A justification for buying more house plants to fill my new crochet pots….
To celebrate the launch of the Mini Crochet Pot Kit, I’ve been looking at treating myself to a new selection of little cacti and succulents to fill all the pots I made in the creation process. As someone who’s house already has a considerable number of house plants covering pretty much every window sill, side table and half our living room, I’ve definitely had to weigh up the want against the need…So naturally I decided to write a blog post to prove that there’s no such thing as want when it comes to plants, rather they’re an essential. Here we have it!
Needing to buy house plants is a genetical trait
As a millennial, I think I can say on behalf of all of us that there’s not much more satisfying than a house plant. Collecting and caring for indoor plants isn’t a new practise by any means, but as a generation we cannot seem to get enough! A monstera is a household name, cacti and succulents adorn our homes and it’s nigh on impossible to return home from a trip to Ikea without at least another baby to add to the collection (come on, I know it’s not just me).
We are predisposed to love the natural world. The bright blue sky on a summer’s day; crisp autumn leaves painting the ground a multitude of reds and yellows; the calming sensation of waves breaking on the shore; the intoxicating smell of freshly cut grass… Evolution draws us towards the natural world so it’s no wonder we have a weakness for garden centres and botanical gardens; it’s in our genes!
As if that wasn’t justification enough there’s a myriad of positives supporting becoming the ‘mother of plants’
1. Plants help us fight low mood
Plants are more than just plants. They make our lives a happier place, adding colour, texture and an essence of calm to our day. It’s been scientifically proven that house plants = happiness, and the connection between indoor plants and improved mood is undeniable.
In addition to purely making you smile, there’s an enormous amount of value in caring for your house plant collection. Having something that is relying on you to keep it alive provides you with a sense of purpose (that house plant needs you!), which can aid in fighting against feelings of depression and low mood.
Not to mention there’s not much that’s more uplifting than seeing a new shoot on a plant, a teeny leaf sprouting, or extra inch in height! It’s immensely satisfying knowing you are doing something right and allowing your house plant to thrive.
2. Plants can help cultivate mindfulness
It’s become somewhat of a trend over recent years, and for good reason imo. Mindfulness is the act of being in the present and relishing the here and now. It’s the practise of connecting with your body to fully experience the moment; recognising thoughts, feelings and sensations as and when they appear with a quiet acceptance allowing the mind to stay calm and focussed. And you can be mindful at any time too whether you are carrying out a daily task, such as folding the laundry, drinking your morning coffee, walking to the shops or engaging in a more stereotypical practise of sitting quietly for a period of time to meditate and connect to the breath.
Deep breathing in mindfulness meditation is incredibly useful for many reasons. Not only does it help us to focus the mind away from the constant mind chatter and outside pressures, it has the added benefit of slowing down something called the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). I don’t want to bore you with a bunch of science, but I promise this is interesting(!)
The PNS is one of three divisions that create the autonomic nervous system i.e. the bodies control system that predominantly functions automatically to regulate our bodily functions. Also known as the ‘rest and digest’ system, the PNS conserves energy and relaxes you as it decreases respiration and slows down the heart rate. It’s almost like the body’s version of a brake, helping us to slow down and find a sense of calm. Thankfully, we are able to consciously activate the PNS using a few simple techniques, one example being deep abdominal breathing – which is where the planty benefits come in!
In today’s society it’s common to be stuck indoors all day: glued to your desk in a stuffy office or dozing off in your fourth meeting that morning. Given the events of the past year with the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, we can go the entire day without even stepping foot out the door so it’s no surprise that we marvel at how GOOD that first breath of fresh air feels when we finally get outside.
It’s a sad truth that the majority of the indoor air we breathe in is full of pollutants which can be damaging to our health – poorly ventilated spaces and stagnant environments do not a clean space make and no one wants to be grounding themselves with long deep breaths when we don’t know what we’re inhaling!! Thankfully, a topical study by NASA in the 80s has delivered a solution that everyone can get on board with: house plants!
We all know plants absorb carbon dioxide in the air which is processed into oxygen through photosynthesis, but there are microorganisms found in the soil which can also contribute to helping remove nasty toxins and pollutants from the air. Spider plants, aloe, peace lilies and boston ferns are all great air purifying house plants to enable you to breathe in cleaner, fresher air and become a calmer you!
3. Plants = The colour green
The psychology of colour also plays a huge part in the benefits of having even just one house plant around your space. Green is a soothing colour which many of us automatically associate with the natural world. It symbolises renewal and growth and represents tranquillity, health and luck. It’s a colour used to calm the mind and soul, creates a feeling of safety and security and helps a person regain emotional balance and find a sense of peace.
Further research allows us to delve deeper: crystal therapies, for example, demonstrate that those with a green hue, such as aventurine and peridot, promote harmony and restore balance in the emotional centre. In Indian beliefs green represents the heart chakra, whose function is to integrate and balance realms of mind-body.
Does that mean I’ve proved I need those plants for my crochet pots?
With all that in mind, it’s only natural that we find ourselves impulsively buying yet another leafy delight at the local Sunday market. Nature is incredibly soothing. it creates a comfortable environment for us to be in, cultivates a sense of calm and wellbeing and helps us to fight off low mood. Society nowadays makes it difficult for us to actively get out into the open and discover it for ourselves so it’s nice, then, to be able to attempt to recreate a little of that for ourselves, filling as many nooks as possible with lush greens and stress reducing vibes.
For those of us who have an unfortunately low success rate in comparison to our green fingered friends, there are an abundance of low maintenance house plants out there that even the most practised house plant assassin could keep alive. Cacti and succulents are excellent choices if you’re lacking in the nurturing department and are widely available, especially here in Bristol where the plant market is thriving: think Little Green, Twig, Wild Leaf, Old Market Plants, Mila, and Bush just to name a few. Not to mention you can pick up some little beauties for less than the cost of your daily oat flattie. The only question is, how many can you safely carry home?
If you want to make your very own crochet planter, I’d love for you to check out the brand new Mini Crochet Pot Kit. These nifty little pots are a great size for planting herbs or growing cress with the kids. I personally use mine to house my extensive collection of mini succulents and cacti and to help organise my crochet hooks and knitting needles that I end up finding everywhere (they’re like the crafters’ bobby pins!) .
If you’re not really the creative type, you can also buy them ready made in a variety of colours.