookcase to conserve valuable floor space if you live in a smaller apartment.
If you have lots of light, you may be tempted to splurge on a fiddle leaf fig or palm but beware. These fickle plants can be temperamental and you may not be prepared to handle the added stress of falling leaves and browning fronds. Instead, opt for the wild looking monstera or strelitzia (birds of paradise) to replicate that lush jungle vibe. Both are resilient to many different conditions and super fast growers when watered once every 7-10 days.
ALSO! Don’t forget to try growing edible plants outdoors AND indoors. I’m not insinuating that the zombie apocalypse is coming anytime soon, but knowing how to grow my own food has been such a gift. My backyard garden is where I started my plant journey in the first place, and the satisfaction (and taste) is well worth the effort. Start with herbs like basil, rosemary, and thyme on your windowsill, and then upgrade to some leafy greens like kale and spinach. You may not get enough for a full salad every week, but it is nice to have a flavorful garnish to add to your home cooked meals.