Pampering our plants at home
Why do people love plants? Is it the flowers, the color or scent? Is it the shade and clean air trees provide? Or is it the miracle of their growth cycle that happens right before our eyes? Or perhaps it’s the peace that we experience while walking through a garden or along a tree-lined path. There we relax, take a big breath and exhale all the tension in our bodies and mind. Whatever your reason for loving plants, how can bring some of that outdoor joy and peace of mind indoors?
Horticultural therapy is a practice that joins people with plants. We know deep in our DNA that without plants we could not exist. Humans have an intuitive bond with nature that has roots in pre-historic times when our ancestors relied on plants for food, shelter, tools, medicine . . . basically all the essentials for survival. Even today, beyond survival, working with plants and maintaining a garden improves physical endurance, builds strength, and can lower heart rate. Experiencing nature such as hearing birds chirp, observing plants growing or marking the changes of the seasons can improve our emotional well-being, give us a positive outlook and a feeling of enthusiasm for the future.
Many of you whom mother nature has bestowed a green thumb might have thriving abundant plants on a windowsill or balcony. I’ve been an indoor hit-or-miss gardener– some plants do well and others …well, let’s say would be happier elsewhere. However, all of us can take some time now to take a fresh look at our indoor plants. Pampering our plants is getting in touch with nature. It’s a hopeful and generous way to spend an hour in the afternoon. Here are some ways I’ve been in touch with nature at home:
Repot: It’s not until my plants look absolutely desperate (straggly, yellowed, lackluster), that I realize that they may need a new home. Repotting a plant in fresh soil and a slightly bigger pot will reinvigorate a plant – once settled, your plant might even bloom in gratitude.
Redecorate: Sometimes my plants are not happiest in the window I have chosen for them. While home, I’ve experimented with plant placement. I have west and south facing windows. South provides indirect sunlight during the day and the west windows have strong afternoon light. East-facing windows get gentle morning sun and windows facing north have very limited indirect sunlight. Moving plants around or providing light curtain in front of a bright afternoon west facing window might be preferable for some plants. Relocating plants will provide you with a welcomed change of scenery.
Share: Do you have tropical plants like coleus, philodendron, pothos or zebrina? Are they getting leggy and need to be pruned? Clip long tendrils to give your plant shape. Put those clippings in a glass of water to root. Once roots start to show, you can start new plants and perhaps share with a neighbor. Pruning is a very healthy way to keep plants looking great and it encourages new growth.
Create a Mini Landscape: When rooted, use some of those clippings to pot with other plants. Create diverse planters with a variety of colors, textures and patterned leaves. You can start them in small berry containers (plastic with holes at the bottom) or juice/milk containers (wax cardboard – cut a rectangular hole in the side and pop holes at the bottom for drainage.) This is a temporary option until you find the right pot for your new plants. Include interesting rocks, shells or anything that will beautify your new planter.
I hope you will try some of these ideas while we’re pausing at home and staying safe. Remember – this is a temporary situation and before long we will be able to spend time outdoors enjoying gardens, neighborhood walks, trips to parks and socializing with others. In the meantime, take some time to look for nature in your home.