It’s safe to say that in the past year we’ve spent more time than ever in our homes. As the end of lockdown is on the horizon, Brits are starting to adjust to venturing out into the world again - but our houseplants are not ready to say goodbye.
Hayes Garden World are cautioning Brits that houseplants may suffer from loneliness when you’re not around as much, as is backed by science…
Horticultural expert, Angela Slater, explains the five reasons your houseplants will miss you when you’re not around.
1. Many believe that plants can sense when you’re not around.
“Studies have shown that plants can sense water, light and gravity, “Angela explains. “They can even defend themselves and send signals to other plants near them to warn that danger is near. They’ve much more aware than people may think, so it’s very likely that they’ll be able to sense when their owner isn’t at home.”
2. Plants love the sound of human voices and grow better around it.
“Talking to your plants is extremely beneficial for their health and wellbeing. It is unclear exactly what proportion of people who keep plants do communicate with them, but committed vegetable growers have long spoken words of encouragement to their prized specimens.”
“There are numerous studies which demonstrate the phenomenon. In 2009, the RHS ran trials on tomato plants, discovering that those that were spoken to grew taller than the ones left in silence. They also found female voices to be more effective than males”.
“The fact that houseplants thrive by our presence shows that they also have needs which go beyond just needing food, water and a nice ambient temperature. It’s safe to say that plants will not fare as well in the silence when their owner isn’t home.”
3. The house will be colder with no humans around which is not good for plants.
“The ideal temperature for indoor plants to grow is around 23 degrees in the daytime (source). This is similar to Britain's average ideal room temperature, which a recent study discovered is 21 degrees (source)”. “However, despite Brits’ preferences, the average room temperature in the UK is 18 degrees. Brits will not be around to adjust heating as they did when working from home, meaning plants will start to get chilly.”
4. The lack of Co2 could be damaging.
“Studies have shown that carbon dioxide increases photosynthesis, therefore spurring plant growth. (source). With humans around less, there will be lower Co2 levels in the air which may stunt your houseplants growth.”
5. Brits are more tentative and intuitive to their plants when they’re around them more.
“Naturally, being around your houseplant more means that they get more attention.” “Owners have more time to water their plants, adjust their positioning for different levels of light and can be more intuitive with what they need when they’re looking a little thirsty or overwatered. When you’re gone, your plant will notice the difference in care and routine.”
How can we combat loneliness in plants? Angela Slater suggests:
1. Buy your plant a friend to keep it company
“Plants can sense when they’re around another plant, and it’s been proven that it’s better for their wellbeing if they’re around a “sibling” plant, as they don’t use up energy trying to compete with a non-familiar plant.”
“Think how well plants grow in the forest when they’re surrounded by other plants; a group of plants placed together will create their own beneficial micro-climate. Create your own woodland environment by placing tall, medium height and low growing plants together. Not only is it beneficial for the plants but can also add interest to a dull corner, providing a focal point. If you choose specific plants, such as Peace Lilies, which take out impurities in the air, they will provide you with a much healthier environment, essential if you suffer from respiratory problems.”
2. Leave the radio on
“We all know that talking to houseplants helps them thrive, as well as benefiting our own mental health. Consider leaving the radio on when you’re out to mimic the sound of your voice, or make sure to compensate for those lost conversations by speaking to your plants more in the evening when you’re home.”
3. Take your plant to work day
“Reduce your plants' sense of isolation by taking them to work with you. Hayes Garden World are considering a ‘take your plant to work day’ to combat loneliness in houseplants once we return to the workplace and to give your houseplants some valuable work experience."