Between Few Ferns: Plants for Self-Care

For centuries, we have been dependent on flora and fauna for our food and shelter. As the civilisation evolves, it realises more uses of these plants beyond obnoxious reasons. People have found that taking care of plants has not only helped the environment but has also been refreshing and almost therapeutic for them.

A Houseplant (@26pigeons on Unsplash)

These past few months haven’t been the easiest. Playing video games, binge watching movies and starting a new hobby is a form of coping mechanism against the lock-down for a lot of people. But in these uncertain times, taking care of yourself is tougher than ever. Self-care is a gradual process, i.e. it takes days to get into a new habit and to see the results, just like the way a plant grows. Taking care of a plant is like taking care of yourself in many ways. To watch something grow in front of your eyes every day that you’ve helped sprout is the same as taking the keyboard in 5th class and playing it every day till you finally played a symphony so smooth. So, after a point of time, it is hardly a chore or a duty. It is something you must do. Not because you have to. But, because you want to. It gives a sense of empowerment to the caretaker for their role in the growth.

Plants are good for our health, both, physically and mentally. It goes without saying that plants release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. In fact, a study by NASA revealed that houseplants can eliminate up to 87 per cent of toxins in the indoor air in 24 hours. Many studies show that indoor plants help in boosting moods and reducing stress levels. American Psychiatrists had acknowledged the role plants can play for our mental health in the 19th century. Horticultural therapy is in practice since then. It requires a trained therapist to facilitate plant-based activities to achieve certain therapeutic treatment goals.

Rita, a budding entrepreneur and an avid plant lover says, “I have about 24 small house plants both in water and soil. I make sure to water the soil-based plants everyday and change the water in every water-based plant in a week or 10 days. I’ve been maintaining house plants for almost 20 years now. It is therapeutic to watch these plants grow gradually. Sometimes it is the root, other time it is the leaves, and on a good day, maybe a flower. It is important to surround yourself with greenery for one’s mind and soul. On an off-day, one should carefully watch the leaves slowly move with the wind, it can help them feel better.”

A few indoor plants that are low maintenance and good for health

1. Zz plant – These houseplants are virtually indestructible. It can survive months without water and can tolerate low light. Water the plant only the soil has dried out. 2. Scculents – A group of plants with variations in their form, colour and blooms. It stores water in its stems and leaves. Known for its adaptability to harsh climate. 3. Alocasia - Strikingly different from other plants. This houseplant prefers a tight fit in its spot. It requires diffused light. Direct sunlight can burn the leaves.

These small houseplants can act as a little escape from the cacophony of the concrete jungle. This will provide you with a sense of calm as well as add to the aesthetic appeal of your room or workspace. So anyone looking for a new hobby or seriously needs to practice more self-care can pick up a plant and start a journey of rejuvenation in a green haven.