The Value of Plants in Lockdown
Posted on April 30 2020
Last December I left my parents’ semi detached house with garden, allotment and greenhouse in the Midlands for a tiny two bed flat in Bristol with no outside space. This was a large shift and took some getting used to for sure. But not to worry, I began building up my indoor jungle as I did when we lived in London. Houseplants really are my escape and a true breath of fresh air from the crazy outside world. Especially right now.
As I started to get settled into Bristol life and set up my little studio shop in the Tobacco Factory Makers Market, BAM, along came lockdown. Like many small businesses I found myself thrown into the unknown. I had to put on the breaks and avoid going outdoors. This was tough. People that know me and my conservation background know that I’m very much an outdoor girl and this was going to be a big challenge. However, life throws you crazy curveballs and you need to learn how to adapt in the best way you know how.
I quickly realised that as I couldn’t go out and enjoy nature and wilderness the way I normally would I began appreciating more and more the houseplants around me in my flat. Yes I know crazy plant lady alert!
You've probably all heard of me or others talking about the benefits of plants but I thought I'd give you my top five instances where an indoor jungle has given me a helping hand during this crazy time. Maybe some of this will resonate with you too.
1. Calm the mind
When I think of meditation I picture sitting still on a cushion in silence clearing and calming my mind - I watch my partner do this most days. This just doesn't really work for me.
However, I have found that when I'm pottering around the flat tending, watering and cleaning my plants a calming force comes over me. When I'm carefully wiping the dust off my monstera with a damp cloth or bathing my string of dolphins in the sink I am completely and utterly relaxed and my brain slows down. This is my 'me' time, my time to reset.
2. Breathe fresh air
Why not take a little moment to go and sit amongst your plants, grab a cushion get comfy, and then take a big, long, deep, calming breath. Ahhhhh! It feels good right?
As we know, plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen during a process called photosynthesis. Certain plants will also take in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and pollutants from the air in our home which build up from detergents, cosmetics, certain plastics etc. These VOCs are absorbed by the leaves and roots of certain plants. The Boston Fern, Peace Lily, Pothos, Sanserveria and Aloe Vera are just a few on their list of top air-purifiers. If you fancy a read take a look at NASA's report.
Take a little look at our plant availability on my 'plants delivery' highlight on Twig's instagram profile. Or message me directly for recommendations of air-purifying plants.
3. Have a chat
Yes, I'm well aware you're going to think I've lost the plot with this next one. And hey, maybe I have a little but can you blame me. My partner regularly stops me and says, 'Sarah, are you talking to your plants again?' I'm not going to lie it happens on a regular basis but hey it makes me feel better. And maybe they feel better too, who knows.
This lockdown has put a lot of pressure and stress on every one of us. To get some things off your chest why not talk it through out loud with a green buddy. While I'm potting, propagating or watering my plants, I just have a little chat. It beats journalling for me anyway. They're always there to listen and they won't answer back (well you hope not anyway, hehe!) I know it sounds mad but I think there's something in it. And if it helps who cares right!
4. Go green
I've always wondered why the colour green was used in interior design so much. I see it in hospitals, schools and homes. It is said to mimic nature and the calming affect it has on us. It's also meant to promote growth and creativity.
Instead of painting my flat green to mimic nature I connect to nature bringing it inside. I've turned our flat into a calm mini indoor jungle, filling the space with lush, green, life giving plants. It definitely calms me down when I get worked up.
5. Get your hands dirty
'Spring is nature's way of saying, let's party!' - Robin Williams
As the days grow longer and the sun stronger you really see you're plants change. They begin bursting with new life, stretching their legs and waking up from their winter dormancy. All their energy is focussed on building strength. You may see new shoots, growth spurts and on some plants little babies appearing. You'll also notice that they're drinking faster to fuel this growth. It's a good time to start with monthly houseplant feeds.
This time of year, especially as most of us are now based at home, gives you the perfect opportunity to get close and personal with your fave green friends. Yep, you know it, its repotting and propagating time!
And why not? Chinese money plants are popping out little pups which you can split of the mother plant when they're over 3 inches tall ready to be placed in a new pot of their own. String of pearls, hearts and dolphins can all be propagated simply by cutting off a few trailing strands and placing them on top of damp soil where they will root. Cuttings of mature Swiss cheese plants can be taken by cutting an offshoot stem, ideally below a arial root. Pop these cuttings directly in water to root or into damp soil with some rooting hormone.
So what you all waiting for! Go make some babies!