One of my favourite things to give as a gift has got to be a plant. Most people like them; they’re usually a decent gift for that person who already has everything, they’re good for your health and wellbeing (more on that below) and they (generally) tend to have a shelf life longer than cut flowers (which also happens to be my personal excuse to my hubby for buying so many, “But plants last longer than flowers!”) Now, I’m thinking that the next kind of gift I’m going to be giving people will be things that help us look AFTER our plants. More on that in a moment (and a giveaway with The Plant Runner at the end!)
A lot of us are a little bit in love with house plants these days. There are more than 2.5 million photos with the hashtag #plantlove and 4.8 million with the hashtag #indoorplants on Instagram. Our love of indoor plants isn’t going anywhere; in fact, I think it’s growing. The other day I had a bit of a laugh with my friend who recently renovated her old laundry. It looks awesome now, with paneled walls, a timber benchtop and a couple of open shelves above the sink. She was telling me how her hubby (never much of an indoor plant person) said to her, “Are you going to planning to put a plant in the laundry?”
“Well yes,” she replied. “Probably a couple. I was thinking maybe one hanging and one on the shelf. Why?”
“Will the one on the shelf be like, you know, coming down?”
“A trailing plant? Yes. That’s what I was thinking.”
“Oh. Cool. Yeah, I just thought that would look good.”
He has been converted to the Plant Side. And isn’t it a wonderful, leafy place to be.
As well as looking nice, plants in the home and workplace are also good for your wellbeing. They really can make people happier and improve your work output and efficiency. A 2014 study by the University of Technology Sydney found that when in the presence of indoor plants, study participants demonstrated increased productivity, better and longer focus, decreased symptoms of headaches and sore eyes, improved performance in creative tasks and they also showed faster speeds when completing computer tasks. They also found that workers with plants placed in their workspaces reported a 30 to 60 reduction in personal stress levels over a period of three months.
To me, the cool thing about this study was that the researchers found out participants didn’t even need to be properly AWARE of the plants around them to get the wellbeing benefits – just subconsciously seeing brief glimpses of living greenery in their environment, like on their desk, or in the periphery of their office spaces, provided them with unconscious feelings of calm and being in a wider space and their ability to focus increased – even if they didn’t actually notice the plant’s presence. (This would encompass people like Mr Nerd, by the way. I will walk into a room and think, “Oooh that’s a pretty variegated ficus,” he will walk into a room and after be hard-pressed to tell you if there was any greenery in there at all).