Why Do Houseplants Make Me So Happy?

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I haven’t always been this way. House plants used to be a major source of anxiety for me because I didn’t know how to keep them alive, they collected dust, and they looked so untidy.

They were clutter, and I’m messy enough without adding literal dirt into the mix.

And then I watched the Jenna Marbles plant tour, and everything changed.

Something as simple as buying a moisture metre made me finally learn how to keep plants successfully. It was by far the thing that helped me demystify house plant care.

And now I have over 100.

And they bring me joy, not anxiety (except for my Thai Constellation – it’s not hard to look after, but it was expensive, and my boyfriend bought me it).

It’s hard to work out why plants bring me so much pleasure – they need constant attention and tending, but don’t seem to bring anything to the table.

I can’t cuddle them, they’re cluttering up every surface, and if I eat them, I might die.

So I thought I’d go through some of the reasons that *might* cause me to love my plants.

Do plants improve the air quality in my home?

In my home, my plants might perhaps have a small influence over the air quality, but not so much that it brings me joy.

I’m not spending my days revelling in my clean air, and no, I’ve not noticed a difference.

How much cleaner does air need to be before one notices?

You see, whilst plants may remove toxins from the environment, their ability to do so is hampered by, er, not living in a hermetically sealed house. They absorb the same amount of toxins as almost anything in your house – furniture, clothing, you.

I have a small house, small rooms, and a hell of a lot of plants. That one ZZ in the corner of the room won’t do much, but 30 plants in a 90 square foot room must have some effect.

To be honest, I don’t care about my plant’s ability to purify my air.

An air purifier would do the same job, take up less space, and be far less needy (air purifier hobbyists, feel free to put me right if that isn’t the case).

My plants improve my mood

It’s INCREDIBLE the effect a seemingly dead plant can have on your mood if it decides to put out a new growth.

I love to seem my bunnies bouncing around the house, but they’re easy to keep happy. Feed them, give them banana, and only pet them when they ask and in very specific places (nose and ears ONLY), and you have very happy buns.

It’s more of a learning curve with plants, but once a plant you just couldn’t figure out starts thriving, it feels incredible.

Do I like nurturing house plants?

Yes I do. A lot.

In fact, it’s the reason I don’t listen when people more experienced than I implore not to pick up bargain bin plants.

Nothing beats the rush of nurturing a plant and bringing it back from the dead. Especially if all it needed was a really good drink. I got a really sad looking jade plant from a garden centre recently, and it’s thriving now.

Often plants in garden centres are sat for a long time before being sold, and they’re usually watered from the top.

After a while the soil becomes hydrophobic, and refuses to take in water – it just trickles through any gaps or down the sides where the soil has shrunk back from the plasitic, and then drains out of the bottom.

Technically the plant has been watered, but it couldn’t actually absorb any of it.

Obviously the plant becomes dehydrated, and looks super sad. It’s then reduced in price until some sad sap like me comes along and rescues it.

All it takes is a couple of hours of bottom watering. Sit it in a tray of room temperature water and wait. The soil will slowly start to soak up the water and allow the roots to hydrate.

I enjoy collecting house plants

Although it’s becoming a bit of a problem. You see, there are so many different plants. Like, literally thousands. And places Etsy and eBay make it so easy to track own the ones that you like.

The best rush comes whenyou see a plant you’ve been after for a while in a garden centre. I saw a Calathea Warscewiczii in a garden centre months back and didn’t get it. I’ve not seen one since and I have regrets.

If you’re after a specific plant, I have a list of awesome Etsy shops that have great selections. They’re arranged in accordance to where they ship to, so if free shipping is something that’s close to your heart, I’ve got you covered.

I like making wishlists, finding new online shops, and, most of all, driving round the north east with my boyfriend, finding new garden centres.

I like the aesthetic my house plants provide

When it comes to cheap home decor, nothing beats plants.

A word of warning though: learn a bit about taking care of house plants before you design your house around them.

As an extremely general rule of thumb, plants that thrive in lower light conditions like to be keep moist, and those that like bright light can go for a long time without water. If you think about where they originate from, it kind of makes sense.

There are exceptions to this rule obviously.

Pothos can survive quite happily in low to medium light conditions, BUT you’ll never see it’s incredible mature form if you never give it the light it needs to mature.

In my house, there are plants pretty much everywhere, and they’re all doing pretty well, because (though an agonising process of trial and error) I’ve learned where everybody likes to live).

The problem now is that I’ve run out of house to put them in. I’ve had to put a stop to buying massive plants (kind of – some still slip through), but all the tiny ones dotted around will grow.

it’s a race against time to win the lottery and buy them the house they deserve. I’m really fancying something with a greenhouse/conservatory on the side.

That’s another way my plants bring me joy – they’re a great excuse to waste hours on Pinterest designing my dream home.

I enjoy researching them (hence creating this blog)

My other passion is writing, which is why I started the blog. If you couldn’t tell, I can spend hours rambling on about plants.

I love blogs – writing them, reading them, helping other people with theirs – but I’ve found a lot of bloggers are discouraged by the never-ending list of things to do – Instagram, Pinterest, design, SEO, rather than focusing on writing about stuff that’s fun. I love writing, and I love plants – this blog was the perfect creative outlet.

Although it does stress me out when Apartment Therapy write house plant articles.

How can one write an article about easy-care plants and not mention moisture metres?

Or consult a so-called expert that claims that the sun isn’t strong enough to burn plants through a window?


I like taking pictures of them

Instagram used to be a source of anxiety for me. I love scrolling though it, but struggled to post content, especially when armed with an iPhone 6, colourblindness, and the inability to tell a good photo from a bad one.

I love Instagram now. I take more photos of my plants than a grandma does of a newborn grandchild. It’s fun, and I want to show off my plants, whilst looking at pictures of other people showing off their plants.

If you’re wondering why I wrote this article, it’s because a LOT of people are searching for reasons plants make us so happy, and I couldn’t find any articles articulating the way I feel.

I’m desperate to know if the people searching for this can’t fathom why someone in their life loves plants so much, or if people are worried that their own collection is getting out of control.

The number of views I get on my ‘how many house plants is too many?’ article would suggest it’s the former.

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

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