21.09.2020

Becoming a ‘plant mum’ could reduce anxiety & increase productivity

The humble house plant is making its biggest comeback since the 1970s right now, thanks to its ability to help you feel calm, improve air quality and lower blood pressure. (Yep, really). There is no better time to consider bringing the outside in and becoming a plant mum.
With millions of us working from home right now, we’re doing all we can to stay motivated, manage our Coronavirus-induced anxiety and ensure our spaces are clean, inspiring sanctuaries. So if only we’d have known, all those weeks ago, that there is one simple home addition that can aid in all of that. Better late than never, hey?


Researchers from the University of Exeter in 2014 found that plants can increase productivity by 15 per cent (a green office increases employees’ work engagement by making them more physically, cognitively and emotionally involved in their work). Research has found that having plants in the home can also help reduce anxiety, since they remind us of nature and the outdoors which is instantly calming. If that wasn’t enough, houseplants help to make the air in the home less toxic by purifying the air and eliminating any toxins. We. Are. Sold.

But I know what you’re thinking: it’s all well and good adding a fern to your bedside table or a pot plant to the window cill… but how the HELL to keep it alive? If you’re a notorious houseplant killer (don’t panic – you’re not alone), it’s worth investing in an indoor plant which doesn’t require much maintenance.

With that in mind, we caught up with the guys at Haskins (they’re fountains of houseplant knowledge) to find out which plants are the easiest to look after.

You’re welcome.

  • Devil’s Ivy: These are fantastic trailing plants that perform well in a hanging pot or on a high shelf. They prefer to live in-direct light conditions and require liberal watering in spring and summer.
  • Cacti: Really easy to care for, these architectural plants love light and occasional watering.
  • Dracaena (Dragon Tree): They thrive in a warm room in light shade near an east or west facing window.
  • Spathiphyllum (Peace Lilly): A great air purifier, this distinctive popular plant thrives if kept damp and away from direct sunlight. Can also tolerate lower light levels.
  • Zamioculas (ZZ Plant): Whether it’s a bright lounge or shady hallway, this plant is a great focal point and will thrive on neglect. Just remember to water it occasionally.
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You might notice a common theme for each of these green-leaved dependents: how much light they can tolerate and how much they needs watering. These two factors are key when it comes to ensuring your house plant thrives for the remainder of lockdown and beyond. Apparently there’s more to being a plant mum than feeding it with a monthly splash of leftover tea?! Shame.

Consider the light levels in your home.

You need to find out how much light your house gets and in which direction it’s coming from. North facing windows bring in much more light than south facing windows do. If you want a flowering plant like a pelargonium, consider putting it in a bright and airy living room. Plants like ferns can survive in humid, low-light rooms like your bathroom.

Perfect that watering routine.

You’ve got to nail that watering routine – i.e. making sure you actually remember to do it. That said, watering it every day could be as detrimental as not watering it at all. The key is making sure you know when your plant is thirsty, and you can do this by putting your fingers in the soil. If the soil is dry, your plant needs watering. Oh, and don’t water it so much so that the plant is drenched. Keep your plant in the ugly plastic pot it arrives at your door in (within something prettier like this planter from Anthropologie), so that you can simply take the plastic pot to the sink to water it. When it has drained properly, slot it back into it’s fancier home.

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