Houseplants are more than just decorations!
Caring for a houseplant camp improve your mood.
A common bacterium found in soil, mycobacterium vaccae, has been linked to improved mood and mental performance, acting like an antidepressant. A 2016 study found that injecting mice with m. vaccae made them more able to deal with stressful situations. Taking care of a plant can also be a very meditative process.
Picking out a new plant is a great way to spend some screen-free time with your kids!
A visit to a plant store is a fun activity with kids. With more and more sprouting up across the city, there are plenty to choose from. Some of them offer added extras like great coffee (PlantShed UWS) and workshops (The Sill). Outside Manhattan some of the bigger nurseries even offer kids play areas, arts and crafts, and seasonal festivals. While you’re choosing plants, ask your kids which ones they like and why? Come up with fun names for the plants colors—instead of a succulent being green, perhaps it’s Prospect Park Green or guacamole green.
Having plants teaches kids about taking care of other living things.
Even young kids can help with watering and repotting, and they will love to see how plants grow and flower over time. A houseplant is a great introduction to the idea of caring for something else, without the stress and upkeep of a pet.
They are very easy for beginners.
You may feel like the green thumb gene skipped you, but taking care of houseplants doesn’t have to be so hard. The key is to choose the right plant for the right environment—and following the care instructions. Each plant needs a different amount of light, water, food, and upkeep.
“I find that a lot of customers tend to over care for their plants, especially during the winter months when most common houseplants are semi-dormant,” Marino says. “Although it's great to check in with your plants daily, they probably won't need you to 'do anything' (water, prune, move) to them on a daily basis. They appreciate a pretty stable environment, if possible! Water only when dry.” If this is your first foray into plant ownership, she recommends starting out with something hardy such as a snake plant, pothos plant, or ZZ plant.
There is a plant for everyone, even tiny New York City apartments!
With more and more plant stores opening up across the city, there is no shortage of expert advice on what to choose. If you want to go deeper, why not sign up for an introductory plant course, too?
“I recommend that wannabe plant parents first identify what type of light their space receives (bright, moderate, low), then choose their plants accordingly,” Marino says. “A great tip is to look up the plant's native environment, to get a better sense of how much light it needs to thrive.”