They say you learn something new every day and I’ve just learned that the 10th of January is Houseplant Appreciation Day! Who knew? You’d think that, since I’ve been such a shameless promoter of houseplants for over 40 years and author of 10 books on the subject, someone would have told me, but no luck. Instead, I stumbled across this bit of info by accident on the Internet just a few days ago.
Apparently, Houseplant Appreciation Day was launched by The Gardener’s Network, a group I really don’t know … but they seem like nice people. They give two reasons for creating it:
- To remind people after the holidays that their forgotten houseplants need a little attention.
- To celebrate the benefits of houseplants and to encourage growing them.
It’s not clear when Houseplant Appreciation Day was first inaugurated nor how many years I missed, but it’s never too late to participate in something good, so…
Why You Should Appreciate Houseplants
There are all sorts of reasons why you should appreciate houseplants, including:
- They make your home look more like an “environment” than just a bunch of empty cubes glued together.
- Just being able to look at living plants on a regular basis is known to reduce heart rates and blood pressure.
- They clean the air you breathe of pollutants and dust.
- People with houseplants in their home or office are happier and have greater self-esteem than those that don’t.
- They reduce the carbon dioxide levels in your home and give you a tiny boost of oxygen.
- They remove harmful microbes from the air and reduce rates of infectious disease, including colds and flu, by up to 60 percent.
- They make you relax. When you feel stressed, try this: get up and “visit” them. Touch a few, smell them, pick off a yellowing leaf, give one or two a quarter turn. By the time you’ve finished, you probably will either no longer remember what was bothering you or it just doesn’t seem as important any more.
- They increase attentiveness and memory and improve creativity.
- They help you sleep better.
- When, you’re ill, they help you recover faster.
How to Show Your Appreciation
Here is a list of ways to celebrate Houseplant Appreciation Day from the folks at The Gardener’s Net:
- Start by making sure that the houseplants you already have are well watered.
- Give them a special treat today … a little fertilizer.*
*This is the only point I’m in disagreement with. I don’t believe you should give fertilizer to plants in the middle of the winter, at least not in temperate climates. When days are so short and light so rare, fertilizer just encourages etiolated growth. Wait until days are a bit longer, say early March, before pepping them up with minerals.
- If you do not have any houseplants, or just have a couple, buy a new houseplant (or two) on this day.
- Learn more about the benefits of houseplants to your health.
- Stand by your houseplant and breath in the air! It’s giving off oxygen.
- Teach your kids about growing and caring for plants.
- Give a houseplant to a friend, especially the elderly or shut-ins.
- Talk to your plants. Many people believe plants respond positively when you talk to them.
To the above list, I suggest adding:
- Give them a bit more light if they’re looking depressed or unhappy. Light therapy is as good for plants as it is for people … indeed, even better!
- Improve the humidity in their immediate vicinity by placing them on a humidity tray.
In short, be nice to your houseplants and they’ll be nice to you!
Happy Houseplant Appreciation Day!