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Why Houseplants make us so (darn) Happy:)

After the Christmas tree and decorations are packed away, it's time to return our houseplants to their rightful spots in our homes.

 

 

This gives us an opportunity to water our indoor plants deeply, check for pests, and polish their leaves, to help them maximize their growth producing ability as the January sun builds in strength. This also gives us an opportunity to appreciate why it is that they make us so darn happy. 

 

 

Growing plants for a living, does not afford one the time to spend hours admiring our verdant buddies, but at this , our quiet time of the year, I do get to experience that joy of every houseplant parent. That hashtag really is true, houseplants really do make people happy. And as I go about the house and pack away the last of the holiday bling, I think about all of the reasons that make  my indoor plants so pleasing to spend time with.

First of all, it commits us to a healthy routine. Plants need to be checked, they need to be cared for.  Every plant parent's timeline for this routine is different, but for me, it is a biweekly check before deciding that the plant needs a visit to the sink or shower for a deep watering.  What a great use of time to go about the house just refeshing our relationship with this other living organism from time to time.

And if carried out consistently , then this routine rewards us with  proof-positive productivity by the extension of a new leaf, the poke of a new side shoot or the subtle push of a new root in a cutting sitting in water.  That makes one feel good, knowing that with a little effort, we are an accessory to new growth.  We are a supporting member of the great chemical equation that brings about new life - photosynthesis .Growing makes us happy, no doubt about it.

Houseplants teach us to be more aware, and  being aware makes us more responsive and better at providing good care. And to provide good care, well it certainly makes me feel great.   To illustrate this point , I have a Syragus romanzoffiana (Queen Palm) , which lived a rather  non productive life in our family room. It did not  grow alot for a couple of years.   It was reluctant to push out new fronds even though I watered it sufficiently every couple of weeks until the water was filling the pot saucer.  Last winter I moved it to our kitchen  where it seemed to appreciate the sun from the west facing window  for a time , but  then it started to look stressed.  Only when I saw the tiny webbing  on the tip of the very top palm frond, did I realize that this plant had spider mites and it needed an intervention . It needed a good shower!  Hauling this palm upstairs every couple of weeks and showering it down did eventually splash the  mites off and reduce the population so that the plant looked healthy again, AND it also rewarded me with new leaves pushing out . It seemed my palm loved its regular day at the spa and appreciated that shower of water to keep its roots  fully hydrated. Even though I am trained to deal with pests in my job, it still feels wonderful to be able to help my 'home' plant in its time of need.

And probably the biggest reason that houseplants make me and many others so happy is perhaps how they bring attention to those possessions that we have collected over the years that connect us to happy memories. Is this plant styling - maybe, but I'm not a plant stylist.   For me it is my table in my front hall that holds a number of houseplants. That table of houseplants sits below a painting of the farmhouse I grew up in, that I would otherwise rarely take note of. But a regular plant check, affords me a chance to study that painting and smile at the time I came home from a summer of working out West, and my siblings had a homemade paper banner hanging from that verandah, welcoming me back. 

Thanks for indulging this greenhouse grower a chance to express her appreciation for her plant friends.  I hope that your collection does provide you with as much fulfillment as they do for me.